Replacing a CNC Ball Screw
From contributor C:
Seems pretty soon to have worn out a ball screw! We've got some 20+ year old machines that have run 2 and 3 shifts without significant wear on the screws. Obviously if it's bad, you're going to have to fix it, but I'd sure want to know what the cause of all that wear is and correct it before installing a new one.
There are companies that rebuild ball screws and can bring them back to original spec, assuming that they aren't too far gone. It's been many years since I've looked for that, so I can't give you any names, but I'm sure if you Google around a bit you'll find some. The question to ask with a rebuild is, can you stand the downtime required to remove it, ship it off, have it be in their shop for days or weeks, ship it back and then re-install it?
To buy a new one from a third party may save you some money but could be tricky. If it were me, I'd want to be able to go to the original manufacturer of the screw to be sure that I'm getting the exact same spec (pitch, diameter, etc.) as the original. Then you will need to supply them with specs for the additional machining such as bearing fits, supports, servo couplings and so on. If you don't get it all right, you may end up with a screw you can't use.
The advantage to a rebuilt unit or a new one from a third party is obviously the potential cost savings. The disadvantages are the time you will invest in the project, lost production time, and the risk that it won't go well.
The advantage to a new unit from Komo is that you know it will be the right part and will work as new or you don't pay for it until it does. The disadvantage is higher cost. In our case, we'd probably swallow hard and buy the new one from the machine tool manufacturer, in this case Komo. We'd lose more in lost engineering and production time than would be saved trying to source it ourselves.
In the end you'll have to make the call based on your level of in-house expertise, production needs and risk tolerance.
From contributor R:
How did you determine that the ball screw is bad? Did you do a backlash test? Have you tried adjusting the backlash in the ball nut? If it really is the ball screw, they can be remanufactured.
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Comment from contributor B:
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