Preventing Damage: 4 Methods for Increasing the Lifespan of Ball Screws

There are many applications for ball screws because of their high load limit ranges. Because these screws take on so much weight and pressure, it is not uncommon for them to become damaged. When damage occurs, machines and other components can completely break down.

Thankfully, there are some steps that can be taken to help minimize the damage that occurs with ball screws. Manufacturers need to be aware of these methods so they can avoid the costly expense of repair or replacement.

Ball screws

Why Do Ball Screws Become Damaged?

Excessive backlash in a ball screw is often caused by the thread radius becoming damaged. This type of damage can occur for many reasons, including the following.

  • Improper lubrication
  • Misalignment
  • Improper balance
  • Abuse
  • Contamination
  • Normal use over an extended period of time

It is important individuals are able to recognize the signs of ball screw issues, such as excessive vibration, loud clicking sounds, excessive servo load, and heat discolouration. If any of these issues are discovered, prompt steps should be taken for repairing ball screws so further damage does not occur.

Four Methods for Increasing the Lifespan of Ball Screws

No matter how much protection and maintenance a ball screw has, it will eventually become worn out due to the time it has been used. There are some proven steps that can help to ensure a ball screw lasts as long as possible. Taking these steps will help to prevent your ball screws from failing prematurely.

  1. One of the biggest factors of ball screw damage is a lack of lubrication. When a ball screw is not properly lubricated, its lifespan will be reduced by as much as 85%. Using the right lubrication is essential for ensuring the ball screw will be able to withstand the pressure without damage.
  2. Cleanliness is also important for proper performance and increased lifespan. Contamination from debris can cause a ball screw to become damaged and will increase the probability of it seizing up during operation.
  3. Proper storage before installation is critical for protecting the lifespan of the ball screw. The ball screw should be left in its plastic sleeve and carefully stored in the original shipping container. Deviating from this method of storage could lead to contamination and eventual damage.
  4. It is crucial ball screws are properly aligned so they will be able to perform. Any misalignments can lead to bending and overturning which will cause damage to the thrust bearings and greatly reduce the lifespan of the ball screw. The ball screws must be checked for any alignment issues on a routine basis, for the best results.


The lifespan of a ball screw will vary depending on the way it was made, installed, and maintained. The above steps are critical in helping to prevent damage caused by contamination, improper balance and alignment, and improper lubrication.

When a ball screw is properly maintained, it will be better able to stand up to the pressure that is placed on it during operation. The components of the ball screw are less likely to become damaged when it is properly cleaned and maintained. With these steps, individuals will be able to protect the lifespan of their ball screws so they can save time, money, and aggravation on repairs and replacement.