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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!