Thomson Industries Inc.
Thomson miniature metric ball screws provide high load capabilities in a compact size

Thomson Miniature Metric Ball Screws Offer High Load Capacity in Compact Size

May 29, 2024
Inclusion of a multi-start ball return design enables high load capabilities while maintaining the compact size of Thomson's metric ball screws.

The Thomson Industries Inc. line of miniature ball screws are designed to support high loads in a compact package size to meet the needs of space-constrained mechatronics applications. 

Key features of the miniature ball screws include: 

  • multi-start ball return design
  • high level of repeatability
  • various size options and 
  • durable carbon steel construction.

Multi-Ball Design Aids High Load Capabilities

Thomson's miniature metric ball screws feature a multi-start ball return design which enables them to support higher loades. This possible through the use of more balls. In addition, the metric ball screws have a multi-liner return system which the company said maximizes the number of circuits and loaded balls in the nut.

As an example, Thomson explained in its press release announcing the availability of the ball screws that those with a multi-liner return system deploys 168 balls in eight circuits to support 7.6 kN of static load. A single-liner design, on the other hand, would use 84 balls in four circuits to support only 4.2 kN.

Denise Goldman, Senior Product Manager for Ball Screws at Thomson, said that typically when developing space-constrained mechatronics systems designers choose a larger nut. This then leads to final equipment designs which are larger than desired. Use of a ball screw like Thomson's though enables equipment to remain smaller in scale when necessary. 

According to the company, the multi-start ball return design of its miniature metric ball screws also provides precise, smooth and quiet operation for applications requiring high precision and load handling in confined spaces. The company said by maximizing the number of balls within a single nut, system life can be extended as well because load is spread across multiple points. 

The multi-liner return system floats axially to compensate for misalignment, providing further benefits for designers. 

READ MORE: Thomson Offers Customizable Compact Linear Motion Systems for Small Spaces

Various Ball Screw Options and Applications Possible

The Thomson miniature metric ball screw are available in 8 x 2.5, 8 x 5, 10 x 2, 10 x 3, and 12 x 2-mm diameters. More sizes are under development to meet the needs of even more applications. 

Three mounting interface options are available — threaded, flanged or cylindrical. Each of the ball screw options are constructed of carbon steel and available to order with custom coatings such as thin dense chrome or a black oxide coating. 

Besides the high load capabilities of these ball screws, they also provide a high level of repeatability, 0.05 mm backlash, as well as ± 52 µm/300 mm standard lead accuracy (T7 classification). 

Per Thomson, its miniature metric ball screws can benefit a range of applications requiring use of linear motion components with minimial space available including:  

  • diagnostic and life science instruments, such as chemistry analyzers 
  • test and measurement equipment, such as torque testers
  • fluid pumping, such as medical infusion pumps
  • robotics and pick & place equipment, such as engraving, scanning and printing machines.
About the Author

Sara Jensen | Executive Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is executive editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

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