Over the last two decades, one of the most prominent research themes in the aerospace community involved the definition of “more electric aircrafts”. For flight control systems the trend is to replace the traditional electro-hydraulic solution with electro-mechanical actuators. However, safety issues severely hinder the diffusion of this technology. A possible breakthrough in this field can be the development of robust PHM techniques to anticipate the occurrence of failures.

Ball screws feature one of the highest failure rate within EMAs’ mechanical components. Since their accurate modeling is fairly complex, experimental results are needed to support simulation outcomes to help in the definition of reliable health monitoring schemes.

This paper presents the model-based design of a novel test bench intended for PHM analyses of ball screw drives. At first the test bench layout is introduced and compared to the state of the art. A high-fidelity model of the test bench is presented and exploited to perform a Monte Carlo simulation campaign with the goal to characterize its behavior versus measure and process noise in presence of varying size backlash. Finally, a test procedure for backlash identification is defined.

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