These new components give designers more flexibility to compress an assembly, extend a stroke, distribute a load or otherwise meet modern automation demands.
“Ball splines have provided an elegant, single shaft solution for integrating rotary and linear motion on a single shaft assembly but did require some extra effort and lost some ground to pre-packaged, multi-shaft solutions,” said Eduard Schweinfort, product line manager at Thomson. “Meeting today’s industrial automation demands, however, requires more design flexibility than pre-packaged assemblies can provide, and we are proud to be offering machine builders this new family of ball splines for high-precision applications.”
Ball splines exploit the low-friction torque transmission capabilities of rolling balls and augment that by adding one or more axial grooves, also known as splines, along the assembly shaft. That opens a low-friction path through which the balls move to facilitate low-friction axial displacement, while also transmitting torque.
The new line of Thomson high-precision ball splines is said to be ideal for high-speed operation in compact spaces such as laboratory automation or semiconductor pick-and-place assembly. They can automate functions that a human might otherwise perform, like opening the cover of a sample jar and pouring it in a test tube. And they are especially cost-effective in industrial robotic applications that require high-speed, precise integration of rotary and linear motion without the wide freedom of movement of robots.