Roller Screw Vs Ball Screw Actuators


In the dynamic landscape of engineering advancements, roller screw technology has emerged as a transformative force within linear electric actuator motion control. Electric actuators play a pivotal role in diverse applications, ranging from industrial automation to cutting-edge aerospace systems. Roller-screw technology, with its superior precision and power, stands out as a game-changer, pushing the boundaries of what is achievable in the world of linear motion.

At the heart of roller-screw technology is an elegantly simple yet highly effective mechanism. Unlike traditional ball screws, roller screws utilise threaded rollers instead of ball bearings. This seemingly subtle modification yields many advantages, making roller screw technology an increasingly preferred choice for engineers and designers seeking optimal performance.


  • Roller Screw actuators require very little maintenance. There are no ball bearings to replace or lose. Depending on the duty cycle – re-greasing which takes 20 minutes should be completed every 1-3 years. Exlar offers a 2-year product warranty.
  • No risk of Brinelling or pitting of the recirculating ball bearing groove during repeated pressing/sealing applications applying forces in the same position.
  • In most applications, Roller Screw actuators have a lifetime of over 10 years. This makes them a significantly better investment than previous technologies.
  • Roller screws typically last 15 times longer than an equivalent ball screw in the X grade and 5 times longer life in the M grade. Budget K series gives 2-3 times travel life.
  • The Roller Screw actuator design is such that is it generally more compact than a ball screw.
  • Roller screws have lower inertia than ball screws, which allows equivalent results to be achieved with smaller motors. Roller screws can offer higher acceleration/deceleration rates up to 25m/s² cycle rated up to 10Hz.
  • Roller Screw actuators are available as part of a fully integrated solution. Ball screws typically require an external motor, drive and coupling, all of which can potentially be eliminated. The GSX & GTX range are fully integrated, and Tritex II includes the servo drive & positioner.
  • Roller Screw actuators are much more robust than ball screws and can withstand greater shock loads.


  • Roller screw actuators produce less noise than equivalent ball screws, which is beneficial from the perspectives of noise pollution and H&S. Also they save energy through greater mechanical efficiency.
  • Roller screw actuators have extensive customisation options, which are unavailable with ball screw equivalents, including front protective bellows, integrated load cell option, grease zerks/nipples, different coating options, custom travel lengths, limits switches, preloaded follower for zero-backlash option, special greases food grade / low temp, integrated planetary gearbox option, 2:1 or custom pulley ratio parallel drive mount.
  • Preloaded angular contact thrust bearings with zero backlash, shrunk in, not glued in like with some ball screw actuators.
  • Roller screw Actuators can produce faster cycle rates than ball screws up to 1.5m/s.
  • Flexibility to adapt to any motor shape/design into the I series or FT series actuators with compression drive coupling supplied or high capacity bellows coupling. GSX & GTX are integrated.
  • High Forces are available up to 450kN.
  • Longer Travel Lengths are available up to 3m.
  • Wide option of mounting possibilities, trunnion, side mount, front flange, rear clevis and custom mounting/client requested tailored front flange dimensions.
  • Ancillary options are available like clevis pins, front spherical rod eyes, and trunnion blocks.


    GTX Actuator Diagram Olsen

Olsen's GTX Roller Screw Servo Linear Actuator from Exlar Actuators
Exlar Brochure Roller Screw vs. Other Linear Motion Technologies 1


Discover our range of Roller Screw Actuators from Exlar here.

Get in Touch

←    Return to Insights

Olsen Actuators & Drives awarded Cyber Essentials Plus

Olsen Actuators & Drives are delighted to announce the recertification of the...
Read Full Story

Visit to the UK Space Conference 2023, Belfast!

As members of UKSpace (the official trade association of the UK space...
Read Full Story

Griffon Hoverwork site visit

We were delighted to be able to visit one of our longest-serving customers in...
Read Full Story

Olsen join the British Gear Association!

We have joined the British Gear Association! THE BGA is the UK Centre of...
Read Full Story

10 years at DSEI for Olsen Actuators!

DSEI 2023 was our best yet and a great way to cap off a decade of attending...
Read Full Story

Featured in the DSEI 2023 Preview Brochure!

We are delighted to be featured in the Preview Brochure for the upcoming 2023...
Read Full Story

Prosecco in the Park!

Sci-Tech Daresbury is a fantastic place to work. The facilities and work that...
Read Full Story

LCR Grad Scheme - Meet the Employer

As we grow, our commitment to supporting the next generation of talented...
Read Full Story

Space Comm 2023

Olsen Actuators attended the Space Comm Expo at Farnborough International...
Read Full Story