Condition Monitoring

Context & Aim

To determine if there is an effective mechanism to measure wear and tear on the ball screw assembly of a five-axis CNC machine. The aim was to sensorise the ball screw assembly in order to capture vibration profiles and see if it was possible to differentiate between a working and a faulty ball screw assembly.


Main challenge was in determining if a suitable data signature could be captured which is indicative of ball screw wear and tear.


Following a review of current commercially available equipment, sensors with the required resolution and sampling rates were chosen for ball screw assembly data capture.


The results of tests in the IMR lab, demonstrated that it was possible to capture vibration data which could differentiate between a working and a faulty ball screw assembly. Additional on-site tests demonstrated that vibration data captures on 5-axis CNC machines were possible which isolated vibrations from the ball screw assembly from other components in the CNC machine.


Customer was willing to include vibration data capture using the selected sensor equipment during routine maintenance on the equipment.


Dermot Murphy
Senior IoT and DevOps Research Engineer

Technical lead

Darren McKenna
Research Assistant


Robotics and Automation