Lead Screw Questions Asked And Answered

Lead Screw Questions Asked And Answered

Anna Sapiga
Anna Sapiga
PA Engineer

Lead screws are one of the most basic linear electric actuator technologies you'll find. In terms of matching cost with reliability, lead screws are your best bet, here are some of your lead screw questions asked and answered.

What is a lead screw?

A lead screw is any threaded screw that helps create motion by moving a load along its surface. In the case of actuators, lead screws are used to push and pull the stroke.

Lead screws come in a variety of lengths and thicknesses. The length and thickness of each will determine how long the stroke of your actuator is and how fast it will move. The thicker the lead screw, the slower it will travel.

What is an ACME screw?

An ACME screw is a lead screw of a specific type. The ACME screw is of the trapezoidal thread form. So, if you were to get out your magnifying glass and look closely, you'll see that the outline of the threads on the screw form a trapezoid with a 29° angle. ACME screws are the most common form of lead screw used.

What's the advantage of a lead screw?

In terms of cost, you're not going to find anything better. At least not right now. Lead screws can be made to handle high-force loads with high precision and repeatability, too.

Can a lead screw bend?

Under certain conditions, a lead screw can bend. If you're using your linear electric actuator within the manufacturer's specifications, you should have no problems with bending. Lead screw vibrations will occur in very small amounts in every application, but this shouldn't pose a problem to your application.

What makes a lead screw efficient?

Whenever you hear the word 'efficiency' being tossed around with lead screws, the main factor is friction. In order for the lead screw to convert rotary motion into linear motion, it has to overcome friction.

When the angle of the thread is increased in a lead screw, the friction can be reduced. It takes less energy to overcome the friction when the angles are increased.

Where are lead screws used commonly?

Lead screw actuators can be used in a variety of settings. Any place where smooth, reliable motion is required, a lead screw actuator can handle the task. This can include hospital beds, home automation, robotics, manufacturing and many more areas.

Do I need to lubricate my lead screws?

No. Actuators offered by Progressive Automations do not need to be lubricated.

Can I used lead screws in harsh environments?

Lead screws are particularly useful in harsh environments because they have no rolling parts. Whenever rolling actuators are used in places that can accumulate dust or other particles, performance can be affected. Lead screw actuators are better able to withstand the dust and particles that may enter in these harsh environments.

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