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, I am very proud to be leading our company into its second 100 years. After considering the many suggestions for ways to commemorate our 100th anniversary, I felt the best one was to create something that could have lasting value to our industry and our customers. From this goal came the idea of our "Coupling Handbook". During our first 100 years of existence, Lovejoy engineers, product managers and field service people have accumulated a lot of knowledge about flexible couplings, including practical experience not found in textbooks. Our Handbook is intended to transfer that knowledge to the people who can best make use of it -- the designers, machine builders and maintenance people who work with couplings every day. Like Lovejoy itself, this handbook will always be a work in progress. There is always more to learn. To that end, we welcome input from you, the reader, as to how we can improve the contents of this book in the future. We want it to become a living, changing document that will be updated over the years to better assist its readers with the selection, installation and maintenance of all types of flexible couplings. Between successive editions, we will post new and updated material on the industry-wide informational website we sponsor: couplings.com. Parts of this book also will be available for training purposes on Lovejoy's website: lovejoy-inc.com. I hope you will find our efforts informative, helpful and worthwhile, and that you will offer your comments, knowledge and experience to help us continually make it better. With thanks to you for making our success possible. - Mike Hennessy, Chief Executive Officer
Preface Lovejoy is very proud to be celebrating its 100th anniversary at the start of the new millennium. To commemorate this occasion, we created a handbook for those people who are involved with mechanical power transmission, and specifically with the general purpose couplings used in that field. The majority of those who leave engineering school are confronted with daunting challenges. For one, they must bridge the gap between theoretical textbooks and the practical realities of design engineering in industry today. Engineers spend only a small portion of their time dealing with flexible couplings. With the notable exception of gear couplings, industry-wide common designs for flexible couplings really do not exist. Each coupling designer developed a coupling with a unique geometry and set the ratings based on that coupling's abilities. This contrasts with other power transmission components such as chain, v-belts, motors, and bearings where standards exist. Each of the manufacturers produces these products to standards and in many instances even use the same nomenclature. The goal of this handbook is to assist you with the process of sorting out the myriad of coupling styles that exist to select the one best suited to your application. This handbook is not a textbook. There are several of those in print which do a great job and are very useful for coupling designers. What we are attempting to do is to provide down-to-earth useable knowledge. We want to arm you with information that you need to utilize the variety of styles that exist in flexible couplings to your best advantage and solve real world problems. Lovejoy has been manufacturing couplings since 1927. More importantly, we have the greatest breadth of coupling types offered by any single manufacturer in the world. We have the applications experience with couplings to talk about all the most popular designs out there, even the ones we don't sell. Since flexible couplings are our strategic focus, we feel you will find this handbook to be a valuable resource.
I. Introduction A. Why a Flexible Coupling? A flexible coupling connects two shafts, end-to-end in the same line, for two main purposes. The first is to transmit power (torque) from one shaft to the other, causing both to rotate in unison, at the same RPM. The second is to compensate for minor amounts of misalignment and random movement between the two shafts. Belt, chain, gear and clutch drives also transmit power from one shaft to another, but not necessarily at the same RPM and not with the shafts in approximately the same line. Such compensation is vital because perfect alignment of two shafts is extremely difficult and rarely attained. The coupling will, to varying degrees, minimize the effect of misaligned shafts. Even with very good initial shaft alignment there is often a tendency for the coupled equipment to "drift" from its initial position, thereby causing further misalignment of the shafts. If not properly compensated, minor shaft misalignment can result in unnecessary wear and premature replacement of other system components. In certain cases, flexible couplings are selected for other protective functions as well. One is to provide a break point between driving and driven shafts that will act as a fuse if a severe torque overload occurs. This assures that the coupling will fail before something more costly breaks elsewhere along the drive train. Another is to dampen torsional (rotational) vibration that occurs naturally in the driving and/or driven equipment. Each type of coupling has some advantage over another type. There is not one coupling type that can "do it all". There is a trade-off associated with each, not the least of which can be purchase costs. Each design has strengths and weaknesses that must be taken into consideration because they can dramatically impact how well the coupling performs in the application. This handbook will be a guide to assessing the features and limitations of the many standard types of couplings on the market. Before we enter into a discussion about all of the evaluation factors to consider in selecting the right coupling type, let's review some basic terminology that will be used in this handbook. B. Basic Terminology ANGULAR MISALIGNMENT: A measure of the angle between the centerlines of driving and driven shafts, where those centerlines would intersect approximately halfway between the shaft ends. Coupling catalogs will show the maximum angular misalignment tolerable in each coupling. A coupling should not be operated with both angular and parallel misalignment at their maximum values. AXIAL: A projection or movement along the line of the axis of rotation. Example: Sliding the hub in either direction may change the position of a coupling hub, on its shaft. Thus affecting its axial position on the shaft. AXIAL DISPLACEMENT: One type of misalignment that must be handled by the coupling. It is the change in axial position of the shaft and part of the coupling in a direction parallel to the axial centerline. Can be caused by thermal growth or a floating rotor. Some couplings limit this displacement and are called limited end float couplings. AXIAL FORCES: The driver or driven equipment can generate axial forces (thrust) in which case the coupling will pass those forces to the next available bearing with thrust capability. Because of the inherent construction of some couplings, forces may be generated in the axial direction when operating at high speeds or under misalignment. Such forces can place additional loads on the support bearings. AXIAL FREEDOM: This characteristic allows for variation in coupling position on the shaft at time of installation. BACKLASH: The amount of free movement between two rotating, mating parts. If one half of a coupling is held rigid and the other half can be rotated a slight amount (with very little force), you have some amount of backlash. The freedom of movement, or looseness, is the backlash and may be expressed in degrees. Backlash is not the same as torsional stiffness. BORE: The central hole that becomes the mounting surface for the coupling on the shaft. Close tolerances are required. Bores/shafts are not always round, although that is the most common shape. Other bore types can include hex, square, dshaped, tapered, and spline. A spline bore is one with a series of parallel keyways formed internally in the hub and matching corresponding grooves cut in the shaft. Spline bores and shafts most commonly conform to Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standards. DAMPING: Some couplings greatly reduce the amount of vibration transmitted between driver and driven shafts because of the damping capacity of an elastomer in the coupling. It is a hysteresis effect that will generate heat. The coupling must dissipate this heat or risk losing its strength by melting down. The stiffness of the elastomer affects the rate at which vibration is damped. All-metal couplings, for the most part have poor damping capacity.
DISTANCE BETWEEN SHAFTS: The distance between the faces (or ends) of driving and driven shafts, usually expressed as the "BE" (between ends) dimension or "BSE" (between shaft ends) dimension. FACTORS OF SAFETY: The coupling designer applies these factors to compensate for unknown elements of the product design. The factors can compensate for temperature, material variations, fatigue strength, dimensional variations, tolerances, and potential stress risers to name a few. FAIL-SAFE: A fail-safe coupling is one that will continue to operate for a period of time after the torque-transmitting element has failed. This is characteristic of couplings in which some portion of both halves operate in the same plane, allowing direct contact between those portions. An example of this is the jaw coupling, in which driving jaw faces push the driven jaw faces through an elastomer in compression between them; if the elastomer breaks away, the driving faces simply advance to push the driven faces directly. FINITE LIFE VS. INFINITE LIFE IN COUPLINGS: All couplings fall into one of these two categories: 1.). Finite-life couplings are those that wear in normal operation, because of using sliding or rubbing parts to transmit torque and compensate for misalignment. This group includes jaw, gear, grid, sleeve (shear), nylon sleeve gear, chain, offset and pin & bush types. These types usually have lower purchase costs than infinite-life couplings. They won't last as long, but their life span may be sufficient for the life expectancy of the application. Periodic maintenance is required. 2). Infinite-life couplings (a name given to "non-wear" couplings) transmit torque and compensate for misalignment by the distorting of flexing elements. The distortion results in fatigue stresses rather than wear, and the couplings are designed and rated to operate within the fatigue capabilities of the coupling material. "Infinite life" couplings do not necessarily last forever. This group includes tire, disc, diaphragm, some donut types, wrapped-spring, flex-link, and most motion-control types. "Infinite life" couplings remain infinite only as long as the load, including those caused by misalignment, is kept within the coupling's design capabilities. An overload will fail an infinite-life coupling (but may only reduce the life of a finite-life coupling). Infinite-life designs are most often used on maintenance-free systems where maximum torque requirements - including transient, cyclic and start-up torque – are known. HORSEPOWER: The unit of power used in the U.S. engineering system. It is the time rate of doing work. For power transmission it is the torque applied and rotational distance per unit of time. Applied torque causes a shaft and its connected components to rotate at a certain RPM (revolutions per minute). Horsepower (HP) is converted to torque as follows: T = the torque in inch-pounds Where T = BHP x 63025/RPM BHP = the motor or other horsepower RPM = the operating speed in revolutions per minute 63025 = a constant used for inch-pounds; use 5252 for foot-pounds, and 7121 for Newton-meters The metric system uses kilowatts (kW) for driver ratings. Converting kW to torque: Where T = BHP x 84452/RPM T = the torque in inch pounds kW = the motor or other kilowatts RPM = the operating speed in revolutions per minute 84518 = a constant used when torque is in inch-pounds. Use 7043 for foot-pounds, and 9550 for Newton-meters KEYWAY: A rectangular opening formed by matching rectangular slots cut axially (lengthwise) along both the coupling bore and shaft. A square or rectangular metal key is then inserted into the opening to lock the coupling and shaft in position. Torque is transmitted from shaft to coupling through the keyway and key. LENGTH THROUGH BORE: The effective length of the bore in the hub, or that portion of the length that is useable and may be attached to the shaft. OUTSIDE DIAMETER: The largest effective diameter of the coupling. OVERALL LENGTH: The largest effective length of the complete coupling assembly. PARALLEL MISALIGNMENT: A measure of the offset distance between the centerlines of driving and driven shafts. Coupling catalogs will show the maximum parallel misalignment tolerable in each coupling. A coupling should not be operated with both parallel and angular misalignment at their maximum values.
the parallel misalignment. Always base coupling size and service factor on the actual torque requirements at the point of installation within the drive system. the coupling's radial stiffness will cause a broadside force to be exerted on the shafts.-lbs. In metrics (F) is in Newtons and (r) is in meters. SET SCREW: A headless screw. An oversized coupling will not perform better or last longer. (The opposite . Among couplings that use wear parts to transmit torque. with hexagon shaped socket. The dynamic torsional stiffness can be linear.is termed "torsional softness") Stiffness is expressed in lb.RADIAL: Any projection outward from the center of a shaft or cylindrically shaped object. Values greater than 30 are hard (very stiff). Caution: Resist the temptation to specify in excess of the published service factors. The dynamic stiffness will be greater than the static. These are used for the purpose of guiding coupling size selection to a torque rating that will allow for unforeseen demands those characteristics might make on the coupling. expressed as in. It is equal to the difference between maximum and minimum limits of any specified dimensions TORQUE: In rotary motion it is the force multiplied by the radius. Some causes of torsional variation are the geometry of the rotating parts of internal combustion engines. Force (F) multiplied by radius (r) = F * r = Torque. transients or cyclic torque. to the axis of rotation. Values less than 10 are considered very soft. and variations in the output of certain types of electric motors at startup. a constant value. an increasing value. The centerline of the projection or motion normally passes through the axial centerline of the object. at which the force is applied. Such characteristics can include peak torque. Even seemingly stiff all-metal couplings can have some degree of torsional twist. expressed as Newton-meters (Nm). or any other empirical factor. It can also be used for torque transmission on low torque applications STIFFNESS STATIC TORSIONAL STIFFNESS: A resistance to twisting action (rotational displacement) between driving and driven halves of the coupling.low resistance to twist . or correct. start-up torque. cyclic and irregular torque demands of the driven equipment. DYNAMIC TORSIONAL STIFFNESS: It is the relationship of the torque to the torsional angle under the load of actual operation. service factors are intended to prevent premature failure of those parts due to accelerated wear or degradation. TORSIONAL SOFTNESS: Torsional soft or hard is determined by dividing the dynamic torsional stiffness by the nominal coupling torque rating. RESTORING MOMENT: see REACTIONARY LOADS SERVICE FACTORS: Multipliers that are assigned to common applications to compensate for their typical load characteristics. In English units (F) is in pounds and (r) is in inches. as it causes the shafts to bend slightly in reaction to the broadside force. used over a keyway to keep the key stock in place and prevent the coupling from moving axially along the shaft. Values between 10 and 30 are torsionally flexible. TOLERANCES: The amount of variation permitted on dimensions or surfaces of machined parts. This is called a "reactionary load". REACTIONARY LOADS: When two shafts are offset (parallel misalignment). service factors are intended to prevent premature failure due to overload damage. as a force produced by the coupling in an effort to restore.inch/radian and measures the amount of angular displacement about the coupling's axis of rotation at its static torque rating. or any motion along that line. . Among couplings that have no wear parts (see Finite/Infinite life). It may also be called a "restoring moment". TORSIONAL VIBRATION: The periodic variation in torque of a rotating system. or non-linear. but will be unnecessarily expensive and force the system to waste energy.
