Troubleshooting Checklist for Ball Screws

Troubleshooting Checklist for Ball Screws

Performing planned and routine maintenance on your ball screw assemblies is vital to the integrity of your machining. But when you suspect struggle or dysfunction, it may be time to complete a more thorough analysis. Here is a comprehensive troubleshooting checklist for your ball screws to help steer you in the right direction and avoid costly system failure.

The Power Supply

Perform a complete check-in with your power supply. If you find the power supply is in overdrive or has overloaded conditions, your ball screw assembly is inching closer to complete system failure.

Check the Wipers

The wipers on either end of the assembly could show potential warning signs of trouble. Check their integrity and performance thoroughly. Common warning signs include excessively degraded wipers or brushes, felt wipers in less-than-perfect conditions, and missing wipers.

Felt wipers are OK in performance, but when they begin to degrade or malfunction, a common issue is a material catching grinding particles or chips, which can cause complete failure.

Check for Corrosion in the Assembly

A significant step in troubleshooting a ball screw is checking the exposed components for visible signs of rusting, excessive corrosion, chatter markings, and pitting. The most common place for these instances to occur is the ball grooves.

Check for Wear in The Nut

The various points where the nut travels can also show signs of heavy wear. The best way to know there is an issue is to compare the worn area to the parts of the nut that travel less. When there is a drastic difference, chances are the part is bad.

Lubrication Factors

Ball screw lubrication is a vital aspect of a healthy, functioning assembly. Check the existing lubrication factors by doing a series of performance tests.

Determine the clarity of the oil by checking for contamination. A clear oil is a clean oil. Lighter oils provide adequate lubrication while also flushing the ball nut of contaminants. Remove the ball screw assembly altogether if the lubrication system is not performing optimally.

Assembly Alignment

The ball screw’s alignment is critical. Check for slide wear or misalignment in the slides. You should also look for potential bending in the screw, and ensure the assembly’s alignment is within a few ten-thousandths of an inch.

Check the Nut Housing

If you have access to the exposed nut, try to unbolt the nut assembly from the housing with light rotation. During rotation, check for tension in the rotational movement. Check the housing for alignment and the firmness of the bolts that hold the housing together. Remove the assembly entirely if you suspect jarred bolts, misalignment, or unit damage.

Check the Surrounding Area for Loose Parts

If you come across any steel parts on the floor or inside the machine or any loose parts, you must shut the machine down immediately. Any time a part disassembles itself, you risk serious mechanical damage or engineer injury.

Follow Safety Protocols

To ensure proper safety measures, check your vertical-mounted assemblies regularly. This should be a standard protocol to ensure machine integrity and reduce your risk of system failure or injuries.

With this troubleshooting checklist for ball screws, you should be able to diagnose, reassess, and avoid costly damages. If you suspect it’s time for replacement parts, contact us at Wedin International. We work with a range of acme screw products and parts and can customize your needs to your industry.