Perfect motion embodies perfect dynamics when around 4000 ballscrews provide a stereo view of the gamma universe. Discover how rolled ballscrews solve extremely exacting positioning tasks so that countless advances can find their way into our lives. For the perfect motion, adaptability is the key.
Numerous technical applications incorporate valuable discoveries and research results from radiation research in the field of astrophysics. From A for the analysis of luggage at airports, to C for CCD chips in digital cameras or mobile phones, onto P for PET scanners for early cancer detection, S for solar panels, up to T for tumour therapy or W for WLAN networks and Z for Zoom conferences.
Maximum performance, no matter how complex the specifications may be
Designers are regularly faced with determining the appropriate drive technology for the execution of linear motions. Often, high-precision positioning and oscillating high-frequency movements with extremely small strokes or extremely dynamic continuous operation must be mastered. Safety and reliability are the focus. In many cases, limited installation space with high loads presents a significant challenge. Maintenance, service life and also the costs are important factors. The demands on mechanical drive elements and expectations in the respective fields of application are all rising all the time. Ballscrews are among the most frequently used drive systems in many industries.
These drive systems have the advantage of being highly efficient and power effective. The Eichenberger spindle technology of thread rolling (cold forming of the outer surface of round parts) combines the highest load-bearing capacity and the power density with tremendous dynamics and precision at maximum running performance.
The Eichenberger experts are an inspiration when it comes to the realisation of innovative product ideas or completely new types of drives and screw drive solutions. They challenge the limits of what is technically feasible, turning the impossible into the possible. The masterminds behind the Cherenkov telescope project recognised both the potential of the Eichenberger drive and its cold-rolled ballscrews and opted for the Swiss company - with success.
(englisch Major Atmospheric Gamma-Ray Imaging Cherenkov Telescopes)
Nimble ballscrews open the eye to the universe.
Ballscrews are making astronomical research possible
On average, a gamma-ray burst flares up somewhere in the vastness of space twice a day, sometimes for only a fraction of a second, often for several minutes. The blue lights reach us from galaxies several billion light years away. Given that they reach Earth despite the immense distance, their occurrence must be linked to extreme events, detonations that for a fleeting moment outshine the galaxy in question, releasing more energy than the Sun did in its entire ten-billion-year lifetime. What exactly lies behind these events is still largely a mystery. To understand more, it is necessary to systematically measure the energies of the gamma ray bursts. Higher energy "gammas", as researchers say, cannot be measured by satellites. The two mirrors on Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma can do this expertly.
With the two Magic telescopes, mounted 85 metres apart, stereo views of the bluish Cherenkov glow are even possible. The Cherenkov radiation cannot be seen by the human eye, which is why the mirrors are so huge. Each with a diameter of 17 metres, they are the largest telescope mirrors in the world, and yet they are also the fastest. Both of the 70-ton instruments can be rotated to any position in a few seconds in order for the cameras in each MAGIC telescope to detect the flashes reflected by the mirrors.
The fact that the telescopes can align themselves so quickly with the source of the gamma ray burst is down to powerful drives and relatively low weight. 947 aluminium mirror segments mounted on support plates create 247 m² of mirror surface. Every 50 x 50 cm mirror plate is driven laterally by an astonishingly nimble and hard-wearing Carry 12 x 2 mm ballscrew. Exceptionally precise and amazingly fast, these effective, cold-rolled lead screws align the individual mirrors to a pre-adjusted laser spot. The Eichenberger screw drives create the conditions for this maximum dynamic perfect movement through innovative details and special manufacturing processes. This exceptional quality is crucial for the service life of the ballscrews in the telescopes given the adverse weather conditions on La Palma.
Progress in astrophysics thansk to ballscrews12x2 with single-thread ball return.
Why is astronomy so important?
