This study presents an experimental analysis of the power consumption of feed drive systems. The relevant system components from the power consumption point of view are the motor, bearings, ball-screw and linear guides. The electric power consumption of the motor is investigated experimentally acquiring the inputted voltage and the current; then, through the study of its efficiency, it is shown that the electric efficiency of the motor heavily depends on the angular velocity and the supplied torque. The mechanical power consumption of each component of the feed drive is investigated showing that the component that affects the most the consumption is the ball-screw. Thus, four kind of ball-screws differing for the lead of the screw and the preload of screw-nut are investigated; it is clarified the relation between the mechanical power consumption and several system characteristics such as the lead of the screw, the preload condition, and the table working velocity. Finally, the advantages and disadvantages of each mechanical configuration of the feed drive are discussed, emphasizing that the most important driven factor of the power consumption is the angular velocity due to the trade-off between the motor efficiency and the mechanical power loss of the system components cause friction.

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