We have made some recent enhancements online, you may need to clear your cookies to download Technical factsheets or call +44 (0)1403 792300

Technical Blog

How do Ball Screws work?

A ball screw works in a similar way to a conventional lead screw, but the significant advantage of using a ball screw is that it uses ball bearings running in the helical channel to transmit the load. In high precision applications it is often necessary to translate the rotary motion from a motor to linear motion for the payload. One way of achieving this is by using a ball screw.

Ball bearings within a ball screw roll along the track in a similar way to ball bearings in a standard rotary ball race, therefore eliminating the sliding friction associated with lead screws. The ball bearings are continually recirculated through the ball nut, distributing the load and picking up lubrication along the way. Due to the use of rolling ball bearings within a ball screw, the internal friction is very low, meaning ball screws can offer a high level of efficiency and positional accuracy even at high torque and force loadings. 

Ball screws can be quite complicated and high-precision devices, meaning they can sometimes be slightly more costly compared to a typical lead screw. This is due to the complex machining and assembly techniques required to manufacture them. However, if your application requires a ball screw, the greater performance generally outweighs the cost.

Ball Screw Applications

Ball screws are generally suited to applications that require:

  • Smooth motion
  • Efficiency
  • Accuracy
  • Precision
  • Prolonged continuous/high-speed movement

Advantages of Ball Screws

There are many advantages of using ball screws within your motion application:

  • Highly efficient, requiring less torque – therefore smaller motor
  • Higher accuracy grades for greater positional accuracy
  • Lower friction – able to run at cooler temperatures
  • Available in rolled and ground types
  • Can be adjusted to increase/decrease preload
  • Need to be replaced less frequently
  • Available in screw diameters from 4mm to 80mm

Jeff Johnson, Thomson Industries Screw Product Engineer, reviews the anatomy and installation of ball screws.

Ball Screws from Heason Technology


Heason Technology can supply ball screws that can be used in the most extreme and varied environments. These can range from very high torque/force applications, such as CNC machine tools, or exceptionally high-precision applications used in medical and science industries.

Our ball screws are available in a large range of diameters, pitches and configurations, including various pre-loads if required. They can also be supplied with seals to keep the lubrication inside. The ball screws we supply, from Thomson Linear, are manufactured in Sweden using high-quality materials and the latest manufacturing techniques, meeting all the latest performance, reliability and value for money standards demanded by the industry.

Click for further information on any of our Ball Screws. Our knowledgeable sales team are always on hand to discuss your requirements if you are still unsure on which Ball Screw to use within your application. Please contact us on +44 (0) 1403 792 300 or email sales@heason.com

Article published on: 15/01/2020

Article last updated on: 15/01/2020