A coupling's ability to accommodate misalignment is evaluated in the context of the reactionary loads that will result. either mists. There are some drives where the possibilities of severe torque or system overloads are high.Different couplings have different limitations as to the amount of angular misalignment.C.The more parts a coupling has. Ease of Installation . This can include requirements for slider-type couplings or limited end float couplings.Indicates how much movement can be accommodated by the coupling along the axis of the two shafts.Fail-safe can be important in any application where unexpected stopping of the driven equipment might jeopardize safety. Make sure shafts and bearings will be able to withstand the reactionary loads that these forces will impose. until a more opportune time for maintenance can be scheduled. This often means it will take more time to install or disassemble for repairs or maintenance.Some couplings are more complex and take more time to properly install and align. each coupling has general . Maintenance Required . Alignment Capabilities . sometimes even within their rated levels. Field Repairable . First. flywheel mounts.The ability of the coupling components to withstand chemicals in the environment around it. Backlash .g. High Speed Capacity . a fusible link coupling may be preferred. determine whether the coupling can be economically changed to bring it up to the necessary speed. determine the amount of misalignment that can reasonably be expected between the two pieces of equipment to be coupled and let that guide or influence coupling selection. drop-out spacers. Adaptability of Design . If the coupling fits the application but its standard off-theshelf model is not rated for the RPM required. Axial Freedom . and the more potential it has for problems. And when the time comes to replace any components and/or the grease. vertical applications. Sometimes it's a balance issue and sometimes it's a strength issue due to centrifugal force. incur high expense in downtime or scrapping of material in process. When misaligned. For any one application there may be only three or four attributes which are extremely important. It is important to narrow the requirements for an application down to only the most critical attributes that come into play. This is important in two situations. Reactionary Loads Due to Axial Forces . the more complex it is. will require more spare parts to stock. baths. Backlash is usually not desired in applications where precise positioning of the shafts is important. lubricated couplings will require periodic checks of the seals and lubricant. Fail Safe or Fusible Link . and will be more costly to balance.Also defined in the basic terminology section. dusts. This is a long list of evaluation factors. parallel misalignment or axial displacement each can accommodate. Reactionary Loads Due to Misalignment . The first is when the BE dimension is very small and coupling hubs need to be installed further back from the shaft ends. In order to protect the driver/driven equipment. brake drums). The other is when axial float in the shafts is characteristic of system operation. you usually have to put in new seals. fail-safe is extremely valuable.The ability of the coupling to reduce the torsional vibrations transmitted from one shaft to the other. For instance. but need to adapt it to suit different application requirements. special lengths. without compromising the coupling's ability to operate at rated torque and without imposing reactionary loads on the bearings. etc.Usually refers to speeds over 3000 RPM. In the next chapter we summarize the major coupling types discussed in the materials and provide some ratings of each coupling type against these factors.Means that the key components are serviceable on-site so that the entire coupling does not have to be replaced. but also how long it may take to do the work.Some coupling designs inherently generate axial forces during normal operation. Coupling Evaluation Factors These are attributes that affect the type of coupling best suited for an application. In fact it would be difficult to satisfy more than a half dozen attributes with any one coupling. This is sometimes referred to as a "fusible link" function being performed by the coupling. If the equipment can be operated for a while longer. This might be a concern if large numbers of couplings are to be installed or if they will need to be replaced or moved frequently.Some couplings are available in a variety of configurations (e. These alternatives can be important to users who want to standardize on a particular type of coupling design. Chemical Resistance . Number of Component Parts . Damping Capacity . The flip side of this is the application where the user actually wants the coupling to disengage the drive if the element should fail.Consider not only the frequency of maintenance that a coupling may require.
this is an attribute that is neither good or bad. in balance with the other performance features it provides. coupling selection is generally limited to a few elastomeric types capable of damping the pulses and providing reasonable service life. If you expect to see high startup torque for instance and the drive starts and stops many times each day. type of prime mover. depending on which is the principle load on the elastomer. shaft fits. or bearings are not substantial enough. or even in tension. these reactionary loads can cause problems. If none stand out then simply choose the lowest cost that fits those basics. but are not limited to: horsepower.Due to torsional pulses generated by reciprocating engines (most notably diesels) as well as certain kinds of pumps and compressors. you would probably want to have a coupling which has good capacities in this area. torque. The element is to some degree resilient (rubber or plastic).Defined in the basic terminology section.Couplings with equivalent torque-transmitting capacity can vary in diameter. will be discussed thoroughly in later chapters. As we review those other considerations that guide coupling selection. That can occur from either misalignment or torque beyond its capacity. First. and the special functions of each. Temperature Sensitivity . load characteristics of the driven equipment. speed (RPM). You just need to be careful to select a coupling type that has the proper level of torsional stiffness. determine what attributes beyond those basic criteria will be required for your application. Compression types include jaw. through which the power is transmitted. others will fail at only a few times the nominal rating. They can break down due to fatigue from cyclic loading when hysteresis (internal heat buildup in the elastomer) exceeds its limits. but for simplification they are classified as compression or shear. Reciprocating Drivers and Loads . torque. or not well supported. ultraviolet . Elastomeric couplings can be further classified as types with elastomers in compression or shear. while shear types include tire. and molded elements. If shafts are small. They also can break down from environmental factors such as high ambient temperatures. Torque Capacity to Diameter (Power Intensity) . Some may have an elastomer that is in combined compression and shear. First Steps in Coupling Selection Selecting the right coupling is a complex task because operating conditions can vary widely among applications.This relates to the highest and/or lowest temperatures within which the coupling materials can operate and provide normal service life. we will omit rigid types and focus on flexible couplings. All types. Types of Flexible Couplings Many types of flexible couplings exist because they all serve different purposes.Some couplings have the capacity to deal with brief torque overloads many times the running torque. probable misalignment conditions. axial movement.propensities for sending reactionary loads (whether axial or radial) through the system. Primary factors that will affect the type and size of coupling used for an application include. Almost always. Size alternatives within the same torque range may become important in applications where space is limited or if weight/inertia is a factor. and pin & bushing. Torque Overload Capacity . Elastomeric Couplings in this category include all designs that use a non-metallic element within the coupling. 1. space limitations and maintenance and installation requirements. however. The key advantages and limitations of both categories are briefly contrasted here to demonstrate how they can influence coupling selection. though. environment conditions. shaft sizes. Because all couplings have a broad band of speed. A. Secondary but possible essential factors can include starts/stops and reversing requirements. and shaft size capabilities. fall into one of two broad categories. II. those criteria are not the best place to start. there will be other considerations that will narrow your alternatives down to certain types of couplings. balancing requirements or conditions peculiar to certain industries. it just depends on the application and what is needed. sleeve. Torsional Stiffness . The full range of coupling types in both categories. donut. Elastomeric and Metallic. There are two basic failure modes for elastomeric couplings.
light or chemical contamination. Also keep in mind that all elastomers have a limited shelf life and would require replacement at some point even if these failure conditions were not present. Advantages of Elastomeric Type Couplings • Torsionally soft • No lubrication or maintenance • Good vibration damping and shock absorbing qualities • Field replaceable elastomers • Usually less expensive than metallic couplings that have the same bore capacity • Lower reactionary loads on bearings • More misalignment allowable than most metallic types Limitations of Elastomeric Type Couplings • Sensitive to chemicals and high temperatures • Usually not torsionally stiff enough for positive displacement • Larger in outside diameter than metallic coupling with same torque capacity (i.e. lower power density) • Difficult to balance as an assembly • Some types do not have good overload torque capacity 2. Metallic This type has no elastomeric element to transmit the torque. Their flexibility is gained through either loose fitting parts which roll or slide against one another (gear, grid, chain) -sometimes referred to as "mechanical flexing"-- or through flexing/bending of a membrane (disc, flex link, diaphragm, beam, bellows). Those with moving parts generally are less expensive, but need to be lubricated and maintained. Their primary cause of failure is wear, so overloads generally shorten their life through increased wear rather than sudden failure. Membrane types generally are more expensive, need no lubrication and little maintenance, but their primary cause of failure is fatigue, so they can fail quickly in a short cycle fatigue if overloaded. If kept within their load ratings, they can be very long-lived, perhaps outlasting their connected equipment. Advantages of Metallic Type Couplings • Torsionally stiff • Good high temperature capability • Good chemical resistance with proper materials selection • High torque in a small package (i.e. high power density) • High speed and large shaft capability • Available in stainless steel • Zero backlash in many types • Relatively low cost per unit of torque transmitted Limitations of Metallic Type Couplings • Fatigue or wear plays a major role in failure • May need lubrication • Often many parts to assemble • Most need very careful alignment • Usually cannot damp vibration or absorb shock. • High electrical conductivity, unless modified with insulators B. Application Considerations Sometimes selection of coupling type is guided by application, falling into one of five categories; General-Purpose Industrial, Specific-Purpose Industrial, High-Speed, Motion Control and Torsional. In each of these application categories there would be elastomeric, metallic membrane flexing, and mechanical flexing types. Once the coupling type is selected, there may be variations to consider within that type. For example, gear couplings offer a wide variety of configurations to combine coupling functions with other power train requirements, such as shear pin
protection or braking. It is always a good idea to understand as much as possible about the two pieces of equipment to be connected. Let the driven equipment and the driver dictate the needs of the coupling. For example, is there a shock load or a cyclic requirement that may lead to an elastomeric coupling? If low speed and high torque are involved, that means a gear coupling is likely best suited. High-speed machinery will lead to a disc or diaphragm coupling. Diesel drivers need the benefits of torsional couplings for best results. If the equipment is susceptible to peaks or transients, the application may want high service factor or a detailed analysis of the coupling torque capabilities. That brings us to the list of requirements that will impact the coupling selection. The charts below will help provide the path among all the couplings for most types of rotating equipment. The charts are organized into three sections. The first is a list of "Information Required" for the best possible selection of a coupling. It reflects the selection process used by the OEM equipment designer, the engineer/contractor, the coupling specifier, or the trouble-shooter. For other situations, short cuts are sometimes taken towards the conservative side. The second is a chart of "Coupling Evaluation Characteristics" such as torque, bore and misalignment. The third is the chart showing "Coupling Functional Capabilities”. They are the attributes of the various couplings that go beyond the numerical information. C. Coupling Evaluation Charts Information Required 1. Horsepower 2. Operating speed 3. Hub to shaft connection 4. Torque 5. Angular misalignment 6. Offset misalignment 7. Axial travel 8. Ambient temperature 9. Potential excitation or critical frequencies (Torsional, Axial, Lateral) 10. Space limitations 11. Limitation on coupling generated forces (Axial, Moments, Unbalance) 12. Any other unusual condition or requirements or coupling characteristics. The first seven items of the list above will allow a coupling selection if a service factor is used. The risk of relying on service factors is the possibility of ending up with an oversized coupling or one that is missing an essential feature. All the remaining information, where applicable, allows the coupling to be fine-tuned for the application. Some types of couplings designed to do a specific job will have a further list of needed information. For example, a slider coupling has to have the sliding distance and the minimum and maximum BSE dimension. Note: Information supplied should include all operating or characteristic values of connected equipment for minimum, normal, steady-state, transient, and peak levels, plus the frequency of their occurrence. Information Required for Cylindrical Bores 1. Size of bore including tolerance or size of shaft and amount of clearance or interference required 2. Length 3. Taper shaft (Amount of taper, Position and size of o-ring grooves if required, Size and location of oil distribution grooves, Max. pressure available for mounting, Amount of hub draw-up required, Hub OD requirements, Torque capacity required) 4. Minimum strength of hub material or its hardness 5. If keyways in shaft (How many, Size and tolerance, Radius required in keyway, Location tolerance of keyway respective to bore and other keyways) Types of Interface Information Required for Bolted Joints 1. Diameter of bolt circle and true location 2. Number and size of bolt holes 3. Size, grade and types of bolts required 4. Thickness of web and flanges 5. Pilot dimensions
6. Other Once past the charts that follow, one can go directly to the manufacturers catalog, or can read on to learn more about specific couplings and the other important coupling issues. Chart 1: Coupling Evaluation Factors Chart 2: Functional Capability Chart
III. Popular Elastomeric Coupling Types General Elastomeric Capabilities and Types Elastomeric flexible couplings transmit torque between the two shafts by means of an elastomeric material (rubber, urethane, etc.) positioned between the driving and driven hubs. The resiliency of the elastomeric material gives these couplings varying degrees of torsional softness not available in all-metal couplings, and generally greater misalignment capability than all-metal couplings. It also allows a single flex plane to accommodate both angular and parallel misalignment. Couplings made as metal flexing element or metal sliding element couplings require two flex planes to achieve parallel misalignment. Power intensity (torque-carrying capacity vs. coupling size) of elastomeric couplings is lower than that of all-metal couplings. With no (or little) friction wear between components, however, elastomeric couplings are considered low maintenance, although elastomer breakdown in some coupling configurations is a maintenance issue.
