Accidents happen, especially when dealing with heavy equipment and machinery. Ball screws and lead screws get damaged all the time and it is a real pain to decide how to proceed.
Screws can be damaged in a number of ways, the most common of which is misalignment, when the ball nut loads on the screw at an off-centre angle. This eccentric loading causes the ball nut to wear and could cause it to become stuck.
So now what? You have a damaged screw and you can’t proceed until it is fixed. Well, you have 5 options.
Work Around It
Always the least advised option, but you would be surprised how many business owners do it anyway. They might have another machine that does the same job and just increase the output of that, leaving the machine with the broken screw standing idle picking up dust.
This is a waste of money, as the valuable machine is not operating, and the longer it is left gathering dust, the more likely there are to be other parts failures when you come to use it. Finding a lasting solution to the problem is far more profitable in the long run.
So, your first long-lasting solution (and the easiest and cheapest) would be to add lubrication. With problems related to the ball nut, you may find that once you add lubrication, the metal-to-metal wear is reduced, the dirt and debris are cleared away, and the ball paths are cleared.
If this doesn’t work, then it is time to look at another, more substantial approach.
Get it Repaired
Use a rush repair service to get your screw repaired quickly. Typically rush repair services offer a 24-hour emergency reload rush repair service with a 5-day turnaround. Whether the screw needs a factory clean, regrinding, the manufacturing of a new ball nut or the locknut threads repairing, a rush repair service can get it done affordably and swiftly for minimal disruption.
Get it Assembly Cleaned
If the breakdown in the screw has come from a build-up of dirt preventing the ball bearings from freely circulating, it may be worth getting it assembly cleaned. Many rush repair services offer assembly cleaning and evaluations as well as physical inspections to confirm the screw is re-loadable.
Businesses that use ceramics often have issues with screws that are a result of built-up debris. Ceramic dust plays havoc with screws and with a thorough assembly clean, most can be effectively brought back into working order.
Replace the Screw
The last and the most costly option is replacing the screw. This should only have to occur when the screw is damaged beyond repair, for example, there is a crack, a physical break, or it has previously been rebuilt and has now worn out.
Because of the costly nature of replacing a ball screw, most business owners only do so as a last resort. In cases where the ball screw is damaged but is in the middle of an expensive machine and is therefore inaccessible, it is certainly worth replacing the whole screw. But in cases where the screw is accessible, and the problem is not too severe, it is always recommended to opt for a repair.