BURLINGTON, Mass., Sept. 5, 2012 — Steinmeyer Inc.’s hybrid ball screws with ceramic rolling elements enable longer lifetime, lower friction and less lubrication. Balls manufactured from silicon nitride instead of stainless or tool steel require no microwelding in the ball nut. In a preloaded nut, microwelding typically occurs whenever the lubricant film breaks down between the balls and thread, resulting in direct metal-to-metal contact. When the nut moves with respect to the screw shaft, bits of the steel balls break off and mix with the lubricant in the nut, contaminating it. The solid metal chips in the oil or grease cause adhesive wear and adversely affect the lubricant’s ability to function effectively. Premature failure follows. With dissimilar materials in contact, namely high-grade tool or stainless steel for the shaft and nut body, and silicon nitride for the recirculating balls, microwelding is prevented. The hybrid ball screws are available in diameters ranging from 6 to 40 mm, with pitches of 1, 3, 5 and 10 mm. Applications include semiconductor production machines, inspection equipment, medical and dental devices, aerospace robotics and analytical equipment.