Combined angular. Speed is a problem for elastomeric couplings. The reactionary loads vary in inverse proportion to the softness of the elastomeric element. Torsional tuning uses the dynamic torsional stiffness of the coupling to establish a low torsional critical speed. Coupling materials like urethane. . Torsional stiffness of a coupling is a mechanical property of the coupling materials. with parts of the driving hub pushing parts of the driven hub through elastomeric elements positioned as cushions between them. The energy is in turn lost in heat generation. that action produces reactionary loads on the adjacent shaft bearings. Note that the geometric configuration of the coupling will determine the loading. allows the elastomeric material to absorb dynamic energy. Parallel offset misalignment is accepted via compressive distortion of the elastomer material. a characteristic exhibited by rubber with binders. The characteristic of damping exhibited by these couplings is different from torsional tuning of a system. "in shear". and the geometry of the coupling element. but not attached to either hub. it is usually measured in inch-pounds per radian (Newton Meters per radian in metric). Hystersis. The softness of the elastomer cushions the vibration and cyclic torque noises that result from backlash. Metal couplings usually depend on the spacer piece or floating shaft to lower the resilience or torsional stiffness. damping will occur without damage to the coupling elastomer. As torque is transmitted. If the heat builds up in the elastomeric element it will fail or melt down. or a combination of the two. Temperature limits vary by type of elastomer.i. Torsional stiffness is described as the torque necessary to deflect a coupling in the circular direction. and Zytel® make for stiff couplings. Damping of torsional energy in a power transmission system can also be accomplished by means other than the flexible coupling. Elastomeric couplings of both the compression type and shear type are used to control torsional vibration by damping the torsional vibration energy. The unit may not be acting like a torsional spring just because we are applying a torque load. They have little resilience. Resilience is helpful for both cyclic loading and misalignment capabilities. greater misalignment will mean higher reactionary loads. If the material is able to radiate or otherwise conduct the heat to a sink. Angular misalignment is accepted via sliding or distortion of the elastomer material depending on the method of securing to the hubs. Eventually the strength reduces to zero. In all cases. modulus of elasticity. the element is either "in compression". Other elastomers in the plastic range are progressively stiffer. but carry more compressive load. but generally 200 to 250 °F (110 °C) is the top end. Some elastomeric couplings may be used to dampen torsional vibration energy. Large centrifugal forces may cause the element to protrude out of the coupling and hit the coupling guard. Rubber in shear and rubber in compression provide the lowest torsional stiffness.e. Temperature is a restriction for elastomeric couplings. The material loses its strength as the temperature rises. Compression Types. This type of elastomeric coupling is characterized by a design in which the driving and driven hubs rotate in the same plane. viscous dampers and torque converters are all used. Choice of materials in designing elastomeric couplings is a balance between resilience and load carrying capability. such as HVAC systems. When dealing with power transmission couplings. parallel (radial) and axial misalignments will result in the greatest reactionary load. Frictional dampers. The deflection of an elastomeric coupling is large for the load applied. Noise reduction can be an advantage in certain applications. Because the elastomeric element handles misalignment by distorting. Types of Elastomeric Couplings Elastomeric couplings classify into three main types by the way their elastomeric element transmits torque . the elastomeric elements are being compressed.Elastomeric couplings are quieter than some all-metal types. The amount of hystersis is a function of the elastomeric material as well as the stress level.
First. they offer a greater degree of torsional stiffness. Greater torsional softness generally produces lower reactionary shaft loads when the coupling is subjected to misalignment. fans/blowers. The in-shear design also allows the coupling to act as a "fuse" to protect the driver and driven equipment from torque spikes or system overloads which might cause damage elsewhere. The legs of the spider protrude radially to become the cushions between the jaws. Second. Since elastomeric technology was not what it is today.Compression type couplings generally offer two advantages over shear types. Its design is simple. pointing towards the opposing hub. When the hubs are brought together. Shear Types This type of elastomeric coupling is characterized by a design in which all parts of driving and driven hubs rotate in different planes. This makes them especially appropriate where shafts may be relatively thin and susceptible to bending. Both driving and driven hubs have two to seven jaws (thick. Some designs of Jaw couplings use blocks or tubes of rubber that are placed in between the . and generators. Now a wide array of materials are available. which in some cases provides greater protection against the destructive effects of torsional vibration. First. they might be able to serve such applications if the proper service factors are used in sizing the coupling. compressors. As torque is transmitted. These can include clamping. Second. intermeshing teeth. type and amount of elastomer used. Compression Loaded Designs Jaw Couplings A classic example of compression-type couplings. mixers. the elastomeric element absorbs some of the torque force by being stretched through twisting. greater torsional stiffness generally produces higher reactionary shaft loads when the coupling is subject to parallel misalignment. It is still one of the most widely used flexible couplings in the world and one of the lowest cost couplings available. Typical applications include pumps. is the jaw coupling. Shear type couplings generally offer two advantages over compression types. the spiders were originally made from materials such as leather. conveyors. compression types can transmit higher torque and tolerate greater overload. Combination Shear and Compression Type This type of elastomeric coupling transmits torque between hubs through an elastomeric element in-shear. usually involving only three parts. Jaw couplings usually are not recommended for engine-driven. frequent stop-start or reciprocating loads because they are not designed to dampen torsional vibration. gearboxes. with some designs approaching the positive-displacement stiffness of metallic couplings. stubby protrusions) formed around their circumferences. because elastomers have higher load capacity in compression than in shear. but transmits torque from hub to element (and back again) by compression between hub teeth and intermeshing teeth formed into both ends of the element. they offer a greater degree of torsional softness. The design accepts misalignment through the deflection and distortion of the elastomeric member and also through sliding. or by bonding to metallic brackets that are bolted to the hubs. are filled with an elastomeric material. jaws from both hubs mesh loosely with each other. Damping capability depends largely on the geometry. usually molded into a single asterisk-shaped element called a "spider". However. with the driving hub pulling the driven hub through an elastomeric element attached to both hubs by various methods. and sometimes the central inner space between the hubs. if the elastomeric member is attached to the hubs through the use of intermeshing teeth. 1. first patented in 1927. they accommodate more parallel and angular offset while inducing less reactionary load to the bearing. However. Misalignment is accommodated primarily by the sliding of the elastomer against the hub teeth (similar to a gear coupling). usually driven by an electric motor. Gaps between them.
Thus. not the jaw/hub strength. Generally. the greater the surface area (and volume) of the elastomer in compression. which can be used to reduce replacement costs. Their angular and parallel misalignment is more limited than with inshear designs. Most designs have backlash or free play between the fit of the elastomer/jaws and are not suited to motion control applications. Jaw Coupling Types . an elastomer that transmits torque through a shearing action cannot absorb torque any greater than 3 or 4 times its nominal rating without tearing. albeit quite noisily given the metal-to-metal contact. the higher the torque rating of the coupling.trailing legs or cushions behind the driving jaws remain relaxed. It would take a torque of 6 or 7 times the nominal rating of rubber elastomers to break off the hub jaws. By contrast. jaw couplings are one of the lowest cost couplings. when permanent set reduces the element's original thickness by 25% or more. If the elastomer should fail. thus hubs must be modified in order to grip the shaft tightly enough. where the equipment is critical to a production process and cannot be allowed to stop. the torque rating for the coupling is magnified 2 to 3 times. Vertical applications are difficult since standard hubs are clearance fit bores with only one set screw. or the hubs have enclosed cavities into which the elastomer is placed. Since the jaws between the two hubs rotate intermeshed in the same plane. There are some limitations to jaw couplings. Maximum bore is limited by two factors: the inside diameter of the jaws and the length through bore of the hub. Note that couplings applied in reversing drives or those with frequently varying torque usually relinquish this benefit. This is still the preferred alternative for some applications. when compressive set reaches maximum in the driving cushions. Maximum axial float accommodated by jaw couplings is limited to about 10% of the axial thickness of the spider. When misaligned they introduce fairly significant reactionary loads on the shafts. and low maintenance requirements. Thus. Some degree of permanent compressive set is normal as elastomeric elements age in service. simple to install and align. no metal-to-metal contact for quiet operation. spacer couplings. it provides a visual sign that the element should be replaced. This is a helpful feature for Jaw couplings. Many variations of jaw couplings are possible. Jaw coupling torque ratings are primarily limited by the elastomer material's compression strength. Accordingly.opposing jaw faces and must be held in place through the use of a retaining collar. Temperature capacity is usually no greater than 250°F (121°C). In general. jaw couplings carry a builtin set of replacement elastomers. the coupling will still transmit the torque. that keeps them out of some applications. the bore (shaft diameter) should be no greater than the length of shaft engagement in the hub. special hub materials as well as a variety of elastomeric materials to choose from. Exploded view of Jaw coupling Torque is transmitted from one shaft to the other through the compression of the elastomer between the driver hub jaws and the driven hub jaws. ranging from flywheel designs. a jaw coupling can handle brief or infrequent torque spikes above the nominal rating far better than the elastomer in-shear designs. Other features of jaw couplings include. resistance to oil/grease/dirt/moisture in many tough environments. If you change the spider from natural rubber to Hytrel® which has much greater compression strength. the spider's trailing legs or cushions can be advanced into the driving position. In addition. this design is called "fail-safe". in most applications. Another helpful feature unique to Jaw couplings is that compression is applied only to the spider legs or load cushions forward of the driving jaws .
• Angular misalignment will vary from ½ to 1° maximum depending on the material used. these designs transmit torque through independent blocks of elastomeric material. This design offers the advantage of easily changing its torsional stiffness by varying the hardness and design of the blocks. large fans. Typically. these blocks are individually inserted into the spaces between the assembled coupling's intermeshed jaws.015" with different spider materials.) Alternatives include collar.228 in-lbs. These features are ideal for those situations where the shaft ends must be positioned closely together. This arrangement causes the radially removable elastomer to . yet the shaft diameters are greater than what can be accommodated in the open center type spider. Most of them fall into two general categories: a "straight side" type. the newest improvement in spider design. ring-in-groove. A.) • The same goes for parallel misalignment capability. in cube.010" to .000 N m). in which the jaw side faces have a cupped shape. blowers. they push the hubs apart so the jaws rotate in separate planes.0" (300 mm). (Open-center spiders simply allow greater axial freedom for installation on shafts with a close BE dimension.000 in-lbs.000. and in-shear. or wedge shapes. Collar Types are those fitted with elastomeric elements that are installed and removed externally. and in axial alignment hub-to-hub. (704 Nm). Usually of larger diameters. mixers. In-shear spiders. the collar is a stamped steel ring held in place by three retaining screws to one of the hubs. Standard straight-side jaw couplings offer several alternatives in spider constructions in addition to the basic asterisk-shaped solid spider or open-center spider spiders. which will vary from . Sometimes called load cushions or elastomer cylinders. and held in place by a steel collar. both of which are held captive naturally within the assembled coupling. Small size hubs are made from sintered iron. The compression block jaw coupling is available with a maximum bore capacity of 12. This coupling type is used for light to medium duty applications with a maximum torque capacity of 6. in which the jaw side faces are flat and straight. sometimes called "Snap-Wrap".Several different types of jaw couplings are available to serve different application requirements. (113. These wrap-around spiders require a circular collar around the coupling's circumference to prevent the elastomeric strip from being flung off by centrifugal force. and torque up to 1. Standard hubs are used. completely change the way the jaw coupling functions. are similar to collar types except that wrap-around spider is held in place with a Spiralox retaining ring that snaps into a groove that is molded into the spider's perimeter. Such elements usually take the form of a linear spider in which the legs are molded into a single strip of elastomeric material that is wrapped around the assembled coupling so that the legs drop into the spaces between intermeshed jaws. and a "curved jaw" type. block. These spiders are axially twice as wide as standard spiders for straight sided jaw hubs. This version is only available in NBR spider material and the maximum speed is 1750 RPM. and municipal or irrigation pumps. Neither sintered iron nor cast iron can be welded to by normal methods. so instead of allowing the jaws of both hubs to intermesh in the same plane. (Materials discussed later. oval. Common applications include compressors. Ring-in-groove types. Straight-Side Type Straight-side jaw couplings are available in sizes with bore capacities from 1/8" (4mm) up to 2-7/8" (73mm). while larger sizes are cast iron hubs. The ring is removed easily with needle-nose pliers. The compression block types serve heavy-duty applications that require shaft size and/or torque ratings beyond the capability of standard Jaw couplings.
