Technical Blog

What is a Lead Screw?

A lead screw is sometimes referred to as a “power screw” or a “translation screw”. They are used within motion control devices to transform rotary or turning movements into linear movements.

Lead screws are threaded bars of metal and a threaded nut which is in direct contact with the screw; this generates sliding friction as opposed to rolling friction from other alternative devices (such as a ball screw). Rotational motion will turn the screw, causing the nut to move along in a linear motion. This, therefore, converts the motion from rotary to linear.

They can be used for either vertical or horizontal movements and can use linear glides for support where necessary. They can be operated either manually or mortised depending on the application in hand.

Where the screw itself is generally constructed of stainless steel, the nut can be various materials depending on what is better suited for the application. Heavy-duty applications will require a metal nut whereas other applications may require a plastic one. 

What is a lead screw used for?

Lead screws are commonly used as a component within linear motion control systems. They are well suited to instrument grade applications such as;

  • Laboratory and life science equipment including DNA sampling
  • Fluid handling devices
  • Engraving
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Data storage
  • Inspection
  • Heavy lifting applications – a metallic nut must be used for this type of application

When selecting a lead screw, it is important to take into consideration the speed, thrust, accuracy and repeatability of the application. If you require assistance selecting a lead screw or would like to discuss your application please contact us.

Advantages of Using Lead Screws

Lead screws have many advantages – some of these are;

  • High load-carrying capacity
  • Compact
  • Easy to design into a system
  • Minimal number of parts
  • Smooth operation
  • Quiet
  • Require little maintenance

As well as the above advantages, lead screws from Heason also have the following;

  • Competitively priced
  • Flexible configurations
  • Available in screw diameters as small as 6mm
  • Self-locking, therefore, do not require a braking system

Lead Screws from Heason

Here, at Heason we have a wide range of lead screws from our suppler Thomson. We can provide systems with high axial stiffness, zero-backlash and minimum drag torque to reduce motor requirements. We can offer bronze nuts for the higher load applications.

Our lead screws are accurate to 0.003in/ft and have a PTFE coating promoting longer life and less drag torque.

Our portfolio includes the following;

Lead screws are just one of our categories within our precision screws portfolio, we also have

If you would like more information on lead screws or if you have an application you would like to discuss please contact us.

Article published on: 03/06/2020