Innovation: Greater efficiency through planetary roller screw drives
Component suppliers are natural innovators, and this will be readily apparent at the upcoming HANNOVER MESSE 2016 in Hannover, Germany (25–29 April). At Industrial Supply – the leading international trade fair for innovative subcontracting solutions and lightweight construction, held under the umbrella of HANNOVER MESSE – over 1,650 exhibitors from the subcontracting sector will be showing why they are known as "the backbone of industry".19 Apr 2016
They produce new ideas, which lead directly to better products and processes. One example is Kownatzki Technology, based in Wehr, a consultancy and supplier network for geared drive elements, which is using Industrial Supply as a sales platform to win new customers.
"Planetary roller screw drives don’t get the attention they deserve in our technical colleges and universities", says CEO Michael Kownatzki. "So there is a lack of such knowledge in the design departments of engineering firms. Everyone is familiar with hydraulics and what it means to use hydraulics, but very few people are aware of the benefits of the planetary roller screw drive, which can fully replace hydraulic cylinders in certain applications." In order to move large surfaces, several drive units are needed. Planetary roller screw drives, on the other hand, can be synchronized simply and reliably.
They are generally used in critical areas that are subject to high loading and shocks, where they take up less space while at the same time performing with greater precision. According to Kownatzki, planetary roller screw drives can operate at very high speeds – up to 5,000 rpm – and have a high dynamic load capacity. "Whereas with hydraulics it is a very complicated business to adjust the exact positioning, it is a simple matter to fine-tune a planetary roller screw drive via the electronic control unit", explains Kownatzki. Other benefits of the technology, as he also points out, include compact dimensions, long service life, very high efficiency, ease of installation and very low maintenance requirements.
As far as loading, stability and shock-resistance are concerned, both systems perform equally well. However, the advent of planetary roller screw drives has opened up the possibility of designing completely new products that require less energy input. They also get over the problem of leaking hydraulic oil lines, and make the product more environmentally sound. "We believe in revolutionizing products through innovation, and we see ourselves as pioneers in this field", notes Kownatzki. "We also provide advice and support to our customers at the design stage and in the use of our products." At HANNOVER MESSE (Hall 4, Stand E 24) the company will be showing how customized planetary roller screw drives are designed and engineered. At present they can be made with shaft diameters as small as 3 mm, increasing in size all the way up to 1,000 mm. As Kownatzki says: "We can make them in any size that customers want."
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