rubber-based spiders are more resilient and better for cyclic loading and misalignment capabilities. There are no fasteners to worry about either since the retaining ring slides into grooves in the spider. Generally these are advantageous when the application requires a firmer grip on the shaft than is provided with clearance (slip fit) bores and one or two set screws. The elastomer spider determines those ratings. The primary benefits are (1) simplified maintenance (2) non-failsafe operation (3) greater angular misalignment capacity of 2°. 1.transmit torque through a combination of shear and compression method. The use of clamped hubs or bushings with couplings is common. This coupling should only be used for electric motor driven applications.a. This material will allow the Jaw coupling to experience a torsional wind-up at full torque load of 4°-10°.k. The torque and misalignment ratings do not change based upon the hub material. which locks into special grooves in the OD of the spider. Most sizes of NBR spiders are 80A-shore hardness and are black in color. In some applications customers will desire to weld the connection of the hub to the shaft. or equipment with high levels of vibration and shock loads. It offers the best combination of temperature and chemical resistance. It provides for a significantly lighter coupling if lower inertia is important. fans. mixers. motion control. Rubber has the best resiliency in bouncing back from deformations that occur in cyclic or heavy shock loads. for larger sizes. Generally. stubbier jaws and a special elastomer. When an application calls for better corrosion resistance than sintered or cast iron. One available design fits standard straight-sided jaw coupling hubs on the market which makes it an easy retrofit design. The spider is held in place with a floating stainless steel ring. but not the expense of stainless steel. Special Hub Materials and Designs Jaw coupling hubs are typically made of sintered iron or. NBR (Nitrile Butadiene Rubber) a. elastomeric technology was not what it is today. and (4) greater torsional softness. but achieves the same concept in features/benefits. Another version uses special hubs with many shorter. They are also economical to manufacture and use. Also referred to as "SOX" by some manufacturers. and pinholes are possible. sprocket or pulley to the diameter of the hub. Elastomer options When jaw couplings were invented. and spiders were originally made from natural materials such as leather. gear boxes. chemical resistance with the ability to be molded into complex shapes. . Light material hubs use the same spiders as the standard straight sided jaw. misalignment. most commonly centrifugal pumps. Special modifications such as clamped hubs. and damping ability. Neither can be welded to by normal methods. bushed hubs. including several nonrubber-based elastomers that offer light weight. Buna-N -. A wide array of materials are now available. depending on the coupling size. the jaw in-shear allows easy removal and replacement of the spider without disturbing the hubs. 303/316 stainless or 660/464 bronze are possible to meet those and other unique application requirements. extra long or shorter than standard hubs.is the standard and most economical material for jaw coupling spiders. Special materials such as 1018 steel. As with the collar and snap-wrap designs. or weld another component such as a shaft collar. and plastic extruding machines. Light Hubs: This category of the standard jaw coupling uses hubs made from aluminum or other light metals. aluminum is a good alternative. cast iron. Temperature range is -40°F (-40°C) to 212°F (100°C). while synthetic spiders make for torsionally stiffer couplings that can carry a more compressive load. This is the only material suitable for reciprocating engine applications. These include vertical drives.
This does not become a performance problem until the spider thickness is anything less than 75% of its original size. The intermeshing faces of a radial curvature. The shelf life is 10 years. HYTREL® increases the torque capacity of the jaw coupling approximately 2½ times versus the NBR with its higher compressiveload carrying ability. it should not be used in appli cations where cyclic loads. and should not be used in heavy cyclic or start/stop applications since the damping ability is limited. at which point it should be replaced. NYLON is a good electrical insulator. bronze is selected in salt water/marine applications. . This limits their selection in motion control/precision applications since increased free-play in the coupling results from the "set". 3. Urethane spiders typically are blue color and offer a shelf life of 5 years. Most commonly. or curved both axially and radially to follow the jaw face shape. The torque rating is the same as for Hytrel®. 7. The corresponding spider legs are crowned. frequent starts/stops. there is also another design that has wide acceptance. The torque rating is the same as for NBR and may be slightly derated depending on the application conditions. The in-shear spider is a slightly different type of urethane and is rated for -30°F (-34°C) to 200°F (93°C). These spiders are a tan or cream color with a 55D shore hardness. Angular misalign ment is only 1/2° versus the NBR and Urethane that are both 1°. or regular shocks and vibrations occur. 2.375 in-lbs. Curved Jaw Couplings While the straight jaw coupling is known around the world. and some oils-chemicals versus the NBR. It is three times more torsionally stiff than Hytrel® and can operate in temperatures ranging from -40°F (-40°C) to 300°F (149°C). This jaw coupling product is available in sizes covering bores from 5/32" up through 5-11/16" (145mm) and torque from 35 in-lbs. VITON® is a synthetic rubber that has a temperature range of -65°F to 450°F with a durometer of 75-85A scale. However. 4. since the coupling will prematurely wear from metal-to-metal contact otherwise. as with Urethane. giving them a concave or cupped shape. making them similar to a gear tooth in geometry. It is only to be used for slow speeds. It is generically referred to as the curved jaw coupling. BRONZE is not an elastomer. ultravio let. 6. but is one of the options available for those high temperature requirements (up to 450°F) which most other materials are not capable of. (7. This provides a built-in encapsulation of the spider legs by the hubs.Another attribute of natural rubber products used in compression is that they take a permanent "set" or loss of volume after just a short time in operation. and may be substituted where bronze is too noisy.500 Nm). This material provides the best chemical resistance as well as a temperature range of -60°F (-51°C) to 250°F (121°C). the main difference is in the geometry of the jaws and the corresponding spider legs. Shelf life of natural rubber elastomers is 5 years. It provides the high temperature capability of bronze with excellent chemical resistance. less than 250 RPM. URETHANE has a 1. holds up well under heavy continuous loading. 5. While the coupling still consists of two hubs and a spider in the center that is under compression. up to 66. ZYTEL® is a fiberglass reinforced compound with excellent resistance to most chemicals and corrosion. primarily in Europe and Asia. It holds up better to environmental conditions such as ozone.5 times greater torque capacity than NBR due to its greater compressive strength (either 40D or 55D shore hard ness is used) as well as better abrasion/wear characteristics. It is limited to 30°F (-34°C) to 160°F (71°C) temperatures however.
Each of the shore hardness numbers are color-coded for easy identification. Only when the coupling/spider Tkn and Tkmax ratings are both greater than the respective nominal and design torque (calculated for the application) do you have the proper size coupling. The hubs provide the shaft connection. have a de-rating factor that must be applied to their misalignment capability. And finally. Maximum torque Tkmax is a cyclic torque capability for 100. It is available in two-shore hardness (92-yellow and 98-red). Some manufacturers also offer Hytrel® as an alternate material as well. The damping capacity of the design is lessened under greater loads. The . block) cannot be used. The GS hubs are of similar geometry to the standard curved jaw hub except the jaws are slightly oversized to make the intermeshing of the three components a true interference fit. Special Considerations for Selection Because this coupling was designed in Europe. The overall length of the coupling is usually greater than the similar straight-sided jaw coupling. blue for 80-shore. this adds a lot of weight and still does not allow for a true drop-out section. First. often referred to as the "GS" style. Also available for curvedjaw applications is the No Backlash (NBL) spider. with the jaws pushed farther out toward the perimeter of the hub. which gives you a Nominal (Tkn) as well as Maximum (Tkmax) rating. All of the spiders are an Open Center Type (OCT). Some manufacturers also offer a special hub.000 reversing cycles. it means that the Service Factors are unique for the curved jaw coupling. white/yellow for 92-shore. It provides full zero backlash performance for motion control applications up to 10-25% of their rated torque. by encapsulating the spider legs. while rated for a maximum temperature of 212°F. depending on the size. it permits higher speed ratings compared with similar size straight-sided jaw couplings. It also extends angular misalignment capacity to 1. The type of sintered iron commonly used in the smaller sizes is much denser. The curved jaw design also results in some special limitations. it uses the DIN 740 rating methodology. The design characteristic's combine to allow larger maximum bores in most cases and to accommodate close "BSE" dimensions. three for similar sizes of straight-sided. There are independent factors which must be multiplied by the nominal torque of the application to arrive at the design torque. It only provides a true zero backlash up to 10% of the rated torque of the spider. This takes effect at any condition above 86°F. Spider types The standard material is urethane for all curved jaw spiders.3° for some sizes. This style can either be pre-assembled at the factory or assembled by the user with the aid of a lubricant since the components are so tightly fitted. Donut Shaped Elastomeric Couplings This style of coupling was developed in 1970 for use with diesel engines. and red for the 98/95-shore. This enables the spiders to have large open centers. thicker spider that can be used with the standard hubs to provide a snugger fit for those low backlash requirements. spacer couplings can only be achieved by using extended hub lengths. The urethane composition allows for a maximum temperature rating of 212°F (100°C) versus the 160°F upper limit for the L-type urethane. Due to encapsulation. This is simply a special. translating into heavier couplings. The urethane spiders. Nominal torque Tkn is the steady state design torque for the coupling.The jaw and spider curvature has two important benefits. radially removable spiders (wrap around. The donut shaped elastomeric coupling consists of a rubber donut fastened with cap screws to hubs. There are simply three different shore hardness which yield differing levels of torque capacity.000 cycles or 50. Most curved jaw hubs have four jaws vs. In terms of the selection process. for use with the NBL spiders.
The torque path alternates from one leg of the donut to the next. The elastomer carries the load in compression on alternate legs. The other hub is a flanged hub to which the donut is attached by axial fasteners. The torque path is from hub to insert to elastomer to insert to hub. The donut is fastened to the inner or cylindrical hub by radial fasteners. The elastomer donut is precompressed between the fasteners to make certain that the torque is always transferred in a compression mode. The shaft connections are flanged hubs drilled to hold the bushing or the threaded end. When the temperature increases the coupling must be derated. These couplings when constructed of rubber exhibit a quality of hystersis. but is torsionally less resilient. Pin & Bushing Type Couplings Pin & Bushing couplings transmit torque through cylindrical or barrel shaped metal pins that are enclosed in elastomeric bushings. The inserts are all devised to use radial cap screws to fasten the elastomeric element to alternating hubs. They do not have to be round. Donut couplings that use the cylinder and flange hub system have bore limits on the cylindrical hubs compared to other couplings of similar torque capabilities. This design is not available with flywheel plates or stiff elastomer materials. Metal inserts (either aluminum or steel) are bonded into the elastomer and provide a durable material through which the fasteners attach to the hubs. Once again the attachment alternates from one hub to the other. Elastomers for Donut Type Couplings The base elastomer is a natural rubber with binders. The fasteners are tightened to make a high friction joint and avoid loading the bolts in shear. It can be done with the bushings all in one flanged hub or they can be alternated from side to side. Donut couplings can have one hub that is smaller than the other to fit inside the donut.elastomer mounts in between the hubs to transmit the torque and allow misalignment. By preloading the donut any tensile forces merely relieve the compression and do not put the unit into a tensile loadcarrying situation. The change in material may require the coupling design to change in order to accommodate the fastening of the Donut coupling with all bolts axial elastomer to the metal hub. Torque is also transmitted by the friction between the bolt sleeve inserts and the hubs. Alternate elastomers include Hytrel® and Zytel®. Each is considerably more stiff than rubber. The change in materials will mean an increase in normal torque capability. This one does not have the flywheel plate option or material options for the element. Donut type couplings can handle a load in either direction as the load shifts to alternate legs still in compression. There is windup in elastomeric couplings. The elastomer uses metal inserts that transfer torque by friction between the metal inserts and the metal hubs then through the elastomer to the next set of fasteners attached to the other hub. That quality enables the coupling to dampen the vibration energy that passes through the coupling. Torque is carried by an elastomer in compression and is transferred to the hub via metal tabs inserted in the rubber. It is suitable to about 190°F temperature before it loses strength. Donuts can have a square. It is called the cylindrical hub. The elastomeric bushing covers one half the pin while the other half has stepped diameters with a threaded end. The formulations of this elastomer are identified by the shore hardness. but the fasteners are all axial. Even more importantly the donut can accommodate alternating loads and cyclic loads without backlash. The elastomer is stronger in compression than in tension. Another design has spider shaped hubs with arms that are at the same diameter as the bolt circle within the donut. rectangular. Each successively harder rubber carries more torque. . octagonal or other cross-section design. One way to eliminate the cylindrical hub limitations is to use a wraparound type of elastomer.
