Assessing the Options: Should You Repair Your Ball Screw or Just Flat out Replace It?

Assessing the Options: Should You Repair Your Ball Screw or Just Flat out Replace It?

There are hundreds of reasons why your parts aren’t going into place as expected during the assembly process. Narrowing down exactly why can quickly become a headache, but a common reason is that your ball screw is messed up.

Unfortunately, if your ball screw is the problem, you may have a major dilemma on your hands. It is an integral part of getting your assembly to go smoothly, so you need it fixed and you need it fixed now. But is it in good enough condition that a simple repair is in order, or does it need to just be flat out replaced?

Whichever option you choose, there are pros and cons to each. Keep these considerations in mind as you determine whether to replace or repair your ball screw.

Is the Ball Screw Really to Blame?

First, you need to know whether your problem is with the ball screw or something else is causing the difficulties that you are having. Your first course of action is always a thorough visual inspection. If you can see damage on your ball screw, there is almost a 100% guarantee that it is your assembly problem. Physical imperfections like cracks or dents can create headaches when you need to use the ball screw. There may even be a break in the screw – a surefire sign that it is time for a new one.

However, sometimes the damage is not so evident. If you are noticing that your efficiency is not quite what it used to be, your ball screw may just be wearing out. You’ll be getting more backlash, needing more torque and horsepower to increase the effort for it to turn.

If either of these is the case, then you have no lead accuracy, and that’s a pivotal aspect in your assembly. It’s time to blame the ball screw.

How to Know When It’s Time to Throw in the Towel and Replace Your Ball Screw

Rebuilding a ball screw has a lot of advantageous points to it that may lead you to this option. For one thing, you need that ball screw immediately, and having it repaired may be the faster route. It is definitely going to be less expensive, too. But there are times when your ball screw may need to be repaired multiple times, making it an expense that is not cost-effective in the long run.

When your ball screw is repaired, the company you hire to perform this fix has to go through multiple steps. Companies that provide this equipment service, like, will take the ball screw apart, clean each component of it, inspect everything for wear and tear and necessary corrections, and then rebuild it with completely new ball bearings. They will recreate it to your specifications if possible.

The statistics with precision ball screw rebuilds are great. 30-60% of them can be refurbished all the way to like new, with a warranty, for 50 – 60% of the cost of a new precision ball screw. With this impressive repair percentage, many people opt for a new ball screw since it is the faster option, but then they have the old one fixed anyway and keep it in stock for the next time a problem occurs.

An example of a situation in which a ball screw repair and rebuild would be the smart route to take would be if your ball screw is simply dirty. The buildup of dirt or other materials on the equipment can easily be removed by someone who knows what they are doing, but meanwhile, it is likely causing you problems.

Another situation in which repairs would be cost-effective is one in which a ball screw causes the need for increased horsepower. If you’re noticing your equipment working harder, the ball screw can be rebuilt or repaired as long as there is no major damage to any of the pieces.

But sometimes those problems are beyond repair. When your ball screw requires a full replacement, it is usually due to a major issue or failure.

If there is a full break or even a crack in the screw or the nut, there is no way to repair the ball screw. Sometimes overuse or certain assemblies can cause some of the components to become deformed, in which case there is no way to rebuild them, either.

If your ball screw was already repaired once, it has a much higher potential of wearing out faster than newer pieces. The material is already used and old, making it more likely to fall apart during crucial moments.

When any of these scenarios fit your ball screw dilemma, you may be better off simply replacing the equipment completely, even at an added cost. This new replacement is simply more efficient and you have the peace of mind of knowing that your parts are not going to wear out at an inopportune time.

The Choice is Ultimately Up to You

Your assembly is on hold until you make up your mind as to which method to use to fix your ball screw. There’s a lot of pressure on you to make the right decision! But ultimately, the choice is based on the depth of repair necessary and how quickly you need your ball screw to get your operations back up and running.

Do your research, even if you are in a hurry. A good ball screw repair service company knows the importance of your equipment and can work with you to get you a quick turnaround. Some companies offer 24-hour rush repair service for emergencies or they can replace your ball nut and regrind your screws and have them back to you within weeks.

The fix you need will be based on the inspection of your ball screw. Minor problems may benefit from the cost-effectiveness of a repair and rebuild, but for larger problems, you may just have to admit that you need to flat out replace the whole thing. Either way, knowing there’s a problem and finding the solution will get you on the road back to work soon!

Cover photo credit: Wikipedia

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