Choosing the correct rigid shaft coupling for your application requires thorough analysis of the application and in-depth understanding of the different coupling designs. Due to the extensive selection of couplings on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right one for the job at hand. To this end, we have compiled a list of the most common errors users make when selecting rigid coupling, and ways to avoid making the same mistakes.
Common Errors Choosing Rigid Couplings
Rigid couplings are critical to the safe and reliable operation of a variety of systems. When considering which coupling is ideal for your project, avoid these common pitfalls.
Focusing on Cost
Although cost is an important aspect when determining which rigid coupling to use for your project, the function of the coupling should be the primary consideration. While a lower initial price point may be an attractive choice, using an incorrect coupling can result in costly failures, ultimately resulting in significantly higher repair and replacement costs. Rather than selecting your coupling based on price, choose the one that will function well within the system, optimize equipment operation, and extend the service life of the component parts.
Waiting Too Long
Often, couplings take a back seat during the design process and are added as almost an afterthought once the process is mostly complete. Rather than waiting to determine which couplings to use, include couplings in the initial design process. This allows you to select couplings based on the complex needs of the system so that they enhance the design rather than detract from it. Early selection of couplings will ensure that the couplings and system components operate smoothly and efficiently, with significantly less risk of error or premature failure.
One of the most common causes of coupling failure is the use of incorrect couplings for the misalignment conditions present in the application. Excessive misalignment forces the couplings to bear loads that exceed their specifications, resulting in damage and coupling failure. Since flexible shaft couplings are designed to accommodate a range of misalignments with a degree of flexibility, it is important to understand the limitations of the coupling you are using.
3 Questions to Ask When Choosing the Proper Rigid Coupling
To avoid the most common mistakes in choosing rigid couplings, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is a rigid coupling correct for my application? Rigid couplings are ideal for use with unsupported shafts. Supported shafts that exhibit any degree of misalignment are poorly suited for rigid couplings and can result in damage not only to the coupling but also to the shaft supports and associated component parts.
- Do I need keyways? Keyways are not always necessary. They should be used for couplings that are intended to maintain radial alignment between shafts and support loads with high torque. For applications in which radial alignment and high torque are not considerations, keyways may not be required.
- Why would I choose a clamp coupling rather than a (less costly) set-screw style? Although it may be tempting to choose a cheaper set-screw clamp for your application, keep in mind that clamp couplings are more versatile. One-, two-, and three-piece styles allow clamp couplings to be applied to a variety of shaft and tubing sizes and materials with a high degree of precision, thereby reducing the risk of damage and coupling failure.
At Stafford, we offer hundreds of clamp coupling designs, including a broad range of shaft size combinations, torque capabilities, component materials, and shaft shape designs. Some of the primary factors to consider when selecting the best coupling for your application include:
- Shaft Shape: Determine the design of the shaft to which the coupling will be applied. Couplings are designed to operate on round, square, and hexagonal shafts, so choose the best coupling for the shaft shape.
- Standard of Measurement:Clamping screws may be designated using either English or the metric system. Be sure to check that the standard of measurement for the coupling components is consistent with the system design.
- Shaft Size Combination: A variety of off-the-shelf rigid couplings are available in different bore sizes, using both metric and English standards. If you are unable to locate a coupling that specifically matches your required measurements, consider re-machinable and customizable couplings for a cost-effective and efficient solution.
- Durability Requirements: Although most applications will require standard strength couplings, heavy-duty couplings are available for more demanding applications.
- Keyway Selection:Analyze the system to determine whether radial alignment or extra torque will factor into overall operation, and use this information to determine whether a keyway is necessary.
Stafford’s Selection of Rigid Couplings
Professional designers and engineers must take into account a variety of factors when choosing the ideal coupling for a given applications. The intended purpose, application environment, accessibility, and maintenance requirements are all important considerations. At Stafford, we pride ourselves on offering quick and affordable coupling manufacturing services from the initial design phase through the finished product. We are dedicated to swift service, and quote requests are answered within 24 hours of submission.
Our broad range of quality shaft couplings include:
- Standard Rigid Shaft Couplings
- Shaft Adapter Couplings
- Specialty Shaft Couplings
- Customizable Steel Clamp Couplings
We are also pleased to offer a range of shaft collars, specialty components and accessories, mounting components and clamps, and dedicated maintenance, repair, and retrofit services.