Category Archive: Uncategorized

What Is the Difference Between Rigid and Flexible Couplings?

There are two main types of couplings: rigid couplings, which connect two shafts with a solid and high-precision hold, and flexible couplings, which can be used to connect slightly misaligned shafts but which can’t provide the same level of torque transfer. While both coupling types have their advantages and disadvantages, it’s important to know which coupling to choose in a particular application.

How Do Rigid Couplings and Flexible Couplings Differ?

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Difference Between Rigid and Flexible Couplings

Ultimately, the key difference between rigid and flexible couplings is in the connection they provide. Rigid couplings provide a rigid connection; the two shafts are firmly connected, and the coupling allows for a smooth transmission of torque throughout the system. Flexible couplings create flexible connections, and the components can lose some of the torque power through the interaction. While metallic flexible couplings offer greater torque capability than other flexible couplings, some torque is still lost.

Other important differences between rigid and flexible couplings are:

  • Alignment Requirements: Flexible couplings can handle slightly misaligned shafts. Rigid couplings are torsionally stiff and can’t tolerate any misalignment. This applies to both shafts that are physically misaligned at rest and parts that may cause misalignment during operation due to thermal changes.
  • Backlash: Rigid couplings, especially newer models of aluminum rigid couplings, can significantly reduce backlash to at-zero or near-zero levels. Flexible couplings don’t offer the same protection.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Because rigid couplings are stiff, they do not absorb vibrations, which can lead to early wear on parts that aren’t properly aligned. Operators should routinely check rigid couplings for wear and alignment, and they should also routinely apply lubricant. Flexible couplings can handle vibration and shock without adverse wear.
  • Complexity: Flexible couplings often have more components and/or are more complex. This can make operation and maintenance more complicated. Rigid couplings are more simple and straightforward in comparison.
  • Applications: Flexible couplings can be used in servos with low or moderate torque levels and the potential for shaft misalignment. This includes applications such as machining tools, semiconductor manufacturing, and packaging equipment. Rigid couplings work best for high-torque requirements, shaft support applications, and push-pull use cases.
  • Cost: Rigid couplings are more affordable than flexible couplings, which tend to have a high cost.

Advantages of Rigid Couplings

Both rigid and flexible couplings have their place in almost any complex motion system. However, rigid couplings provide several advantages over their flexible alternatives that make them the preferred choice for many projects. Some of their key advantages include:

  • Excellent torque transmission: Rigid couplings can efficiently transfer torque from one shaft to the other connected shaft.
  • Low cost of production: Manufacturers can produce standard and custom rigid couplings at cost-effective rates.
  • Precision, with nearly zero windup and zero backlash
  • Torsional stiffness: High torsional stiffness allows for better positioning. 
  • Simplicity
  • Alignment capabilities: Rigid couplings can be used to establish shaft alignment between the motor and connected components.
  • Suitability for push-pull and support applications
  • Easy assembly, disassembly, and maintenance operations throughout the life of the coupling

High-Quality Rigid Couplings From Stafford Manufacturing

Rigid couplings provide excellent torque, minimal backlash (with some of our standard couplings providing zero backlash), and high torsional stiffness. This makes them ideal for a wide variety of precision applications that need high levels of power. At Stafford Manufacturing, we manufacture and supply our clients with high-quality rigid couplings for a range of applications. Learn more about how to choose the right rigid coupling for your needs, or browse our catalog to find the right products today. 

What is a Shaft Collar and How Does it Work?


Shaft collars hold and position mechanical components around a shaft or mount shafts, tubes, and pipes onto flat surfaces, Available in a variety of styles and from numerous material types, shaft collar selection depends heavily on the details of the intended application.

Stafford Manufacturing is a premier manufacturer of shaft collars, clamps, and related mechanical components. This blog will explain shaft collars in more detail to help users make informed decisions when sourcing these critical components.


How a Shaft Collar Works

Commonly found in power transmission applications, shaft collars are ring-shaped plastic or metal devices that clamp around a shaft. The purpose of the collar is usually to hold motor components, gear assemblies, sprockets, bearings, and other parts in place and sometimes facilitate their proper movement. The collars may specifically locate components, keep them appropriately spaced, or limit their movement. Shaft collars may also be used to connect one end of the shaft itself to a part or surface.

