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Different Coupling Types and Its Applications

February 14, 2019

Dependent on a mechanical system's torque requirements, different drive solutions are used to link the various sections of a rotating powertrain. In the following text, we'll talk about these drives and the coupling types that securely connect their rotating shafts together. From prime mover to pumping mechanisms, the coupling types that fasten their shafts are as follows.

Disc Coupling Type

Multiple disc faces bolt together between two drive shafts. Single-stage or comprised of a pack of flexible elements, the thin metal discs provide strength and good-to-moderately high misalignment compensation. The elements are self-centring and wear-resistant. Beyond 3,600 RPM, layers of flexible polymers aid the disc pack elements as torsional vibrations stress a drive system. They're primarily used in high radial velocity applications, including those that require high-speed pumping.

Gear Linking Couplings

Capable of handling and transmitting heavy torques, the mechanically versatile drive linkages use a hub and teeth locking configuration to handle angular misalignment loads. Gear linked couplings can handle misalignment stress, but the load will eventually take a toll on the device sleeve. The metal-on-metal stress can be mitigated somewhat, usually by applying a lubricant. High-quality, case hardened geared couplings stave off the effects of fatigue and misalignment stress. Made with forged sleeves, this type of coupling operates under heavy loads. Cranes and hoists use gear couplings.

Flexible Beam Type

Keeping in mind the applications question, misalignment issues are a big problem. Worse yet, though, there are shock loads and transient peak stress factors to counteract. Beam type drive linkages use a standard coupling architecture, except for one revision to their form. Equipped with helical cutouts in their coupling bodies, they retain a required measure of torsional stiffness while also providing plenty of shock dampening power. Motion control applications benefit from this backlash-adjustable option.

Universal Ball and Pin Joints

Sometimes called a "pin joint," this coupling type is commonly used as a power transmission connector in progressive cavity pumps. Universal joints, like those in our shoulders, absorb the eccentric rotational energies that travel through slow-moving helical rotors and their equally uniquely formed elastomeric stators. Used with a coupling rod, the design has evolved somewhat. High-end helical pumping applications now employ fatigue resistant double pin joints, which serve the most challenging industrial circumstances.

The number of mind-bogglingly different coupling types goes on and on into the far distance. Critically, design engineers seek to balance a drive joint's rigid load handling capabilities against a need for misalignment flexibility. This desire is seen in disc type flexible couplings, flexible bellows couplings, and in lubrication-free diaphragm couplings.

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