The pin and bushing coupling are high capacity vs. • Where shafts are closely coupled (i.e. • Where the motor and pump are on a common base plate but there is no pump mounting bracket involved. the shear type donut coupling will work well on electric motor driven applications with uniform loads such as. screw compressors. blowers and fans. or urethane type materials. A nut is attached to the threads to hold the bushing in place during operation. Much like a jaw coupling. Hubs are cast iron. so the torque is transmitted through the twisting of the elastomeric sleeve. However. and the type of elastomer. the original bushing type. a "non-piloted" pump application. or the bearings are light duty. minimal BE dimension). Thus it provides the "fusible link" protection characteristic of in-shear couplings. 2. 2 flanges and 1 sleeve. spool-shaped. or "pop out"). The elastomer cushions shock loads and compensates for misalignment. centrifugal pumps.e. number of pins. • Where shafts are relatively small for the torque loads. and the coupling needs to tolerate the drift. They are designed to make it easy to replace the pins and bushings which are the wearing components. in particular the ANSI chemical process pump segment. Pin and bushing couplings are non-lubricated. steel or stainless steel. it is radially very soft and produces very little reactionary load on bearings and shafts when misaligned. their size. A strong following was built up which continues to this day. Viton®. The bushing can both wear and fatigue from usage. Pins are steel or stainless steel. the shear type donut is simple in design. round-off the teeth. versus the 6 or 7 times for a jaw coupling. i. The shear type donut coupling (sometimes called a sleeve type) was marketed heavily to the pump industry. misalignment will shorten sleeve life. Shear Loaded Designs Shear-Type Donut (Sleeve) The original patent on this design was issued in the late 1950's. This puts the element in-shear between the two flanges. The shear type donut style coupling is best suited in the following applications: • Where system alignment may be hard to maintain over a period of time. • The sleeve has a large open center. some conveyors. There are several features to this coupling which translate into tangible benefits to the user: • Because this design is double-engagement. • The torque overload capacity of this coupling is only 3 or 4 times the rated torque (the point at which the sleeve will tear. which mate with corresponding serrations molded into both hub flanges. • The torsionally soft design of an in-shear elastomer helps to dampen out most peak overloads and prevent vibratory torque from going back to the driver. Elastomers can be rubber. line shafts. which allows close positioning of the shafts. The capacity or torque capability is directly related to the bolt circle diameter. and vacuum . Pin and bushing couplings are inherently fail-safe with the pins continuing to transmit torque when the bushing is worn. The elastomers are compressed into the holes and may have a shape that permits easy installation. The sleeve (a short. A standard coupling is composed of three components.The bushing is inserted into a cylindrical hole while the threaded and stepped end is inserted into a stepped hole with counter bores on either side. tubular element) has serrations molded around the perimeter of each end. In general.
and can be used with all sleeve materials. compressors or pumps are involved. Care should be taken however. The sleeve teeth will wear prematurely due to the rubbing action against the flange if too lightly loaded. Due to the torque limits of the bushing. The first way is from the serration side (rear) or from the same side of the flange as the shaft is inserted initially (front). that shear type donut couplings are not used under the following conditions: • Where loads have high-inertia. the J-type is available only in four smaller sizes 3 through 6. The use of a bushing limits the bore capacity of the coupling. As with the Bflanges. so components from different manufacturers may not always fit together properly. with smaller bore models cast in zinc alloy and larger bore models in cast iron. which allows greater through-the-bore shaft engagement. the T-type is a standard flange modified to accept another industry style of bushing. • Where the coupling will operate regularly at less than 25% of its rated torque. Characterized by extra cast-in thickness projecting from the inner face of the hub. Shear type donut couplings do not respond well to torsional vibrations. Btype flanges cannot be used with higher torque sleeves. components. or where overloads/spikes are expected to be greater than 2X nominal ratings. There are five manufacturers of this design. all limited to the lower torque sleeve materials (discussed later). the T-type cannot be used with high torque sleeves due to the limits of the bushing ratings. how tight or loose they want the fit between components to be). serrations in sleeve ends and hub flanges must mate. However. E. these flanges are separable from their shaft-mounted hubs by removal of four hex-head cap screws axially installed through each hub. if they use bushings on other P.pumps. economical flange. J-type A basic. There are two ways to mount the bushing to the flange. and the state of wear of the tooling that produces the sleeves and flanges. It can also simplify the stock room of many users. SC-type Intended primarily for pump applications. Mixing of components from different manufacturers must be avoided if at all possible. S-type Provides a greater variety of sizes. Offered in sizes 6B through 16B. This can be a concern particularly with the Hytrel® sleeves since they have such high ratings. with all flanges made of cast iron. B-type This flange is modified to accept an industry-standard bushing. All produce their product to be fully interchangeable.e. especially if they produce variable torque loads. D. This is due to the tolerance that is built into each company's initial design criterion (i.T. from 5S to 16S. This enables the flange-and-sleeve assembly to drop out so routine pump maintenance can be performed without disturbing pump or motor mounting and . but provides a better grip on the shaft. B. • Where reciprocating engines. C. Flange designs A. S-type flanges allow larger bores than available with J-type flanges. T-type Similar to the B-type for on industry standard bushing.
Furthering the similarity.14. available in sizes 3 to 10 for JE. It only twists to about 7° at full torque.010" up to . Slippage of the coupling may be expected to occur at about four times the rated torque. and 3 to 8 for JN. SC type flanges and hubs can also be used in combination with other flanged hubs to create a halfspacer coupling. It has the highest temperature rating (275°F/135°C) of the sleeves available. It carries four times the torque of the EPDM/Neoprene® materials but is limited to ¼° angular misalignment and parallel misalignment from . The E sleeve is available for size 5 . Neoprene® sleeves have angular misalignment of 1° with parallel misalignment ranging from . which also can twist as much as 15° at full torque. but is rated only for a max. It is a rubber-like compound that allows the sleeve to twist as much as 15° at full torque. B. For Hytrel®. The Hytrel® material is orange in color.16 couplings. which grip the coupling's hollow. and dozens of other non-standard shaft separations as well. Various sizes for Spacer Flanges and Spacer Hubs can be mixed/matched to provide ANSI standard separations of 3-1/2". As with EPDM. tire coupling elements usually are rubber derivative elastomers with layers of cord. temperature of 200°F(93°C).010" (size 3 coupling) to . such as nylon. vulcanized into the tire shape. They are the least expensive of the rubber sleeves. this design consists of two flanged hubs equipped with clamping plates. They are available in the same sizes as the JE and JN sleeves. Clamped Elastomer in Shear Couplings Corded tire types This design came about in the late 1950's as a solution for dealing with transient torque peaks and shock loads in diesel-driven pumps. 5" and 7". HS for sizes 6 . The HS (Hytrel®) is such a rigid material that the ring is not necessary. especially to oil. They are used for applications where the shafts are positioned closely together and the sleeve must be "peeled away" for replacement. in coupling sizes 5 through 14.062" (size 16). Elastomer (Sleeve) Types A. The coupling transmits torque through the friction of the clamp applied to the inner rims of the tire and a shearing of the element. The two significant limitations to the corded tire type coupling are speed and space constraints. It provides good resistance to most commonly found chemicals and is not affected by dirt or moisture.alignment. Two-Piece Split sleeve are made up of two completely separated halves. The color of the sleeve is black with a shiny finish and a green dot for easy identification. Neoprene® sleeves. by its inner rims. . Any of the available sleeve materials can be used. Materials EPDM is the standard material used. they are available in sizes 6 to 12. and H (Hytrel®) types.14. ring-shaped element. Named for their resemblance to an auto tire. Sleeve Designs One-Piece Solid sleeves are identified by material as JE (EPDM). This design provides the greatest ease of installation and replacement. the coupling exerts axial forces on the shafts due to the centrifugal forces working on the elastomer. As speed increases. offer better chemical resistance than EPDM. Sleeves have angular misalignment capability of 1° and parallel misalignment ranging from .062" . JN (Neoprene®).035" for size 14 couplings. the N sleeve for sizes 5 .010" (size 6) up to . a retaining ring is used to prevent the sleeve from bowing outward or being flung off under speed. For the E (EPDM) and N (Neoprene®) styles. One-Piece Split sleeves are identified by material as the JES (EPDM) and JNS (Neoprene®) types. HYTREL® is a polyester elastomer designed for high torque and excellent chemical resistance. This sleeve is a dull black color.
It has proven to be ideal in applications such as pumps. blowers. mixers. The design offers advantages such as radial removal of the element halves. This coupling is offered in spacer designs as well as with hubs which can accept bushings. and it is loaded in shear rather than in compression. crushers. it can span greater BSE lengths than most in-compression couplings. Thein-shear spider then is twice the axial width of a standard spider. High radial softness accommodates angular misalignment up to 4° and parallel offset up to 1/8". The design utilizes a urethane material that is bonded to two half-circle metal rings (a.k. and shock load cushioning. and it also has the large opening in the center of the tire to allow complete flexibility in positioning shaft ends. Combination Shear & Compression Loaded Designs Jaw with Elastomer In-Shear Another design of elastomeric jaw coupling completely changes the way the jaw coupling functions. depending on its size. The outside diameter (OD) of this design is also smaller than the Corded Tire type for similar shaft and torque capacities. Hubs can also be reversed in their mounting orientation to further add to the BSE permutations possible. but it reduces the misalignment capacity by 50%. the use of an in-shear spider pushes the hubs apart and aligns the jaws of each hub along the same axial plane. The corded tire coupling is torsionally soft and can dampen vibration. Instead of the jaws of the hubs interlocking. Bonded Urethane Tire This design was first marketed in the 1970's and has found success primarily in the process pump industry because of several features that the corded tire lacks. thus overcoming the centrifugal forces at speed. high angular misalignment capability (4°). Limitations of the urethane tire type include the large number of fasteners required for installation and removal of the elastomer. Rare among elastomeric couplings is its capability to allow a certain amount of axial shaft movement. screw compressors. • Radial removable spider • In-Shear design for non-failsafe operation • No metal-to-metal contact should the elastomer fail • No need for tools to install or replace the elastomer . and the fatigue of the element and the bond between steel and elastomer under torsional vibrations. A design variation includes an inverted tire coupling in which the tire element arcs inward toward the axis. Torque is transmitted from the hubs through the shoes/bonded joint and then the shear-plane of the split urethane tire. In its standard close coupled configuration. and general power transmission drives. Spacer couplings are achieved by using the same shaft hubs and simply extending the lengths of the steel shoes onto which the elastomer is bonded.And the geometry of the tire itself makes for a large outside diameter for its torque capability.a. These properties give corded tire designs a wide variety of applications including those driven by internal combustion engines. "shoes") which are then bolted to the two hubs. A heavy duty elastomer option (25% more torque) is available. 3. This affords 10-30% higher RPM service. Bushings are also commonly used on this style of coupling. This spider provides certain features different from common jaw couplings.
Speed capabilities under light loads can reach 5000 RPM. set screw or a clamped type split hub. The limits are imposed because the hub tooth to sleeve tooth friction eventually exceeds the elastomers inherent lubrication capability. For torque capabilities refer to the manufacturers catalogs as the torque is tied to the speed rating as much as to the physical properties of the coupling.• Non-lubrication benefit of an elastomeric coupling • 2° angular misalignment A floating ring encases the outside of the spider and locks into special grooves on its OD. but there could be other sources. All of the couplings described in the elastomeric section of the handbook have been used on torsional service with varying degrees of success. This coupling should only be selected for electric motor driven applications. The torsional vibration travels through the coupling to the connected equipment. The most common ones include centrifugal pumps. The coupling consists of a molded nylon continuous sleeve with internal gear teeth that match gear teeth on the periphery of a metal hub. The coupling configuration permits vertical and blind assembly when needed. Urethane is the most common elastomer material available. Couplings The primary torsional coupling uses a resilient elastomer as the flexing medium. pump sets and other light to medium duty industrial applications. misalignment to 5° and ambient temperature to 150 °F. mixers. The combination of molded sleeves and powdered metal pressed hubs are a very economical coupling combination. however like all clearance fit couplings some versions are available to 4 inches bore. 4. A discussion of torsional systems and vibrations are included in the Applications section of this handbook. The primary source of those vibrations are diesel engines. The nylon sleeve has high torsional stiffness and is resistant to chemical attack. Torque ratings and service factors are unique for this version of a jaw coupling. . Backlash is designed to be at a minimum in this style of coupling. They are limited in torque. Nylon sleeve couplings are used for motor/generator sets. The elastomeric types described in the following section are the couplings with the best attributes for torsional service. There are several designs on the market. gearboxes. The hub tooth is crowned to obtain the misalignment capability. and torque/load carrying strengths. with only one manufacturer offering the benefit that this special in-shear spider is used with regular jaw coupling hubs. The metal hubs are made from steel bar stock or powdered metal. It has a combination of durability. The hubs are mounted on the shaft with the traditional clearance fit key. Misalignment capability varies from 1° to as much as 5° depending on the manufacturer. The advantage of this type of sleeve material is the no lubrication feature. except the sleeve is made from a slippery elastomeric material. Often they are used on the front power take-off of internal combustion engines because they are small and lightweight. same as for the in compression design. Gear with Elastomer This is a gear coupling like the continuous sleeve gear coupling. speed and size. chemical resistance. The hubs are held in the sleeve by spiral rings. Torsional Couplings Several designs of couplings were developed to solve the problem of damping torsional vibration. fans. The bore capability is usually less than 2 inches for the popular sizes. The vibrations can damage both the connected equipment and the coupling itself. and plastic extruding machines.
