Accurate ballscrews are vital components of precise machine tool drive systems. As determined by direct measurement systems, the ballscrew positioning error has no bearing on the final positioning accuracy of the axis. For economical reasons, however, most machine tools are equipped with indirect measurement systems, in which errors stemming from thermal expansion of the ballscrew constitute approximately 60% of the kinematic chain error sum. Moreover, the currently observed boost in productivity of modern CNC machine tools leads to significant amplification of energy dispersal values in the nut-screw systems, due to the increased positioning velocity of the controlled axes. This, in turn, contributes to a rise of positioning error values through thermal expansion of the aforementioned ballscrews. This article deals with technological and constructional problems of screw lengthening compensation. It enumerates methods of thermal expansion-based error compensation as attained through utilization of indirect measurement systems. Finally, it presents experimental data indicating the possibility of effective screw lengthening compensation, thus proposing an alternative to the currently applied compensation systems.

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