Direct Drive Spindles

As one of the important components of modern machine tools, spindles, and corresponding parts are designed in various forms, mostly driven by drive mechanisms and other power systems. There are mainly belt drive, gear-driven, direct drive, motor built-in type, etc. Compared with other drive types, the direct-drive spindle design has greater torque and processing area capability.

Machine tools equipped with direct drive spindles are usually larger in size so that they can accommodate larger and longer spindle bodies, thereby providing the machine with higher processing strength. Some of these spindles are designed for specific machine types, such as turning spindles, milling spindles, drilling spindles, etc.
 
In the development of spindles, the direct-drive spindle is one of the oldest spindles. This spindle has a simple structure and a fast actuating mechanism. The direct-drive spindle can be installed on a heavy-duty machining center, such as some double column models. Due to its high accuracy, low vibration, similar interface, and easy replacement, its maintenance work is very easy.

 

Direct vs. Motorized spindles

Compared with the direct-drive spindle, the motorized spindle can easily achieve high speed, and the spindle runout can be controlled within the balance level G1. Because it can be modularized, the machining center manufacturer can easily set up processes on the machine.
 
Most motorized spindles are noiseless and have high thermal stability. Despite the small size of the spindle, the power is high and it can be installed in a limited space. Therefore, it is also called a built-in spindle. It is usually installed in the spindle housing on the machining center. According to market demand, the design of the motorized spindle has a high dynamic rotation precision, so it can ensure that the manufacturer performs accurate cutting and boring.
 
Due to its driving source, the motorized spindle is also called the electric spindle, which is the most widely used spindle model in the industrial field. Within the scope of spindle technology, high speed is a function that cannot be achieved simultaneously with high torque.
 
In addition to high-speed spindles that can be applied to lathes and milling machines, high-speed spindles in grinding machines are more expensive to produce and can only be repaired by professionals. However, it can provide high rotation speed from 12,000 rpm to 30,000 rpm, thus causing a demand for high-speed spindles by manufacturers pursuing efficient production modes.
 
Although the direct drive spindle can also achieve high speeds and maintain good dynamic performance under high-speed running, this is not a major advantage compared to the built-in spindle.

 

Direct vs. Belt-driven spindles

Belt drive spindle: This type of spindle can be considered as the earliest developed spindle type in the industry. For machine users who require high rigidity and high dynamic rotation precision, a belt drive spindle will be the best choice.
 
Due to the high variability of the belt drive spindle, it can be used in multi-task machining centers. However, the belt drive structure cannot provide very high speed and torque, and the belt may not be strong enough or have insufficient cutting force during heavy cutting.
 
This is why after the invention of the belt drive spindles, experts and engineers have successively developed motorized spindles and direct drive spindles. These two types of spindles can be used for advanced machining tasks at higher speeds and higher strengths, such as used in milling centers, grinding machines, and machining centers. However, this does not mean that the belt drive spindle is about to be eliminated. This type of spindle with a simple structure is still very popular in the industry.

Nowadays, because the improvement of the spindle housing can provide more space, most turning spindles are still belt drive types, and belt drive spindles allow users to do maintenance based on their mechanical knowledge.


Conclusion

With excellent torque performance, direct-drive spindles are highly dependent on many machine tool users across the industrial sectors, such as in the field of automotive, aerospace, ship making, power industry, and another field of heaving cutting task that requires stability and durability. Therefore, the direct-drive spindle is designed to be very sturdy, fast, and bulky, which can provide strong torque and high speed.

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