Flexible Shaft Couplings

Flexible shaft couplings are used to connect rigid transmission shafts and mechanical power transmission elements. They take care of any misalignments that may exist between the driver and the driven members. This avoids undue wear on the bearings and prevents distortion, bending, or in extreme cases, breakage of the shafts. The couplings transmit the torque with very little loss.

A shaft is a long cylindrical shaped piece of metal which is used in engines, transmissions, drive shafts and many other mechanical systems. When these shafts have to be connected to various mechanical components, flexible shaft couplings are the best and most efficient way to connect them together. Just about any mechanical device that uses a motor will have a need for flexible shaft couplings. These include boats, planes and automobiles. These couplings are also used in a variety of other types of industrial applications including generators, power plants, gas turbines, compressors, refineries and many large processing plants.

Even though parts of an engine need to stay rigid during rotation and movement, there are several types of misalignments that can occur. These misalignments include lateral, angular and axial misalignment. Flexible shaft couplings are designed to transmit torque equally to accommodate any misalignment. These misalignments have to be compensated for to keep the durability and performance of the moving parts during operation.

Flexible shaft couplings can connect shafts and compensate for any misalignments that may take place. If these misalignments aren’t compensated for with the proper coupling, the shafts and bearings can quickly wear out and cause various other problems in the transmission or motor. The best types of flexible shaft couplings can handle the most rigorous jobs without any maintenance, lubrication or upkeep.

These couplings have two main bores where the input and output shafts are fitted. Flexible pads made of rubber or plastic are placed at the contact zone. The shafts are firmly fixed using keyways or screws. Certain types of flexible shaft couplings allow shaft timing to be taken care of.

Flexible shaft couplings are either metallic or non-metallic. Non-metallic couplings are made of rubber or plastic and are used to transmit low power in domestic mixers and electronic items. Metallic couplings are heavy-duty models with rugged construction that covers higher ranges of power. They are also classified as flexible tensional couplings and zero backlash types. Parameters used for selection include horsepower and torque to be transmitted, speed of input and output shafts and the diameter of the shafts.

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