The simplest shaft collars use set screws that tighten into the shaft to hold the collar in place. While these collars still see some use, the screws tend to mar the shaft which makes it difficult to remove and reposition the collars. Most modern shaft collars use a clamp that holds to the shaft. Clamp screws tighten the clamp around the shaft without the need to dig into the shaft itself.

There are multiple types of shaft collars, each suited to different purposes. Some of the most common types of shaft collars include:

  • Hinge shaft collars have an open hinge on one side and a clamp screw on the other, enabling them to be easily assembled anywhere on the shaft. They are completely self-contained and eliminate the risk of dropping or losing screws.
  • One-piece shaft collars feature improved performance, allowing an easy increase in clamping force by tightening the clamp screw.
  • Two-piece shaft collars can be assembled anywhere on the shaft, including between other shaft collars.

Shaft collars are also available in multiple bore configurations, including round, threaded, hexagonal, and square. While off-the-shelf shaft collars are suitable for many needs, standard shaft collars can be altered to meet specific application needs. Fully customized shaft collars are also an option for unique situations.


Applications of Mounted Shaft Collars

Mounted shaft collars are used in numerous industrial applications. Common use cases for shaft collars include:

  • Positioning or aligning moving components, such as gears, bearings, and pulleys in automated industrial equipment
  • Securely connecting tubes to hardware
  • Mounting sensor components onto shafts
  • Providing mechanical stops for actuators, cylinders, and other varied components in vehicles and heavy equipment
  • Use as spacers or stops on laboratory equipment, such as frames and clamps
  • Guides, spacers, or stops on medical imaging machines such as MRIs and CAT scanners
  • Facilitating precision positioning in optical measuring equipment
  • Provide appropriate positioning of gearbox or motor components in power transmissions


Shaft Collars From Stafford Manufacturing

Since 1975, Stafford Manufacturing has been fabricating and distributing standard and custom shaft collars for use across industries and applications. We offer extensive customization capabilities in terms of design, material, and finishing choices. We offer end-to-end support for any shaft collar project, including in-house CAD design and engineering capabilities that enable us to tailor a shaft collar to meet the specific needs of any customer.

Our facilities are compliant with all relevant industry standards, including ASA, ASME, ANSI B18.3, ISO 9001:2015, REACH, and RoHS. We work with customers in an expansive range of industries, such as:

  • Agriculture machinery
  • Assembly
  • Automation
  • Conveyor systems
  • Heavy trucks/off-road
  • Laboratory and research equipment
  • Machine tools
  • Marine
  • Medical equipment
  • Military and defense
  • Mining
  • Mixing equipment
  • Maintenance, repair, and operations
  • Oil and gas
  • Optical
  • Packaging
  • Retail displays
  • Robotics

Our team can help you identify the appropriate shaft collar design, material, and finish for any application. To see how our team can support yours, please contact us or request a quote today.

Differentiating Types 303, 304, and 316 Stainless Steel

Class 300 stainless steels are austenitic chromium-nickel alloys that are highly corrosion resistant and non-magnetic, displaying excellent formability and temperature resistance. Three of the most common austenitic stainless steels are types 303, 304, and 316. Although related, these alloys differ in areas like chemical composition, material capabilities, and cost.

Type 303

The base composition of type 303 stainless steel is approximately 18% chromium and 8% nickel. The additions of 0.15% sulfur or selenium and phosphorus make type 303 the most machinable alloy of the class but slightly reduce its corrosion resistance. Despite this, it is still an optimal material for components that require significant machining or tight tolerances, such as nuts and bolts, screws, bushings, fasteners, bearings, and more. Type 303 is regarded as a cheaper, more machinable alternative to similarly composed 304 stainless steel.

Type 304

The most commonly used austenitic stainless steel, type 304, is composed of 18% chromium and 8% nickel with low levels of carbon. This alloy is highly resistant to oxidation and corrosion, durable, and easy to fabricate. Considered the most versatile stainless steel of the class, type 304 has uses in a range of applications across diverse industries—from architectural details to kitchen appliances to automobile parts. Type 304 is easily accessible and less expensive than 316 stainless steel.

