In general terms, a coupling is a joint that connects two devices. Thus, there a many types of couplings and coupling applications. Most often, couplings are used to transfer power, often at an angle or offset, from one shaft to another. A rigid coupling is simple in design and applicable to near in-line applications. Flexible couplings are more intricate in design and applicable to angle and offset applications.
Flex couplings also compensate for vibrations and misaligned machinery. Flexible couplings consist of two hubs with a flexible disk or pin, an embedded spring or floating gear in between. These designs efficiently transfer torque even when machine precision deteriorates, which ultimately prevents breakdown and wear.
Here are a few other types of couplings:
1. A pipe coupling connects two pipes, usually in-line, and either clamps or screws them down tight.
2. Fluid couplings, a type of hydraulic coupling, functions similarly to clutches and are used in boats and cars.
3. Quick disconnect couplings, or quick couplings, are useful in industrial pneumatic machinery where speed changes are of the essence (often to avoid fluid losses).
4. Electrical couplings are useful for electrical power transfer applications.
Play it safe: Install quality couplingsCouplings take a lot of the stress off other moving parts; but by doing so, they are prone to wear and breakage. Under pressure, even a stationary pipe coupling can release one of the pipes it holds. Coupling failure creates production slowdown, machine damage and potential hazards for the people who work around machinery. Besides smart and safe overall machine design, installing couplings of adequate quality is safe and money-wise. When choosing a coupling don't limit your search to dimension and fit. Temperature, pressure and vibration levels, load and torque capabilities and corrosion resistance are all important factors. Estimate the harshest conditions your application might put on a coupling, then select one that exceeds those values.
Shop the best sources for couplingsWith so many kinds of couplings, you'll need to find the right source to fit your needs.
Maintain your couplingsMany couplings are designed with a definite lifespan. Other, high quality, couplings are made to last indefinitely. Some couplings even have seals over their moving parts to prevent corrosion and keep out dirt. However, even quality couplings require maintenance or even part replacement.
- Flexible couplings are useful to insulate one electrical component from another.
- Brass couplings contain copper; when they are connected to galvanized steel, corrosion will occur.