Founded in 1920, Steinmeyer began as a producer of precision micrometers. That product led to the development of ball screws in the mid 1960's. Today Steinmeyer is a premier global manufacturer of ball screws with a product range second to none, from tiny 3 mm to 125 mm diameter with a wide range of pitches and designs. Subsequent acquisitions of two subsidiaries allowed the company to expand into designing and building precise multi-axis positioning systems complete with controls. All their facilities are ISO9001:2000 certified and use the latest CAD, CAM and FEA software. And to support their recent entry into the ball screw aerospace market, Steinmeyer is EN9100 certified. It is their determination to meet the most demanding specifications that has led to a series of important product developments and refinements in both ball screws and positioning stages. They welcome new application opportunities, especially the more precise ones!
The Steinmeyer culture of precision dates back to its beginnings as a small machine shop dedicated to manufacturing the finest micrometers and measuring instruments. These small lead screw based products led them to develop a line of miniature ball screws utilizing a critical design advantage – a precision milled internal ball deflector. Steinmeyer has never used return tubes and thus their ball screws exhibit higher speed ratings, smoother action, more compact profiles, reduced torque variation, longer life and lower noise. Through the years they maintained their technological advantage over the competition by continuous innovations. Significant product announcements included: patented UNILOCK double nuts which eliminated the need for shims or fitting keys when preloading two nuts; UltraSpeed ball screws specifically designed for high speed machines with dN values to 160,000; Combination Wipers which protected the ball nut from contamination while simultaneously providing a reservoir to enable long term lubrication; ball screws with end cap return to reduce noise in high speed pick and place machines; and most recently ETA+, which is a revolutionary ball screw that virtually eliminates reversal error, lowers friction while increasing stiffness, and significantly reduces wear. To manufacture the world's best ball screws requires modern machinery, together with an advanced planning organization that efficiently translates incoming orders into completed parts, ready for delivery. Steinmeyer recently completed a significant factory expansion that added substantial production capacity for all size ball screws. And throughout their history they have added state of the art thread grinders, thread whirlers, machining centers and robotics to ensure their technological and value advantage in the face of increasing global competition.
This same precision culture exists at Feinmess Dresden GmbH (FMD) their subsidiary that designs and builds multi-axis motion systems. Founded more than a century ago, FMD is located in Dresden, a city known for the most advanced developments in optics, mechanics and electronics. It is this triumvirate of technologies that FMD employs in its state of the art linear and rotary positioning systems. Its product line includes stages driven by a variety of mechanisms, and the choice depends on the application. The most basic is a lead screw or ball screw (manufactured by Steinmeyer). Coupled to the screw is either a stepper or dc servo motor. For more demanding applications, stages are provided with linear motors, either electromagnetic or piezo. As with their ball screws, many FMD stage designs are custom, including some highly special application requirements such as operation in ultra high vacuum and/or having non-magnetic properties. FMD is also capable of providing a complete positioning platform including precision granite base and multi-axis motion controller. And innovation remains the key to maintaining a competitive advantage. Through the years, FMD has developed unique solutions to specific technical problems including: a decoupling mechanism to isolate the linear slide from undulations of a ball screw drive; a clever cabling concept to minimize the number of moving cables in a high speed multi-axis stage; and a dual speed drive system to enable a single stage to move very fast and extremely slowly.