Sharp corners are usually avoided in the torsional designs to reduce stress concentrations. Each successively harder rubber carries more torque. It is suitable to about 190°F temperature before it loses strength.The elastomer shape used in the coupling is very important for damping and damping is an important attribute for the torsional coupling. Torsionally soft couplings are those units that have a ratio of dynamic torsional stiffness to nominal torque of less than 30. but is torsionally less resilient. The hubs provide the shaft connection. The elastomer is stronger in compression than in tension. In such a case a flywheel plate replaces the flanged hub. Donut couplings have one hub that is smaller than the other to fit inside the donut. Each of the values are different. The formulations of this elastomer are identified by the shore hardness. It is called the cylindrical hub. The donut can accommodate alternating loads and cyclic loads without backlash. The elastomer uses metal inserts that transfer torque by friction between the metal inserts and the metal hubs then through the elastomer to the next set of fasteners attached to the other hub. the elastomer mounts in between the hubs to transmit the torque and allow misalignment. They do not have to be round. and spheres. The coupling is configured to dissipate heat that is generated by hysteresis. The flywheel plate is drilled to match various SAE designated or DIN designated flywheel dimensions. Non resilient couplings or stiff torsional couplings are used for low inertia. In addition. Elastomers for Donut Type couplings The base elastomer is a natural rubber with binders. Donut type couplings can handle a load in either direction as the load shifts to alternate legs still in compression. The fasteners are tightened so make a high friction joint to avoid loading the bolts in shear. Donut couplings that use the cylinder and flange hub system have bore limits on the cylindrical hubs compared to other couplings of similar torque capabilities. Metal inserts (either aluminum or steel) are bonded into the elastomer and provide a durable material through which the fasteners attach to the hubs. The other hub is a flanged hub to which the donut is attached by axial fasteners. There are also non-resilient elastomers used for torsional couplings. toruses. diesel driven equipment. the maximum torque is limited to a specific number of cycles. The most successful shapes are radially loaded cylinders. a nominal torque. octagonal or other cross-section design. and a vibratory torque. Some metallic couplings were designed with the diesel in mind. Donuts can have a square. The donut style elastomeric coupling is primarily used on torsional damping and tuning systems associated with Diesel drivers. One notable one is the grid coupling described in its own section of this handbook. It is also rated for a maximum torque. By preloading the donut. Donut Shaped Elastomeric Couplings The donut shaped elastomeric coupling consists of a rubber donut fastened with cap screws to hubs. The elastomer donut is precompressed between the fasteners to make certain that the torque is always transferred in a compression mode. the thickness may be much larger than found in conventional elastomeric couplings. There is windup in elastomeric couplings. any tensile forces merely relieves the compression and does not put the unit into a tensile load-carrying situation. The resiliency and the torsional softness of the coupling are used to judge the coupling's ability in torsional systems. That quality enables the coupling to dampen the vibration energy that passes through the coupling. The donut is fastened to the inner or cylindrical hub by radial fasteners. rectangular. When the temperature increases the coupling must be derated. The variations allow the application engineer to tune the system for critical speed as well as torsional . These couplings when constructed of rubber exhibit a quality of hystersis. The torque path alternates from one leg of the donut to the next.
damping will occur without damage to the coupling elastomer. There are two basic types and both use an elastomer element in-shear. The change in materials will mean an increase in normal torque capability. The energy is in turn is lost in heat generation. A popular application for this coupling is the diesel driven generator. The ideal shape for the elastomer is a cylinder. Alternate elastomers include Hytrel® and Zytel®. The hubs can be a casting of iron or bar stock or a forging of steel. As with other rubber couplings there are several elastomer variations that are identified by the shore hardness. Hystersis. The increase in stiffness changes the unit from torsionally soft to torsionally stiff. and as a result the tuned critical moves from a value below operating speed to one above operating speed. Torsional stiffness ratio for these units is in the medium range. An example of a lower horsepower application is the electric motor driven reciprocating compressor. Alternatives use rounded-off rectangular shapes. Loading at the inner ring and outer teeth is .vibration damping. The outer ring OD is configured to bolt to a diesel engine flywheel. and special hubs for connecting to U-Joint shafting. Elastomer Block Compression Couplings This type of coupling is similar to the jaw coupling in that torque is transferred from one hub to the other by compressing captured rubber blocks. There are several varieties of these couplings. Another common application is the synchronous motor driven compressor. If the heat builds up in the elastomeric element it will fail or melt down. Variations include the shape of the elastomer blocks and the type of elastomer. A very soft unit would either not have the torque capability or would have to be dimensionally too big to get the torque capability. Obviously the large size carries a very high torque that is associated with the large generator sets and ship propulsion. Both of these applications are very high horsepower units. The first type of bonded elastomer in-shear coupling is a rubber disk bonded to an inner (or driven) metal ring. These couplings have a very low torsional stiffness ratio. bolted straight bore cylindrical hubs. The coupling is used for both shaft-to-shaft connections as well as shaft-to-flywheel connections. low.000. They are used with the largest of diesel engines and small ones when extremely low torsional stiffness is needed. Bonded Elastomer in Shear Couplings This coupling was developed in 1980 for diesel flywheel applications. The circular metal ring is cast aluminum to keep the weight. The normal torque capability of these couplings range from 900 inch-pounds to more than 1. Refer to the chapter on torsional applications for more information on critical speeds and damping requirements. and therefore the inertia. The couplings can be configured with elements in series to reduce the torsional stiffness even more. The higher the "shore" number ithe stiffer the torsionaly coupling is. Each is considerably more stiff than rubber. which is consistent with the application requirements. This style of torsional coupling is manufactured with OD's of 3 inches to several feet.000 inch-pounds depending on the size and type. in the range of 1. thus providing a large torsional angle and avoiding high stress in these areas. If the material is able to radiate or otherwise conduct the heat to a sink. allows the elastomeric material to adsorb dynamic energy. In this case the hubs consist of an external claw hub matched to an internal pocket hub that contains the elastomer. or in parallel to increase the torque capabilities. a characteristic exhibited by rubber with binders. The change in material may require the coupling design to change to accommodate the fastening of the elastomer to the metal hub.5 to 12. loaded radially. The outer diameter of the rubber disk is an external toothed form that slides into a circular metal ring with internal teeth. The rubber disk has a designed shape to ensure that equal stress occurs over most of its section. The inner ring can be combined with various hub types for fastening to a shaft. The types include tapered OD split hubs.
is dependant on the wear as well as the torsional loading cycles. One example is a diesel driven hydraulic pump for off-highway equipment. Both the OD and the thickness from side to side determine torque capability. Many times the switch to a torsionally stiffer elastomer is to tune the torsional system to a higher natural frequency. The ID may include plain bearings to carry minor radial and axial loads. link couplings. There is a wide variety of secondary couplings that are bolted to the side opposite the flywheel. The crowning accommodates a limited amount of angular misalignment while transferring torque from the element to the hub. There is no backlash in this style of element. there are some applications that require stiff elastomers. the ID. This is done on some diesel driven systems with light inertia loading. The elastomer is bonded to metal plates on each side. and one side are flat and perpendicular to each other. but could be a straight bore with key. The hub bore is usually a spline to match a standard hydraulic pump shaft. The coupling hub can have typical gear coupling teeth with crowning or can have four to six crowned dogs. Cardan shaft adapters and clutches have also been attached to the coupling. loaded in shear. They include gear coupling halves. The couplings can be of the compression type as described under the "Donut Shaped Elastomeric Coupling" section or can be a stiff elastomeric disc loaded in shear. The torsional stiffness ratio is above 100. Hubs are made from steel bar stock or from powdered metal. Jaw coupling. The plate on the flat side is configured to attach to a flywheel adapter or a shaft hub disk at the OD. Most of the elastomeric coupling types have an alternative stiff elastomeric material. Normally this is a high volume molded disk to make an economical coupling for small diesel production engines. The couplings are designed for attachment from a flywheel to a driven shaft. This style has a non-linear torsional stiffness. and disc plates. The second type of bonder elastomer in-shear is a four-sided closed ring of elastomer with a special cross sectional shape. The ID is designed to mate with a coupling hub in a sliding fit.240 inch pounds. The plate on the other side matches the conical shape and is configured to bolt to coupling hubs or half couplings at the ID. The disk is designed with boltholes on the periphery to match a flywheel-drilling pattern. The element could have some backlash in the tooth form at the periphery. has a torque capability up to 21. The stiff elastomeric disk. and unclamped donut in shear are sometimes supplied with Hytrel® or other stiff elastomers such as Zytel® or urethane. although normallyit it is a tight fit. The OD. . This coupling is a non-wear configuration and coupling life is dependent on the torsional damping and maximum load cycles. The stiff elastomer is used for greater torque capability without going to a larger size. donut shaped compression loaded.reduced below normally accepted levels by the design of those two areas. The torque load is carried from one side to the other via shear forces. Coupling life therefore. The secondary couplings provide misalignment capabilities not available from the primary torsional coupling. however there is torsional windup. The rubber element again has a designed shape to provide for equal stresses across the element. Stiff elastomers have less resilience and may restrict the angular misalignment capability to much lower values. The tooth area becomes a wear point when the coupling is misaligned. Shear loaded disks are molded of Zytel® or nylon with strengthening fibers. Torsionally stiff couplings for these applications are a significant coupling need. Torsionally Stiff Couplings (Flywheel) While torsional softness can be a benefit for elastomeric couplings. The element has a linear torsional stiffness. the fourth side is tapered from OD to ID in a conical shape. The load is carried in shear from its periphery to its center.
Minor diameter fits (where the tips of . vertical type. Their primary cause of failure is wear. Both toothed hubs fit inside the ends of a tubular sleeve that has matching gear teeth cut around its interior circumference. so torque transfers from the driving hub's teeth to the sleeve teeth and back to the driven hub's teeth. gear couplings use the meshing of gear teeth to transmit the torque and to provide for misalignment. Some users prefer this type. torque bore range than any other type. Metallic Couplings Metallic flexible element couplings use various metal alloys to achieve high power density. low speed high torque capability. This coupling type is often supplied with pump mounting plates and flywheel enclosures. They may even out last their connected equipment. In addition to contributing to the misalignment capabilities. As implied by the name. flex link.or through flexing/bending of a membrane (disc. the backlash provides space for the lubricant. They are easily modified for shear pin service. with each tooth extending axially the full length of the sleeve. or curving the surface of the hub teeth. maintains greater contact area between teeth during misalignment compared with standard crowning. bellows). and a wider size. and can perform at extremely high speeds. Gear couplings are more power intensive. shifter capability and spindle capability not found in other couplings. Backlash is the looseness-of-fit that results from gear teeth being narrower than the gaps between the teeth. While those latter items may be available on other couplings. That is called a major diameter fit. most prefer normal backlash. limited end float. While the hub and sleeve teeth are cut to fit loosely side to side. their primary cause of failure is fatigue. Those with moving parts generally are less expensive. Having the shaft hub slide into the flywheel attached elastomer does this. Generally. thereby reducing the pressure of torque forces. Membrane types are generally more expensive do not need lubrication and require little maintenance. those two surfaces rest upon each other if it is a horizontal installation. Some gear couplings have more backlash than others. and can have a brake drum or disc added. it is usually easier and less costly to modify the gear coupling. and major diameter fit. Note that crowning applies to hub teeth only. crowning on the tooth surfaces. Their flexibility is gained through either loose fitting parts which roll or slide against one another (gear. Gear couplings have axial slide capability. sleeve teeth are straight except for a chamfer on the minor diameter edge. and chamfers on the sharp edges. diaphragm. In addition. Vari-Crown.Crowning. Hub and sleeve teeth mesh. beam. The loose fit provides misalignment capability by allowing the sleeve to shift off-axis without binding against the hub teeth. Gear couplings achieve their misalignment capability through backlash in the teeth. insulated type. it prevents the sharp squared edges of the tooth from digging in and locking the coupling. grid. They can fail quickly (in a short cycle time) when overloaded. but need to be lubricated and maintained. They can be very long lived if kept within their load ratings. flank crowns. External gear teeth are cut on the circumference of the hub. They can do things that many other couplings cannot do. Lubricated Coupling Types Gear Couplings Gear-couplings are the king of coupling types. With all these advantages the gear coupling is used on twice as many applications versus the nearest competitor type. The crowning can include tip crowns. and reduces those stresses that cause wear. When the coupling is not rotating. floating shaft type. Gear couplings can also perform at extremely high rates of speed. further enhances this capability. This also helps improve tooth life by broadening the contact area along the "pitch line" (where the teeth mate and transfer torque). chain) -sometimes referred to as "mechanical flexing"-. they are cut to fit closely where the tip diameter of the hub teeth meet the root diameter of the gaps between the sleeve teeth. offer more modifications. can only do with difficulty or with expensive modifications and de-rating. so overloads generally shorten their life through increased wear rather than sudden failure.The torsionally stiff coupling for flywheel applications is designed for blind assembly. which varies the curvature radius along the tooth flank. Those with the least (roughly one-half of the backlash present in those with the most) are known as "minimum backlash" couplings.
