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Similar to linear bearings and ball screws, ball splines are are shipped with rust
preventative oil (unless otherwise specified). Rust preventative oil is
not adequate lubrication for use. Prior to operation ball splines should be lubricated.
primary objective of the lubricant is to prevent inter-metallic contact
of the moving surfaces. Its secondary role is to protect against
corrosion and minimize wear. In general, the choice of lubricant for a
ball spline or ball screw is similar to a rolling bearing. Small
quantities of oil, grease may be used. An important point with shaft
lubrication is to ensure that there is lubricant film while the outer
race moves along the shaft.
The choice of lubricant often depends on the type of lubrication used in components adjacent to the screw. However, in general
applications - EP2, extreme pressure NLGI grade 2 lubricant is often a
good choice. A lubrication supplier is a good source for
recommendations on specific applications.
During the life of the unit it will need to be re-lubricated. The frequency of lubrication is dependent on:
Level of contamination
is difficult to give a specific recommendation on interval. Best
practice is to ensure that there is lubricant on the spline at all times
and adjust the lubrication interval as necessary.