Type 316

Composed of slightly higher levels of chromium (16-18%) and nickel (10-14%) than types 303 and 304, the most distinguishable properties of 316 stainless steel come from the addition of 2-3% molybdenum, an element which significantly improves the alloy’s corrosion resistance. Type 316 also exhibits improved heat tolerance, resistance to creep and pitting, and excellent tensile strength. Known for its ability to withstand the effects of exposure to chlorides, the alloy is used extensively in chemical and marine applications, as well as a number of other industries. Type 316 has lower formability than 303 or 304 stainless steels, but its higher resistances make it more expensive to source.
The characteristics responsible for differentiating these common class 300 stainless steels also uniquely position each alloy to perform for specific applications.

Applications of 303 Stainless Steel

The highly machinable, non-magnetic, and non-hardening type 303 stainless steel is well-suited to applications requiring tight tolerances and heavy machining, like in the manufacturing of small parts. Typical uses of this alloy include things like:

Applications of 304 Stainless Steel

The extreme versatility of type 304 makes it the most widely used stainless steel on the market. Offering exceptional corrosion resistance and durability, this alloy is suitable for a spectrum of uses across nearly every industry. Some of the most common applications are:

Applications of 316 Stainless Steel

Offering the greatest resistance to a variety of corrosive elements, type 316 stainless steel is the most appropriate alloy for applications with continuous exposure to harsh environments or where strength and hardness are a critical factor. This includes uses such as:

  • Stainless steel floats
  • Marine parts
  • Outdoor electrical enclosures
  • Chemical and pharmaceutical equipment
  • Medical devices and equipment

Stainless Steel Components by Stafford Manufacturing Corp.

Stafford Manufacturing Corp. is a global manufacturer and distributor of shaft collars, rigid shaft couplings, and specialty mechanical components used in OEM and MRO applications for industrial and consumer products. The inclusion of types 303, 304, and 316 stainless steels in our standard and custom components plays a pivotal role in enhancing their quality and durability. Our selection of stainless steel products includes:

  • Threaded bore shaft collars
  • Two-Piece Split Clamp Collars
  • Set Collars
  • Hinge Collars
  • Square and hexagonal bore shaft collars
  • Rigid shaft couplings and shaft adapters
  • Metric shaft collars, rigid shaft couplings, and components

For additional information on stainless steel material considerations for your next application, or to learn more about the Stafford advantagecontact us today.

Material Spotlight: 316 Stainless Steel for Wastewater Treatment Applications

Wastewater treatment is essential for a healthy environment. Wastewater is used water from homes, businesses, and industries and can come from appliances and fixtures such as bathtubs, sinks, toilets, and washing machines. It also includes storm run-off from parking lots, roads, and roofs. Wastewater treatment reduces pollutants to a level that does not overwhelm nature when it is released back into the environment. 

There are two main stages of wastewater treatment: primary and secondary. The primary wastewater treatment removes any solids that float or settle to the bottom while the secondary further cleans the wastewater using biological processes. In potable water treatment plants, the materials used for the aeration pipes, valves, tanks, and transfer pipes can affect the quality of the purification process. The most common option for wastewater applications is stainless steel. 

Why Stainless Steel Is Used in Wastewater Treatment Plants

Stainless steel is corrosive-resistant and adds no toxic chemicals to the water. Corrosion usually occurs in pipe crevices when there is a bend or join in panels. With stainless steel, crevice corrosion is rare. 316 Stainless steel contains 2% molybdenum, which helps resist corrosion from chlorides, making it popular for potable water treatment plants where certain chemical content could increase corrosion. Carbon steel has a much lower resistance to corrosion and is therefore not the best choice for wastewater treatment. Though stainless steel is more expensive than steel, it results in far lower maintenance and replacement costs. 