When the particles (gamma photons) reach Earth, sometimes after billions of years travelling through the cosmos, scientists can deduce their place of origin and the circumstances of their formation. The gamma worlds harbour mysterious objects and phenomena that are often only beginning to be understood by astrophysicists. It is important to understand the universe. Astrophysics deals with the physical fundamentals of the study of astronomical phenomena and is a sub-field of astronomy. At the same time, it also paves the way for technological developments and scientific advances, such as the PET scanner. This equipment for the early detection of cancer has already saved many lives and was developed by gamma astronomers. Targeted radioisotopes are also used in tumour therapy using radiopharmaceuticals, for example. Furthermore, they are used in the treatment of inflamed joint mucous membranes, hyperthyroidism or special forms of cancer. The radiation research field is also responsible for countless technical applications, such as CCD chips. These are light-sensitive electronic components using the internal photoelectric effect and found in digital cameras, mobile phones or scanners. CCD chips are indispensable in sensor technology. Materials developed for the construction of large telescopes are now used in solar collectors. Worldwide, wireless networks use a technique to improve the image quality of radio astronomical images. Programming languages that were developed for astronomical applications, such as Forth or IDL are widely employed in industry.
Although gamma-ray flashes occur very frequently,
they are still a mystery to scientists.
Many big questions have yet to be answered by astronomy. Some of these have the potential to completely overturn our view of the world. For example, cosmologists have long puzzled over the nature of dark energy - the mysterious force that causes the universe to expand ever faster. It is said that a substance called quintessence underlies dark energy. Japanese researchers believe they have actually discovered the fingerprint of quintessence, a kind of gravity counteracting anti-gravity. Quintessence postulates that the so-called equivalence principle (that heavy mass and inertial mass are virtually equivalent) is breached. If this proves to be the case, the foundations of physics would be shaken.
Core competencies thread rolling and hardening
Thread rolling deflects the longitudinal fibres of the material rather than cutting them, unlike grinding, milling or turning. The result is a compressed, smoothly rolled, extremely resilient surface, which is essential for long spindle life. The roughness values around Rz 1.0 on the thread flanks and in the base radius, together with significantly reduced notch sensitivity, are also major advantages. The rolling friction coefficient for steel balls is 0.003 to 0.001 compared to 0.1 to 0.05 for steel-on-steel (lubricated) sliding friction. The excellent sliding properties of the cold-rolled ballscrew ensure minimal abrasion and offer minimal surface for contamination. This enables low-noise rolling of the balls.
During thread rolling, the longitudinal fibres of the material are deflected
This cold forming leads to an extraordinary increase in hardness.
Through years of in-house experience in the field of induction hardening, Eichenberger has accumulated a wealth of know-how. Whereas hardening shops are exclusively dedicated to hardening steel, the thread specialist strives to obtain the best possible combination of hardness and precision. This is crucial for the high lead accuracy of the ballscrew given the impressive variety of diameters. Particularly in the case of small dimensions, mastering this challenge is essential, because the smaller the diameter, the more expertise and intuition are required in the hardening process.
Core competence: induction hardening
The ideal partner for everything from individual parts to series
The mechanical wheel is not something to be reinvented, and yet it is the Eichenberger challenge to continually push the boundaries of cold-rolled ballscrews. Competence goes beyond knowledge, as it requires problem-solving expertise too. Every newly developed screw drive is included in the thread rolling product range. Over the decades, this has resulted in a huge selection of ball screws and sliding screws.
Our designers always try to start from a standard nut and spindle and adapt these components according to the specific requirements of the application. This offers a key price advantage, as in high-price Switzerland, the challenge for designers is to develop great technical value in a market-driven, competitive product. Technological knowledge, research and development are equally important as the willingness to change and the mastery of efficient manufacturing processes.
- «Carry»: Ballscrew drive for applications involving moving large loads with low energy consumption.
Some versions offer especially high travel speeds.
- «Speedy»: This high helix thread spindle converts linear into rotary motion – at fast traverse speed.
New: some available in aluminium
- «Rondo»: The very smooth-running round thread spindle.
New: some available in aluminium
- «Easy»: Hard-anodised light screw made of aluminium with an efficiency of more than 0.8,
for higher loads than with normal sliding screws. The special profile prevents the
nut from jamming.