Eichenberger has developed a new cold-rolled ball screw (KGT = ball screw). Thanks to its ingenious, sophisticated ball return system, it sets unprecedented benchmarks in many ways. In particular, it will surprise you with its cost.
Without drive technology, we would be at a standstill in many places. Rolled ball screws have become established in the field of linear motion: there is no way past cold-formed screws.
Eichenberger Gewinde AG the only manufacturer of rolled ball screws in Switzerland – serves a broad range of industries, including medical equipment, electrical engineering, automotive, textiles, construction, automation and general machine manufacturing. Even though these drive technologies are very different, they have much in common. They are all characterised by increasing quality requirements and trends toward higher intelligence. Today, users pay more attention to economical overall solutions with low operating costs. “Leaner” designs are in demand. The thread specialist from Burg, Switzerland, recognised this potential and has considerable know-how, passion and innovative capacity to adapt today’s structures and products to the constant change happening on international markets.
The customer is always at the centre
“The secret of success is to understand the viewpoint of others.” (Henry Ford). For the thread roller specialist, exotic materials and dimensions or thread shapes outside the norm are just the right challenges. Eichenberger’s designers listen to customers and make note of their requests. An advisory, solution-orientated dialogue follows during which answers are sought and found. The partners’ competitive and successful innovation and the inspired discussions associated with it are Eichenberger’s driving force for new developments.
About the art of providing value
Quality starts with customer focus and only ends when the customer is happy. Long-term customer retention can only be created, however, by constantly adapting company services and performance to the faster ever-changing expectations of consumers. These days, technological advantages and increased performance density are assumed at generally reduced investment costs. It is, therefore, all the more necessary to optimise one’s ability to respond to the rapidly changing competitive situation. Eichenberger has committed itself to this mission. In Burg, we act with foresight rather than react. During the course of globalisation, economies with above-average wages and living standards are under pressure due to cost-driven competition.
However, if the inventor of the product is its most economical manufacturer, it can really make a difference, especially with the location being Switzerland.
Innovation from experience: the new Carry ball screw Type F
At Eichenberger, development, manufacturing and quality assurance all come from one source. The short “in-house” routes and modern machine fleet allow maximum adaptability and strengthen the innovation process. This is how designers were able to develop a new, efficient production process that makes it possible to produce, in one step, a special KGT nut with a very sophisticated recirculating system. The new Type F ball screw, a further development of the recirculating Carry ball screw was born. If you look at this masterpiece, the basic idea seems very logical. Behind Eichenberger’s manufacturing core competencies hides a range of abilities that creates real advantages. Competency goes beyond knowledge. Competency is a mixture of responsibility, ability and readiness. The interaction of brilliant simplicity and perfectly adapted manufacturing processes has a significant price advantage for the customer’s overall solution.
Rethinking old ideas
In ball screws, the balls transfer the load from the screw to the nut. The mechanical efficiency, which generally is no more than 0.4 for traditional trapezoidal screws, is more than 0.9 for KGTs. The associated energy efficiency makes the screw one of the most used drive components. The nut is equipped with a return system that guides the balls back to the starting position.
In the new Type F ball screw, the balls in the return system leave the nut’s thread channel and are caught in the cap by a special, highly sophisticated, precise recess, recirculated immediately and returned via the body of the nut. In the end cap, the ball is recirculated into the thread channel again where it “lines up” to fulfil its task during load transfer with low rolling friction. It is essential that the balls roll smoothly and silently when transferring from the nut to the recirculating channel. And that is the case. The ingenious design of the body of the nut, combined with the most state-of-the-art, fully automated manufacturing methods creates a surprisingly cost-optimised product.
The cold-rolled Type F keeps its promise
With competitive conditions, a customer always chooses the supplier who offers the best value. As a current trend, customers require smaller screws with a higher pitch. We refer to these as “square” (pitch ≙ screw diameter) and even as “over-square” screws. Screws with a diameter of 6 to 40 mm, and a pitch of 2 to 40 mm are available in the new recirculating system. The ball recirculating element integrated in the Type F is made of high-performance plastic and was also developed for high quantities. Thanks to a cost-saving manufacturing process, it can be produced at a very favourable price. These quality characteristics are assured by performing endurance tests at high speed and maximal load. They confirm the excellent performance of the new recirculating system.
Eichenberger Gewinde AG’s core competencies are in the areas of thread rolling and hardening. The increase in hardness generated during cold forming does not have the same meaning for the production of ball screws as for slide screws. The continuity of the ball screw profile is much more crucial. It is transferred by the full profile to the extremely robust thread rolling tools on the screw. The extremely finely compacted profile surface is just as important. This fineness (roughness value ~ Rz 1.0) offers a smaller target for contamination and ensures that the balls roll quietly. Due to the smooth-rolled surface and the rolling movement of the balls, friction is reduced and efficiency is therefore significantly increased. This, in turn, allows for a low drive torque at low self-heating. The necessary drive power reduced in this way thus also reduces operating costs.
Based on many years of experience in the area of in-house induction hardening, Eichenberger has developed extensive know-how. While a hardening company is exclusively dedicated to hardening steel, the thread specialist strives to find the best possible combination of hardness and precision. This is essential for the high pitch accuracy of the ball screw that provides such impressive diameter variety. For small dimensions, in particular, it is important to rise to this challenge because the smaller the diameter, the more competency and intuition are required during hardening. Such high-precision screws were previously only possible with ground screws.
From the idea to the prototype fast
It is important to this Swiss company to manufacture a perfect prototype, including thread rolling tools, in the shortest period of time. This is possible because the development, production, quality management and sales departments work very closely together.
Very rational, quick production is possible. Thanks to this, we can make products flexibly and competitively, especially in a location such as Switzerland. The thread roller explores the limits of what is possible. Today, the most extraordinary customer solutions are developed upon request.
Service provider for development
The need to solve practical tasks is perpetual. Eichenberger Gewinde AG, a Festo Group company, successfully implements the opportunities associated with this and has thus managed to establish itself in the drive technology niche with tailor-made rolled thread drives. The Swiss thread specialist has clear objectives: To roll (cold forming) threads and manufacture thread drives (screw and nut). By using the most state-of-the-art production methods and developing new dimensions, Eichenberger supports its customers in “their” innovation.
The challenge for the designer in the high-price country of Switzerland is to create develop outstanding added technological value in a competitive product in line with the market. Technical know-how, research and development are not the only factors required. Additional command of efficient production processes will provide the competitive edge. If the inventor of the product is its most economical manufacturer, it can really make a difference, especially with the location being Switzerland.
Carry: Wear-free ball screw for applications where heavy loads must be moved without consuming much energy. Depending on the version, particularly high operating speeds are possible.
Speedy: The high-helix lead screw converts linear motion into rotational motion with high moving speeds. New: some versions available in aluminium.
Rondo: The round thread lead screw with very quiet running properties. New: some versions available in aluminium. Eichenberger Gewinde AG