Advantages of Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is available in many grades, which depends upon varying levels of carbon in the steel. The two most common types used in wastewater treatment processes are duplex grade and austenitic grade. These have the highest corrosion resistance compared to the other types. Besides stainless steel’s low corrosive properties, there are many other advantages, including: 

  • Minimal loss of metal degradation
  • High strength
  • Ductility
  • No UV light degradation

Limitations of Stainless Steel

While choosing the right grade of stainless steel is important, there may be some limitations. In environments where there are changing pressures, stainless steel can risk fatigue over time. Several grades of stainless steel  (such as 303 and 304) are susceptible to certain types of corrosion, including crevice corrosion, chloride pitting, pinhole leaks, and external corrosion. Some ways to ensure the longest life of stainless steel used for wastewater applications include: 

  • Drain pipelines during periods of non-use to prevent stagnant water, which encourages microbial activity that causes corrosion to occur. 
  • Mill pickling stainless steel pipes to help control surface corrosion. Heat tints near welded areas can make them susceptible to biocorrosion and the pickling process helps provide a corrosion-resistant surface. 
  • Follow proper operation guidelines to prevent the beginning of corrosion caused by scaling, over chlorination, poor fabrication, or MIC. 

Stainless Steel Products Suited for Harsh Environments From Stafford Manufacturing

Stainless steel can be an effective material for use in harsh environments, such as wastewater treatment facilities. Stafford Manufacturing offers both standard and custom machined parts made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel in a variety of grades to best suit your application. Contact our team to learn more about our product selection for your water treatment needs.

Guide to Shaft Collars

Simple yet highly effective, shaft collars are ring-shaped metal or plastic components that enclose shafts and serve three main purposes: holding components in place, positioning components on the shaft, and providing a point of contact between the shaft and other components. This reference guide provides an overview of shaft collars styles, what you should consider for the installation and disassembly, and the materials, finishes, and surface types that are available today. For more in-depth information, check out our product overview on shaft collars.


Collar Style

Shaft collars come in a diverse range of styles, including set screw, one-piece split, two-piece split, balanced, and hinged. One-piece split, two-piece split, balanced, and hinged models collectively fall into the same category: clamp-type collars. Clamp-type collars are fitted around the shaft and are not screwed to the shaft directly.


Set Screw

When a recessed screw is positioned inside the ring of a shaft collar, the system is called a set screw. To install this collar, the user must first tighten the screw onto the shaft, creating a slight indentation on the shaft material. Once the screw is tightened and the collar is secured, the shaft will become permanently marred with small burrs. The system is relatively easy to use and most effective when the screw is harder than the shaft material. 


One-Piece Split

A one-piece split collar tightens circumferentially around the body of the shaft without breaking the shaft surface. Like a set screw collar, the one-piece split also contains a screw which must be tightened or loosened to move the collar on the shaft—but, unlike the set screw model, the one-piece split can be repositioned and doesn’t damage the shaft. Instead, it distributes pressure evenly across the circumference, providing a more uniform and secure hold. 


Two-Piece Split

Made from two semi-circles that combine to form the collar, two-piece split collars are easy to disassemble and rearrange along the length of the shaft. If you have other components on the shaft, using a two-piece split instead of a one-piece split will allow you to reposition the collar without needing to remove anything else.



A balanced collar looks similar to a two-piece split but contains interlocking studs on both sides to help minimize vibration and distribute weight as evenly as possible across the shaft circumference. Just like the one- and two-piece split, this collar won’t mar the surface of a shaft.



As the name suggests, hinged collars contain a hinge that allow the user to install the collar at any point along the shaft. The hinge also ensures both pieces of the collar stay connected. Many users prefer to use a hinged collar over a standard two-piece split because the design makes it impossible to lose a component.


Structural Features

Clamp-style collars can have additional features, including, for example:



Featuring weighty clamping screws and large diameters, heavy-duty collars provide exceptional holding power but are slightly bulkier than other models.



Weldable collars are lead-free, offer permanent holding power, and are heavyweight bearing. 


Installation and Disassembly

A set screw collar is the oldest type of collar with the simplest design but has a few notable drawbacks. First, if you use a set screw collar, it will damage the shaft, which could make it challenging to reposition the collar later. The set screw collar also isn’t as secure as clamp-based models. 

If you plan to reposition the collar along the shaft, a two-piece hinged collar will probably be the most convenient option. Rearranging or removing one-piece collars by sliding them along the shaft can be burdensome, especially if you’re working with a long, unwieldy shaft. A two-piece hinged collar is easy to move along the length of the shaft without separating the components. 