matching dimensions include the interface only. with two flex planes in series flexing in opposite directions. bolt hole size. in which case the bolts simply provide enough clamping force to provide face friction. which allows them to be bolted together. It was noted earlier that gear couplings are power intensive. such as outside flange diameter. because bolts add potential points of unbalance and bolted connections can be another point of non-concentricity. based. This standard configuration is called "full flex" or "double engagement" coupling. many European manufacturers build to match the dimensions. Other designs could allow the bolts to carry the load in shear. because a close fit here would preclude suitable misalignment capability and torque transmission capability. allows for parallel (radial) misalignment of 0. The longer the sleeve (i. With that comes lower inertia values. When two halves of a flanged sleeve are bolted together. Flanged sleeve gear couplings built to American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA) dimensional standards will mate half-for-half with all other gear couplings made to those same standards. because each half has a flanged end. but those are in the minority. they give the gear coupling an angular misalignment capability of up to 1½° at each flex plane. Best designs have the power transmitted across the face by friction. or can be split laterally (radially) into two half sleeves. In addition the bolt bodies may provide the centering action to pilot the two halves of the coupling.S. It also allows the OEM designer more latitude to locate the coupling in small. flexing in the same direction. one on each hub. They can be sized to make sure that wear life is consistent with the rest of the machine design. In many cases the gear coupling has more torque capability than the shaft can transmit. However. or shrouded for safety reasons. Although length-through-bore of the hub is often identical as well. The absence of bolts is an advantage in high-speed applications. torque and bore capability are likely to be different and should be compared carefully. the greater the axial . Bolts can either be exposed. it provides the advantage of making the coupling lighter and smaller in diameter than comparably rated flange types. The resulting relatively small size of the gear coupling allows the addition of attachments without having the coupling grow to impracticable proportions. When both flex planes work together in series. which can be a weak point in some applications.e.the sleeve teeth meet the root diameter of the hub teeth) are purposely avoided. Because the continuous sleeve needs neither flanges nor bolts. That means more torque transmitted per pound of coupling weight and per cubic inch of space consumed than other couplings. The split version is termed a "flanged sleeve". with the advent of OSHA coupling-guard requirements.055 to 0. termed a "continuous sleeve". shrouding becomes unnecessary. The two types also have different windage loss and that affects high speed applications. which helps lighten motor load during start-up. but rarely to a catastrophic failure.165 inches in standard models with short sleeves. Bolt stress. one at each hub-to-sleeve gear mesh. Both cases require a proper analysis of the multiple loads on the bolts. and flange thickness. number of boltholes. the bolting becomes an important part of the power transmission path.Note that flange bolts are specially made for their purpose. and should never be replaced with common hardware-store bolts. is eliminated. However. Windage losses cause a heat generation inside the coupling guard. Coupling Configuration Sleeve Alternatives Gear coupling sleeves can be a single piece. drilled for bolt holes. bolt circle. The full-flex gear coupling. While AGMA standards are U. Flex Planes and Misalignment Capability Planes of flexibility ("flex planes") are those pivot points along the shaft-to-shaft connection where rigid components engage but can move independently of each other The standard gear coupling (two toothed hubs engaging opposite ends of the same rigid sleeve) has two flex planes. Gear couplings eventually wear. out-of-the-way places with confidence that it will be reliable.
"single-engagement" or sometimes "half couplings". they move from being the strongest element to being the weakest element. . spacer and spindle versions. If all teeth in the hub and sleeve are identical the maximum number will be in contact. In flanged type couplings. and it still is the standard.distance from one flex plane to the other). Most other loading on the coupling will not result in failed teeth. It proved to have problems with wear life and with reactionary loading on the machinery. the shear strength at the pitch line. and the Hertzian loading at the contact surface. Axial Displacement Gear couplings naturally accommodate axial (in-out) shaft movement better than other competing designs. The Gear Coupling Tooth The gear coupling tooth has evolved over many years. is not a full height tooth. this is accomplished by using a single-piece flanged hub with no teeth. The tooth strength is calculated as a bending moment at the root of the tooth. The additional strength of today's materials alleviates the need for 40° teeth and still provides low sliding friction. Where the spline is 50% height. they can be designed for up to 6° with reduced load capability and with accommodating grease seals. but can increase the friction loading too. for applications where parallel misalignment capability is unwanted. but if positioned at the far end of the machine. and specials are available for long sliding application. Various pressure angles were used that walked the line between life and strength. The strength of the gear tooth is the subject of many questions in determining the amount of load to be carried. like the spline tooth. Therefore initial tooth wear makes the coupling stronger. the greater the parallel misalignment. Severe misalignment that causes a lock up of the teeth will also result in premature failure. Thrust bearings can limit or prevent shaft movement at the coupling end. as in hot applications. The first gear couplings had straight teeth. All of these forces act concurrently. they can force the shaft movement back toward the coupling. The greatest parallel capability results from floating shaft. In continuous-sleeve couplings. Later improvements included tooth crowning that increased misalignment capability and coupling life. While gear couplings will normally provide from ½° to 1½° of angular misalignment per flex half. Eventually the 20° pressure angle tooth became the standard. As the teeth wear. The number of teeth in contact is a function of the true form of the teeth. Gear coupling teeth do not need full height because the torque load is carried at the pitch line of the tooth and many teeth are in contact with each other in the hub and the sleeve to carry the load. flex rigid designs are often useful in systems with three bearings or floating shafts. As the teeth wear into place the more teeth come into contact. The tooth is the strongest of all the elements of a gear coupling. Axial movement often results from thermal expansion/contraction of the shaft. The 40° pressure angle tooth was chosen for strength. as the rigid half. The amount of axial displacement the gear coupling can handle depends primarily on the length of the sleeve. a flex-rigid configuration is accomplished by mating the sleeve at the rigid end with a hub having straight teeth that fits into the sleeve like a spline shaft into a spline hub. Some 25° teeth are used to achieve added strength for special designs. Gear couplings can be configured with only one flex plane. Sometimes one flex-rigid coupling is used in series with another flex-rigid coupling at a distance to allow much more parallel misalignment. described later. While the full flex design is the most popular in gear couplings. because their hub teeth easily slide along their sleeve teeth with no effect on coupling operation or torque load capability. The gear coupling tooth. or a rotor seeking its magnetic centers (floating rotor). The original tooth form followed the spur gear form with modification. which greatly lengthen the distance between flex planes. bolted to a flexible half that uses a standard flanged sleeve with teeth and a standard hub with crowned teeth. the gear coupling tooth is about 80%. These are called "flex-rigid". and depended purely on backlash to achieve misalignment. The most likely failure mode of a gear coupling tooth is that which comes from wear rather than any other factor.
7 inches and others. Spacers are built to the standards of the rotating machinery builders.) When oil lubrication is used.e. cause the coupling to fail almost instantly. The Oring is the simplest. The seals can be held in place by several means. The sleeve to hub interface at the boundaries will need elastomer O-rings. gaskets. It would seem a simple enough task. Flange series couplings size 7 through 9 can be either the "HD" version or the plain version.Lubricant must always be available in the tooth mesh. The lack of lubricant will. An infinite number of possibilities can be obtained from catalog minimum to catalog maximum. One type of flange coupling uses a high misalignment seal with more flex than the regular seal. Misalignment may allow grease to leak out the seal surface. or labyrinths to prevent grease leakage. or some modifications may need a wiper seal rather than an Oring. Note this gap (BSE) does not always affect the distance between flex planes unless the hubs are reversed. but few are able to tolerate as great a variance as gear couplings can. 2. This is another reason why the gear coupling is very popular. but not all couplings offer flexibility doing that job. Sometimes the seal holder is bolted to the coupling sleeve. Fill the Space between Shafts Couplings often must fill a space between shafts as one of their primary attributes. (Note that O-ring material might limit the coupling's ambient temperature capability. Compressors could have a different set of standard spacers. but can be a batch lube in some applications. The tubular center section can have flanged ends for bolting to hub flanged sleeves. and makes replacement of seals easier. Spacers can serve to separate the flex planes and can be part of the torsional tuning of a coupling. The continuous sleeve coupling seal is held in place by a spiral ring. The "BSE" dimension is important for all couplings. The gear coupling is fitted together so as to prevent the lubricant from leaking. "BSE" Dimension The distance between shaft ends (BSE) will vary with different machine systems to accommodate design standards.different motor frames and maintenance needs. Use only coupling grease for best results. of course. It also provides the movement limit for the coupling and is actually rated to withstand an axial force. The seal has stiffeners molded into the inside face. Spacer Couplings Spacer couplings consist of two flexible hub and sleeve assemblies i. Pumps have several standard spacers such as 3½ inches. or toothed ends that mate with hubs using continuous sleeves. Gear couplings have the advantage of allowing a variable "BSE". 3. Remember that the coupling grease is not ordinary grease but is specially formulated so the oils do not separate from the soaps. The result is that the lubricant is contained within the needed space and sludge is not allowed to accumulate. product line alternatives. Oil lubrication is a special case. That variation can be achieved by machining the hub face or can be achieved by reversing one or both of the hubs. Oil and soaps separate in ordinary lubricants because of centrifugal forces on the heavier particles. These are connected by a tubular center section of various lengths that can easily be removed to allow space for removal of the hub or other components on one side of the system without disturbing the hub or component mountings on the other side. a half coupling on both the driving and driven shafts. It is a U or C shape that stays closed under load. This is always the case on couplings larger than size 9. it fits into a groove in the sleeve. It makes the assembly of the coupling to the shaft easier. All couplings have a certain "BSE" dimension variability. The couplings with bolt on seal carriers are designated heavy duty (HD). Most gear couplings are lubricated with grease. . Variations to Gear Couplings 1. A combination of facing and reversing is possible too. it is usually a continuous flow through the tooth mesh.
critical speed and deflection are interrelated. The secondary reason is to reach a long distance between the driver and the rotating equipment. it is stopped after moving a predetermined distance. If a Jordan is involved the amount of clamping movement is necessary to know. The Jordan coupling is a special variation that can move its hub relative to its shaft with a clamping mechanism. One is the minimum BSE and the other is the total amount of slide. Spindle Couplings . to accommodate the oversized center shaft. gear couplings can be arranged to slide great distances. That is a cross combination of events that eventually makes the spacer a poor choice. weight and critical speed. These are called limited end float couplings. either at rest or while in operation. The weight then reduces the critical speed. to serve applications where equipment must be temporarily removed from the system and the coupling is the most suitable point of movement. The rigid hub could also be placed on the outside to fit a shaft that is made larger than is necessary to carry torque. Limited End Float Couplings Gear couplings can be modified to allow shaft growth in the axial direction or to limit movement in the axial direction. Limiting the movement calls for a plate and possibly a button to be inserted between the coupling halves. Extra long sleeves enable the hub to slide 10 inches or more. as would be the case with bending problems.They have practical limits on length in regard to cost. 5. 6. As the tube gets longer. Weight and critical speed are important considerations for floating shafts. 4. Otherwise. Refiners. and roll winders found in paper mills utilize this sliding capability. Sliders In addition to thermal growth. As the shaft tries to move in the axial direction. 7. When the spacer becomes impractical. When the flex hub is on the center shaft it is called a marine style coupling. The couplings and center shaft are designed as a unit to suit their specific application. As the walls get thicker the cost grows more and so does the weight. taking advantage of the rigid hub's greater bore capability. The parameters include the usual torque and bore. Those are in addition to the usual gear coupling requirements. The same plates and buttons are used on vertical couplings as explained below. These issues may require a larger diameter center shaft to reduce deflection. They are necessary with sleeve bearing motors. When the flex hub is on the equipment shaft it is called a reduced moment style. They are found on bridge cranes and steel rolling mills. In that case the rigid hubs are on the floating shaft. the center shaft may need to be necked down (reduced) to fit a flex coupling hub. a design commonly found in larger sizes of 200 horsepower or more. the primary reason for a long floating shaft is to allow for greater radial misalignment between shafts. Jordan machines. Usually the coupling hubs on the equipment ends are rigid while the two center hubs connected to the floating shaft are flexible. but must include length and speed because. Two dimensions are important when considering the slider coupling. The center shaft would be smaller to carry torque only and thus fit the flex hub. The flanged hollow tube is machined to varying tolerances depending on speed and balance. deflection of the unsupported center section forces the cylinder walls to be made thicker. Floating Shafts Floating shaft couplings consist of flex rigid couplings on both driving and driven shafts connected by a piece of solid shafting between the couplings. While these two can be used to provide service spacing. the next step is to use a floating shaft coupling to achieve the necessary spacing. The floating shaft designer must always balance the effects of weight (which causes deflection) and diameter (which determines torque capacity and resists deflection but increases weight and cost). as in any spacer.
