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# STUDIES ON THE BENEFITS OF USING LINEAR MOTORS INSTED TO BALL SCREWS USED IN DRIVE OF THE MACHINE TOOLS

Prof. Dr. Ing. VELICU Stefan, drd. Ing. MIHAI Lucian, drd. Ing. Alexandru Velicu

Abstract: Linear drive technologies are steadily expanded in various applications, especially in industry, where high precision electrical direct drive systems are required. this paper analyzes on the benefits of using linear motors insted to ball screws used in drive of the machine tools Keywords: linear drive, linear motors, kinematic chains, machine tools, ball screw

INTRODUCTION Linear motors are used on a number of machine tools. What are they, where are they used and why? Now we will explain. Machine tool axes are still typically driven via a servo- motor-driven rotating ballscrew that engages with a static ball nut attached to a machine slide/moving element – the conversion of rotary motion to linear motion. A linear motor has no rotating parts, the servo-motor components being effectively unwound such that the coil (primary section or forcer) and the magnets (secondary section) lie flat. The primary section is attached to the machine tool moving element, the secondary to the machine bed/structure. So, the rotary motion of a motor is effectively converted to linear motion by this unwinding.

Figure 1: Most machine axes are still driven via ballscrews, as on this Mazak CNC lathe

NSK offers that its high lead (16–32 mm diameter) design supports linear speeds up to 100 m/min. however. A solution here can be a rotating ballnut and motor assembly attached to the moving slide. It is possible to increase the acc/dec and rapid traverse speed of a ballscrew system by increasing the ballscrew's thread lead (pitch). This problem grows as the length of the screw increases. although you won't see these realised on a metalcutting machine tool.Figure 2: Linear motor diagram Due to their lack of multiple moving parts. as used in machine tools Rotating the ballscrew faster achieves the same end. linear motors hold out the potential for very high acceleration/deceleration (acc/dec) rates and rapid traverse rates. . and that such a solution is applicable to laser profilers and to machines for aluminium cutting. but too high a rotational speed can cause a screw to whip or hit a resonant frequency. Figure 3: A selection of ballscrews. German automation technology firm Siemens says its 1FN linear motor theoretically delivers velocities of up to 300 m/min and accelerations up to 45 G. Bearing firm SKF states that linear speeds of up to 110 m/min are possible here. with the ballscrew remaining static. causing wild instability and vibration. but the mass/inertia of the structure being moved is the limiting factor. this has negative implications for positional resolution. But the rule for machine tool structures is that light ones can be accelerated faster and to higher speeds than can heavier systems.

while there's no wear for repeated travel over the same area – although the linear guides that support the machine table or slide are still subject to wear.Rotating ballnut solutions are not very common. from which it is possible to infer that the acc/dec rate is similarly likely to be double the ballscrew figure. ballscrews also wear. claimed to be unique in the industry. Regarding magnetism. linear motor systems have no backlash.81 m/sec per sec). while backlash exists. In contrast. so ferrous swarf will be attracted to the energised magnets. but one such offering comes from laser profiler maker Bystronic. Announced at an American manufacturing technology show last September was its 1FN6 model. because there is a linear motor option for the CTX beta 500. Profiling machines usually have lower masses to move than metalcutting machine. they are exceedingly common on machining centres. But to continue with further comparison. Figure 4: Siemens 1FN6 model linear motor answers the magnetic criticism A final point to say about linear motors is that. Linear motors generate heat in the primary winding and so typically require water cooling. This offers rapid traverse rates of up to 60 m/min. having a magnet-free secondary track system and air-cooled primary section. they are magnetic. if the same part of the screw is used over and over again. of course. low mass and novel associated technology are important here. a recent development by Siemens gets round this issue. This is because they support not just very fast positional indexing of parts . even where all other axes are ballscrew driven. such as Yamazaki Mazak's µ4800 400 mm2 pallet horizontal machining centre. Switzerland. In the case of Gildemeister. machine accessory and material handling applications". in their rotary table incarnation (torque motors). Acc/dec rates for rotating ballscrew systems on lathes and machining centres tools can be up to 1. but mostly under 1 G (9. The guideways themselves will have to be larger than for an equivalent thrust ballscrew system to withstand this downward force – the attractive force of a linear motor's magnets is typically three times greater than the thrust force. However. because there is no possibility of applying mechanical advantage in the linear motor system. while there is a very strong attraction between the primary and secondary units. such as lathes and machining centres. axis thrusts may be lower or linear motor power must be higher to achieve a similar thrust in any given comparison. which causes extra downward force and so requires the motor to be located as close as possible to guideways. a direct comparison between ballscrew and linear motor performance can be made.4 G. The motors are said to produce thrust forces and velocities "equivalent to competitive models for light-duty machine tool. Weaknesses of linear motors are that. and up to 30 m/min on Gildemeister's CTX beta 500 turning centre (65 mm bar capacity). while rapid traverse rates can be up to 60 m/min on small machining centres. It uses a torque motor (rotary linear motor) to drive a ballnut along a static ballscrew on some of its machines to deliver 3 G acceleration and 120 m/min top linear speed. due to the number of mechanical interfaces between separate elements – seen as reversal error when interpolating a circle in X and Y (the point where motion in X or Y changes from positive to negative).