Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 33

Barnes Industries Inc.

steel bar inventory. "The 40-foot
lengths we purchase and keep in
stock because nobody else would do
that," Farr declares. "There's too
much risk in having that kind of
inventory, but it turns over relatively
quickly because we make so many
large screws."

Steel Suppliers
The 40-foot lengths of special aircraft-quality 6150 alloy steel are
obtained from a steel mill in Europe.
"We purchase overseas in Europe
because they're one of the few places
in the world where you can get a 40foot bar of material fully annealed in
an oven," Farr explains. "The annealing oven is 41 feet long. We order the
steel in so many metric tons at a time
in a huge mill run. You reorder that
every three to four years. You can't
order them in these long lengths from
a local steel mill. We have them specially made. It is a huge, huge investment to have all that steel here."
Many of these long ball screws are
used in the aerospace industry. "A lot
of companies have these larger mills,
lathes and machining centers," Farr
notes. "They depend on us to have the

material and to be able to make these
large screws for them for backup and
to service their equipment."
Barnes Industries can process the
steel bars itself but outsources some
of the processes to up to four vendors
when the quantities of processing are
more than the company can comfortably handle. Local steel vendors are
used for bars shorter than 40 feet. The
company keeps bars in stock in every
metric and English size ever made,
Farr maintains.

'in every single job, we
go through and
analyze the ball nut
design to make sure we
have the maximum
amount of load in each
ball nut assembly.
[this] increases the
life of the screw.'
"We generally replace probably half
the inventory in a year's time," Farr
estimates. "We keep a minimum
number of bars in stock for each size.
For the larger sizes, we'll keep four to

owner glenn barnes ii points
out a feature of a high load
capacity ball nut.

Midwest

five 40-footers, and for smaller sizes,
two dozen, because we don't want to
run out and not be able to properly
service our customers. We may get a
run on one size. It's something we
really can't predict. It is a matter of
whose screws are wearing out first in
the industry."

Keeping Control
Over the long distances of a lengthy
ball screw, small variations in the
placement of the thread add up. "The
biggest thing is the thread grinding -
keeping control of the lead in the
screw and the pitch," Farr explains.
"The lead is from one revolution to
the next or how far the thread
advances in one revolution.
Controlling that accurately down a
shaft that is even 10 feet long is difficult, but close control over 40 or 60 or
70 feet is quite an undertaking. It's a
process we perfected and feel very
accomplished in how we can control
that. Our reputation is producing one
of the highest-accuracy screws of
many manufacturers. The Barnes
name is well-known for the precision
and accuracy that we produce in our
ball screw assemblies."
Barnes cuts the threads into the
ball screws using whirling machines.
They precut the thread in the bar.
External thread grinders finish-grind
the ball threads in the screws.
Turning centers and lathes turn the
journals, which then are finished and
ground on the screws, and V threads
are ground on the journals. The ball
nuts are made entirely in-house
except for the heat-treating.
The company has purchased additional CNC mills and lathes to speed
up the production process. "Up until
a few years ago, we were mainly a
replacement screw company," Farr
says. "Now we are manufacturing
new screws in large quantities. We are
able to more competitively price
mass-produced screws 30, 50 or 100
at a time."
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 manufacturing-today.com

33


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014

Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 2
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 4
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 5
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