The collar material significantly affects its overall performance. The material’s durability, holding power, and resistance to corrosion should all factor into your decision, in addition to its relative hardness compared to the shaft material. 

At Stafford, we manufacture products from a wide range of materials, including aluminum and stainless steel.


Finish and Surface Treatment

Manufacturers can add surface treatments to change the collar’s appearance and increase its slip-resistance, anti-corrosive properties, and durability. Certain types of finishes are also chemically inert or specially engineered for food processing, the pharmaceutical industry, and other applications that require a sterile environment. 

If you’re using a non-standard screw instead of the one that was provided with the collar, it’s also critical to determine how the material will interact with the shaft and collar.


Shaft Collars from Stafford Manufacturing Corp.

When selecting the right shaft collar for a job, consider the style, intended application, material, and surface treatments at your disposal. If you’re not sure what options are best-suited to your needs, talk to the experts at Stafford Manufacturing Corp. in Wilmington, MA. With over 45 years of experience manufacturing shaft collars, we have the expertise to answer all your questions and help you choose the best solution. We are ISO 9001:2015-certified and dedicated to complete customer satisfaction.

Contact us today to learn more about our precision-manufactured collar shafts and coupling components. 

Key Criteria to Guide Your Rigid Couplings Selection

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.

Excessive Misalignment

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

To learn more about choosing the best rigid coupling for your project, visit our Resource Library, or contact our experienced specialists today.


Weldability of Products is Determined by Materials Used

Factors to Determine the Right Welding Process

Selecting the right welding process requires consideration of many important factors, such as:

  • Joint analysis Determining the size, position, and thickness of the base metal must be done to understand if the needs of the joint are fast-fill, fast-freeze, fast-follow, or penetration.
  • Type of materials Different types of materials call for the use of particular welding processes. While MIG and TIG welding works for copper, other welding types may not suit the material.
  • Structure of parts Checking base-metal conditions and arc visibility helps to decide the appropriate welding technique.  Knowing the fixturing of equipment can also lend a hand in choosing the appropriate method.
  • Application If a welding process does not fit the weld specifications necessary to provide the desired weld properties, it should not be used. Additionally, availability and cost of equipment should be taken into consideration.
  • Volume of parts to be welded Because so many welding types rely on high-cost equipment, the volume of parts to be welded should be examined alongside the amount of productivity or work and expertise necessary.

Welding Equipment

Welding requires a checklist of basic equipment, namely:

  • Welding machines Each welding method has its own specialized machinery.
  • Consumables Used for welding the base materials, consumables such as electrodes, fillers, and flux play an essential role in the welding process. The specific type selected for a job depends on the base materials.
  • Safety equipment Since welding involves working in close proximity to high electrical currents, noise levels, and temperatures, welder safety should remain a paramount concern. Personal protective equipment such as welding helmets, shields, goggles, gloves, earplugs, and fire-resistant overalls often prove essential in ensuring welder safety.

Materials We Can Weld

Steel, especially alloys of mild steel, is a popular choice for manufacturing weldable parts with high strength and low costs. We commonly weld the following steels:

  • AISI 1018 steel A low carbon steel, this material is considered the best choice for manufacturing carburized parts because of its malleability and weldability, while still maintaining strength and toughness.
  • 1215 steel This mild steel suits parts requiring machining and case hardening.
  • C1026 steel Its chemical composition resembles 1215 steel, except that this material has more carbon and lower machinability than 1215 steel.
  • 316 stainless steel As a marine-grade, corrosion-resistant steel, this material sees wide use by the food processing industry since it performs well at high temperatures.

We recommend the above metals because they don’t contain lead. While the cost-effectiveness of some other steels may be appealing, welding these alloys can produce toxic fumes welders may inhale during welding processes. Plating materials like zinc or chrome may produce the same noxious results. Sulphur, which improves machining in some stainless steel, does not have strong weldability.

Welding at Stafford Manufacturing

Stafford Manufacturing Corp. manufactures a variety of mechanical parts such as coupling adapters, rigid couplings, and shaft collars used in clamping, motion control, mounting, and power transmission applications. With good welds, these parts can work reliably for their lifetime and help to ensure the safety of the people who depend on them. We prioritize quality in all of our parts and services, and we can provide standard parts with excellent weldability or create custom parts with the right weldability required for specific applications.

