07/17/2003 • Automation

High-tech ceramic spindle – better than steel!

These threaded spindles are used to convert rotary into linear motion. The rotation of the spindle generates an exactly defined linear stroke as a function of its spindle pitch.
Compared to conventional steel spindles or expensive recirculating linear ball screws, maxon threaded spindles made of zirconium dioxide (ZrO2) – a high-performance ceramic – have many advantages that can be critical in a variety of applications. As an example, the ceramic spindle has virtually no slip-stick effect and consequently starts without jerking. Due to their outstanding anti-friction properties and high wear resistance, ceramic spindles can attain speeds of up 10,000 revolutions per minute. These attributes allow highly dynamic yet precise motions. The service life of a ceramic spindle is a multiple of a steel spindle’s life – assuming the appropriate nut is used.

An important consideration for the design engineer: In mechanical design, the ceramic spindle allows substantially greater freedom in the use of space than a recirculating ball screw does. The external geometry of the nut can be selected virtually without constraints to allow a very compact design. No balls need to be recirculated within the nut – a fact that makes it much easier to miniaturize linear units.

By matching the nut to the spindle, play of the linear unit can be kept to a minimum to provide very precise movements. At the present time, spindles with diameters from 2 to about 10 millimeters can be economically produced with various spindle pitches. Ceramic spindles can be used in high-temperature applications as well as in magnetically inductive environments. In a magnetic resonance system for instance a ceramic spindle will not distort the magnetic fields.
The biocompatibility of this material also makes ceramic spindles very interesting for use in a variety of medical systems.
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maxon motor ag

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