A Comparison of Direct Drive Spindle and Belt-Driven Spindle

Posted on Sep 17, 2019

Direct Drive Spindle & Belt-Driven Spindle

As one of the most important components of modern machine tools, the spindle has many forms of design. These forms are basically based on the driving mechanisms and other power systems.

Direct Drive Spindle and Belt-Driven Spindle, Comparison - Categorizations

The spindle driving mechanism includes belt drive, gear drive, direct drive, and built-in motor drive. Compared with other driving mechanisms, the direct driven spindle design has greater torque power, faster and more accurate activation, while allowing a larger processing area.

This type of spindle is also called as direct drive spindle. A machine tool can contain multiple spindles, such as the headstock and tailstock spindles on a bench lathe machine, and the primary spindle is usually is the biggest one. If the direct drive spindle is to be the primary spindle, then the covering case would be large.

Therefore, if the spindle is referenced without further limitation, it means that the target object is the primary spindle. Some machine tools dedicated to mass production often have 4, 6 or more spindles. These are called multi-spindle machine tools, such as gang drills and screw machines.

However, although the bench lathe has multiple spindles (the primary spindle and the second one installed inside the tailstock), it is not called a multi-spindle machine. Direct drive spindles are commonly used to conduct heavy duty works.

:: Read more : Belt-drive Spindle & Turning Application


Machine Tool With DD Motors

Machine tools with direct driven spindles are usually designed with larger bodies to accommodate larger and longer spindles, thereby providing higher machining strength for the work piece.

Some spindles are designed for specific functions, such as turning spindles, milling spindles, drilling spindles, etc. Only when the spindle is properly selected and installed can the machine tool perform its designed capacity.


Besides the DD Design

In addition to direct driven ones, the spindle includes a variety of other designs. On a woodworking lathe or a metalworking lathe, the spindle is the core component of the headstock. On the other hand, in a rotary woodworking machine, the spindle is a component used to equipping shaped milling cutters, which is used to cut features (such as profiles of rebates, beads, and curves) into moldings and similar millwork.

Similarly, in rotary metalworking machines, such as milling machines, tapping centers, and drilling machines, the spindle is the shaft that connects the tool, such as a drill bit or milling cutter, to the machine and is only a part of the entire cutting device. The types of spindles include grinding spindles, electric spindles, machine tool spindles, low speed spindles, and high speed spindles.


Compared With Belt-Driven Spindles

The belt driven spindle consists of a mandrel and bearings fixed in the spindle sleeve. The belt driven spindle is powered by an external motor. Thus type of spindles is also termed as belt-driven spindle. The power source of belt-driven spindle is not from a built-in motor or directly connected motor.

In the design of the belt-driven spindles, power transmission needs to pass through a pulley set, the pulley transmission mechanism is not as stable as the direct drive mechanism, and the pulley belt material may become one of the variables that affect the mechanical performance.

The external motor of the belt driven spindle can provide speeds from 12,000 RPM to 15,000 RPM. Speed limits of the belt-driven spindles delimit the performance, such as torque.

Therefore, usually the most high-end lathes may not use belt-driven spindles, although the most practical match for the lathe production is indeed a belt driven spindle, but it is often configured with the built-in spindle to achieve better torque and speed. Belt-driven spindles have their own limitations and thus the belt-driven spindles are much limited in some models.


Compared With Built-In Spindle

Compared with the built-in spindle known for its high speed, the best performance of the direct driven spindle is its torque capability, which is much more powerful than other types of spindles.

Even if the machine has been working for a long time, most direct driven spindles can continue to handle heavy cutting tasks with excellent accuracy. Heavy-duty cutting ability and durability make direct driven spindles widely accepted in the high-end machine tool market.


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