Please contact us with your questions about the weldability of our products and how they are suitable for your applications.

Welding at Stafford Manufacturing

All About Motion Control Systems

Within the automation industry, motion control systems and subsystems play a crucial role in the controlled movement of machine parts. Generally, these systems employ computerized controls to manage and manipulate the actions of an actuator in regard to positioning, speed, force, and/or pressure. More advanced models also integrate technology to capture critical process data and feedback for the optimization of future operations.

The following blog post provides an overview of motion control systems, outlining the basic components and how to choose them appropriately for an application and typical use cases in the industrial sector.

How to Choose the Right Motion Control Components

The three key components of a motion control system are:

  • A motion controller:acts as the central operating component of the system
  • A drive:receives low voltage command signals that prompt the submission of the appropriate voltage and current to the system
  • A feedback device:sends feedback to the motion controller that indicates if and when adjustments are necessary

Altogether, these components allow industry professionals to exert greater control over machine operations. However, they must be carefully chosen with regard to the system architecture for them to offer optimal performance.

The broad selection of motion control components available from vendors across the world and the continuous advancement in the field of motion control technology make selecting the right parts difficult. When evaluating potential motion control parts for a particular application, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. These considerations include:

  • Clearly define system requirements.The first step to choosing motion control components is understanding the requirements of the system in question. Once system conditions are clearly defined, it is easier to select compatible components.
  • Focus on the motion controller.Think of motion controllers as the brains of motion control systems. It’s important to choose a motion controller that is well-suited of the needs of the system. Some of the design elements to consider include coordinated motion requirements, I/O points, multitasking and error-handling capabilities, programming language, and setup software tools.
  • Partner with a vendor that specializes in motion control.These vendors can offer insight and advice about potential components that may be difficult to find elsewhere.
  • Evaluate whether a custom solution is necessary.For highly unique or complex applications, custom-tailored motion control components offer better reliability and performance.

Applications of Motion Control Systems

Automation technology—including motion control systems—finds application across a diverse set of industries, including in the following:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Defense
  • Mining
  • Oil and gas
  • Power generation
  • Pulp and paper

Within these industries, customers from a variety of different types of companies employ the technology to facilitate their operations. At Stafford Manufacturing, our clientele stems from companies such as:

  • Market research and consulting firms
  • Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)
  • Power transmission and motion control manufacturing companies
  • Power transmission and motion control providers
  • Research and development companies
  • Solution providers
  • System integrators
  • Technology investors
  • Technology standards organizations

Motion Control Components From Stafford Manufacturing

Established in 1975, Stafford Manufacturing is a manufacturer and distributor of a broad selection of high-quality motion control components. Our product offerings include:

  • Rotary encoder collars.Our rotary encoder collars are suitable for adding speed sensing capabilities to shafts in new system installation or retrofitting applications. Their configuration features steel targets that can be read from the face and outer diameter surface and a fully split design that allows for mounting without the need to remove other components. They can be used alongside a compatible sensor mount assembly.
  • Sensor mount systems.Our sensor mount systems are compatible with all popular sizes of electromagnetic sensors. They are available with five threaded collar sizes, six standoff and base height options, and fixed or sliding base configurations.
  • Mounting components and clamps.Our Universal Positioning System facilitates the mounting of motion control components. Its highly adjustable design allows users to move devices freely to suit their needs. In addition, nearly 800 standard mounting components are available individually, making it suitable for use in a wide range of OEM and MRO applications.

The Stafford Advantage

By partnering with us for their motion control component needs, customers benefit from our customizable off-the-shelf products that eliminate the need to invest in costly custom solutions. By integrating our one-piece, two-piece, hinged, Accu-Clamp™, or Staff-Lok™ quick release collars, they can accommodate the requirements and restrictions of their unique applications.

For additional information about our motion control system components, watch our product videos or contact us today.

Welcome to Our New Blog!

Welcome to our new blog!

Thanks for stopping by the new blog for Stafford Manufacturing. Expect to see some great educational and entertaining content here in the near future.


Stay tuned!