Special designs of hanging load gear couplings can provide misalignment capability. The spindle coupling uses the continuous sleeve principal to reduce the overall outer diameter. with no provision for misalignment. the entire center rotor is loose weight that needs to be supported by a plate in the upper coupling and a plate and button in the lower coupling. machined to standard brake sizes and clamped between the coupling's bolted flanged sleeves. cutout shifter. Modification for Special Needs Vertical Couplings Both continuous sleeve and flanged sleeve gear couplings can operate in the vertical position with the addition of a vertical kit. They are designed for high torque. It is not necessarily a high voltage insulator as found in wiring systems. the upper hub is fixed to the shaft as is the lower one. Possibilities include the shear pin. They use a special sleeve in which the teeth are interrupted at one end by a flat-bottomed annular groove. and helps prevent a permanent set in the shaft. The coupling manufacturer does not include the brake and actuator. which saves system space by eliminating a separate brake. Other Gear Coupling Special Configurations Gear couplings can be configured to do special jobs. The brake drum or disk is a piece of metal. Insulating Couplings Gear couplings can also be equipped to block galvanic (electrical) currents. . As indicated in the coupling name. where both outer hubs are rigid and inner hubs are flexible. Spindle couplings also have some slide capability to adjust to the installation or operational requirements of rolling mills. it is a rigid coupling with no teeth in either half. load is transferred to the lower shaft and ultimately supported by a thrust bearing in that equipment. A cutout pin (set screw) holds the sleeve in engaged or disengaged positions. When the sleeve is shifted axially to align the groove with the teeth of one hub that hub spins freely. Brake Drums and Brake Discs Gear couplings are easily modified for the attachment of a brake. A special vertical coupling is the rigid adjustable pump coupling. Therefore. disengaged from the torque transmission path. Shear pin couplings disconnect when subjected to predetermined torque overloads thus protecting other equipment. Brake wheel couplings are often attached near the gearbox shaft since high gear inertia is in the box. The entire rotor weight is hung from the motor or driver bearings. Since a gear coupling is normally a shrink or interference fit. which can cause pitting and corrosion at the close running fits of gear teeth and other mechanical components. Automatic cutout is available for temporary disconnect "on the fly" to allow adjustment of relative position between driving/driven halves. The button is rounded to allow the load to transfer under misalignment. or for a turning gear that rotates heavy equipment when it is off line. 8.Spindle couplings are special floating shaft gear couplings that are used in rolling mills. One half of the coupling is electrically insulated from the other half by adding insulating plates and bushings. and brake coupling. requiring longer bolts. shock loads. and high angular misalignment. Torque overloads could come from stalls or cyclic overloads. which is a limited end float plate or plate-and-button that supports the loose weights above the coupling. In other situations putting the brake at the coupling prevents the high cyclic torque from reaching low torque shafts. Cutout couplings allow the driving/driven halves to be disengaged without disassembling the coupling. In a vertical-floating shaft coupling. They have replaceable wear parts and customized accessories. This coupling is designed for use with vertical circulating pumps that need clearance adjustments in the impeller. They can be used on a dual drive machine to isolate the unused driver.
it is possible to calculate the mass displacement of each component. gear couplings are capable of very high speeds and high torque together.) Machine balancing results in adding or subtracting weight from the piece to counter the unbalanced weight and lessen the unbalance. manufacturing and remedial balancing machines. Flanged sleeves must have a concentric bolt circle as well as a proper hole size and location. The remaining unbalance of the part while on the balance machine is called the residual unbalance. The total mass displacement can then be called the potential unbalance of the coupling. Trapezoidal hubs have poor weight distribution and therefore unbalance. it flags the need to check the stopping torque requirements. the component design and the assembly process can result in an unbalance condition. When a coupling consists of an assembly. While high speeds increase the wear rate and can be the cause of high stresses within the coupling. the OD and at the pilot fits if any exist. depends on the amount of time that is available to stop or start. The total unbalance of the assembly at that point would depend on the distribution of the individual high points within the assembly. This means the gear teeth must be carefully cut with a pitch diameter concentric with the bore. two-plane balancing is needed. If the hub OD is not perfectly concentric with the hub bore the center of mass and center of rotation will be different. . The hub face must be perpendicular to the bore or to the hub OD. Coupling balance is achieved through design. That is controlled by the arbor or mandrel used on the hobbing machine and the concentricity of the pilot bore. there is always a potential unbalance. Single-plane or two-plane balancing is also a consideration. Off center bores. Flange-to-flange alignment before bolting will have a big effect on the balance of the assembled coupling. Refer to AGMA standard 9000-C90 for more on this subject. Each component or piece of the coupling could be subjected to a balancing procedure on a balancing machine. The coupling can be assembled after component balancing and left at that potential unbalance. Once the equipment is designed and the tolerances are established. out of round circumferences. Moderate and High Speed Applications As noted earlier. or greater in diameter. That leads to the next process. the bigger issue is balance. If it is not it becomes a trapezoid. If the coupling's width-to-diameter ratio is 1:1. See the section on torque for a torque formula. single-plane balancing is sufficient. non-parallel sides. If that weight is perfectly distributed around the center of rotation. the coupling is in balance. Since nothing is perfect in couplings. The mass displacement of each component is added algebraically by a method that is called the square root of the sum of the squares. Couplings operating at high RPM or high rim speed will cause vibration problems if they are not in balance. That total unbalance of the coupling could then be compared to recognized standards to see if it is acceptable. or even loose fits lead to mass displacement. like starting torque. Component & Assembly Balancing It is unlikely that calculation of the mass displacement would be sufficient to satisfy a high-speed specification. Stopping torque. (See chapter on balancing for more information. The worst case would be to end up with all heavy points in one quadrant. If width (axial dimension) is greater. Balance concerns itself with how the weight of the rotating mass or inertia is positioned or displaced relative to the center of rotation. The limits have always been the need for lubrication of the mating gear surfaces and the need for balance. Balance A full discussion of balance will be found in another section of this handbook so only a few issues that relate specifically to gear couplings will be referenced here. Sleeves must likewise be concentric with the hub bore at the pitch diameter.Whenever a brake is installed in the system. In castings some of the potential unbalance could come from voids or air space internal to the casting.
anything greater than 3000 RPM is high speed. Circulating oil has the advantage of constant renewal. Two important attributes of high-speed couplings are lightweight and low inertia.000 or 15. the coupling could be assembled and returned to the balance machine. Different applications have different definitions of high or low speed. Why should one worry so much about balance? The balance is critical on high-speed applications to prevent destructive vibration. carbonization. Coupling materials and hardening will be discussed more thoroughly a bit later in this chapter. A gear coupling is not easily assembly balanced. With these. Everything is built for speed. body fitted bolts and reamed holes in the flanges. AISI 4140 high alloy steel is used on high-speed units. After the coupling is balanced. is sprayed into the sleeve on one side of the teeth and drained from the sleeve on the other side of the teeth. but even with the circulation it is necessary to prevent sludge build-up in the coupling. unlike machinery rotors. Sludge will prevent oil from reaching the necessary surfaces that need lubrication. Hubs are attached to the shaft by hydraulic fits on a taper in the really high-speed units. Materials for High Speed Units While balance is most important to high speed gear couplings. will be affected by the concentricity run-out and bearing surfaces of the mandrels. In a marine type unit the gear teeth are on the spacer section not the hub section. High-speed machines are sensitive to overhung weights too. light and precise. Other methods might include an integral flange on the rotor that bolts up to a marine style spacer coupling. Iron carbides and carbon or other nitrides provide the surface hardness. Marine style refers to the tooth location not the application. all individual pieces are match marked before the coupling is disassembled so they can be reassembled exactly the same way on the users equipment. The material may be standard 4140 steel. but generally for couplings. Sometimes the need for maintainability or rigidity forces the coupling to be a marine type of spacer coupling. but then the two half couplings from the two different rotors must be joined together.000 rpm the torque required to reach those speeds quickly is substantial if inertia is allowed to be too high. A half coupling might be balanced on the equipment rotor. They are also made with ground bores. Anti-sludge features in a coupling prevent the build up by putting drains and dams in the passages. is not balanced on its own shaft. The coupling. The result would be called an assembly balanced coupling. Lubrication of High Speed Units High-speed couplings are lubricated with oil rather than grease. which is circulated through filters and coolers. For that reason extreme high-speed units utilize hardened teeth to extend the coupling life. That eliminates keys and keyways that could affect the balance. after the coupling is removed from the machine. First the coupling must be assembled with tight fits between the hub teeth and sleeve teeth so that loose parts will not fool the balancing machine. or nitride hardening. it must also be noted that high speed has the potential for high wear of the teeth. again with corrective adding or subtracting of weight. High Speed Gear Couplings Most high-speed gear couplings are spacer types. arbors and mounting devices of the balance machine. which means small. that would acknowledge the need for maintenance on the connected equipment. We mentioned that high-speed couplings are precision made to tight tolerances. Since the couplings are highly stressed the materials are magnetic particle inspected to make sure of the integrity of the piece. but it often has papers to prove its strength and chemical composition. . the teeth are relieved so the coupling can be installed in a system with possible misalignment. While AISI 1045 carbon steel is the most popular for gear couplings. This increases the overhung moment so a trade off is being made.For further reduction of unbalance. The oil. If the coupling is to be accelerated from zero to 10. However. this requires material that will be compatible with induction hardening. The final balance. The hardened tooth must retain its strength to carry the torque.
Grease-lubricated high-speed couplings are limited in their application possibilities. it is not enough for the true high-speed application. will resist separation of soaps and oils. Oil that is circulating is also cooled. Grease that is static would heat up from the rubbing friction at the high speeds. When using reduced keys. The induction method is popular as a hub removal method too. Keyways on clearance fit bores are a square cross section. Key sizes are matched to shaft sizes to ensure sufficient surface is available for the torque transfer. and may be either a loose or interference fit. Tapers and Mill Motor Bores . A temperature of 300° F to 350° F is sufficient to do the job. and does not make the alignment more difficult. but a popular number is . Metric bores are defined in ISO standards while English bores are defined in AGMA and ANSI standards.25 to 1. Again a square key is used. The interference fit installation is accomplished by heating the hub to the point where it expands enough to fit over the shaft. In all cases the objective is to have a joint that facilitates the transfer of torque from shaft to hub. Heating can be done in ovens. Metric keys are of the reduced or rectangular key variety. There are many combinations to the amount of interference. except low torque applications or some nylon sleeve applications. The loose fit does not provide sufficient restraint for the forces found in gear couplings. Simple conversions are not satisfactory because different bore dimensions are used. with a setscrew to hold the hub tight to the shaft and key to prevent wobble and fretting wear. and excess shrink or interference may split the hub.5 times the diameter of the bore. Interference (or Shrink) Fits The interference or shrink fit is the hub mounting choice in the majority of gear couplings. along with different tolerances and different formulas defining tight and loose fits. Those standards are also summarized in coupling manufacturers' catalogs. That ratio may vary in applications prone to high cyclic loads or sudden peaks in the torque from transitory conditions. The key also has a loose fit within the keyway. the length through bore for clearance fits is longer than that of other fits. is easy to install or remove. But. loose fits are not the first choice for gear couplings. half height or rectangular keys can be used to allow greater shaft diameters within the hub limits. known as shallow. Loose or clearance fit hubs use a keyway and a loose fit key to transmit torque. On large couplings and shafts two half-height keys are sometimes used to strengthen torque transmission. The key is the main means of torque transfer. Another problem with grease is temperature build up. oil baths or by induction. The key and setscrew also help if some cyclic loading is present. Clearance or Loose Fits Loose fits are easiest to manufacture and to install. so interference fits are used. Since that is the only means of transferring the torque. Interference fit hubs use a 1 to 1 ratio between the hub contact length and the shaft diameter. All are wider than they are tall. Excess heat may change the metallurgical properties of the hub. It utilizes a hub bore diameter that is slightly smaller than the shaft diameter under all tolerance combinations. Hub to Shaft Interface There are several methods to fasten the hub to the shaft. The interference fit hub has a straight bore with a keyway so the friction between shaft and hub and the key are not used to transmit torque. and most times a radius is included in the keyway and on the key to reduce stress concentrations.0005 inches per inch of shaft diameter. Even though grease labeled as "coupling type". Mounting the Gear Coupling in a Shaft System Metric Versus English Units The metric and English systems of size and tolerance were developed without a desire to interchange with each other. torque capability must be carefully assessed. Reduced keys. The preferred length is 1.
Bolts are designed for tension loading. This should always be checked. The continuous sleeve coupling provides a bolt-free method of transferring torque through a continuous cylinder of metal with the additional advantage of a smaller outside diameter. Balanced couplings may require weigh-balanced bolts. Removal also is accomplished by hydraulic pressure. Remember that the continuous sleeve coupling is not affected by any of the issues associated with bolting. To carry that method to the extreme one would drill and ream the boltholes at assembly and then match mark the two coupling halves. It is also the place where cyclic loads and peak loads can cause slippage or fretting damage. with a tight fit. This method achieves good torque transfer. It is an easy assembly or disassembly feature. the hub shrinks to the shaft.Two types of taper bores are also common on gear couplings. if the coupling is overloaded to the point of overcoming friction. To use the bolts as a pilot. Shrink fit and hydraulic fit hubs are the choice for the heavy torque applications. The hubs have oil grooves machined in the bore to facilitate the application of oil pressure. the bore capability and torque may both be different despite the fact that their flanges match and bolt together. Taper bore shaft hub combinations require a very complete match between the hub and shaft. In fact. as bolting can be a potential weak point. Sleeve to Sleeve Interface Interchangeability Gear couplings from size 1 to size 9 will match up half for half with other flange type gear couplings made to AGMA standard dimensions. This hub fits a standard mill motor shaft that has a like taper. One of the weak points in the power transmission train is the interface between hub and shaft. Since the bolts are loaded by several types of forces one must be sure the bolt threads are not in the shear plane between the flanges. When the pressure is removed. The shaft can have a nut or plate attached to the end for retention of the hub. In addition. The contact area of the hub bore to a gage acting as a shaft is measured in the manufacturing of the hubs to make sure a proper fit will be obtained when the hub is mounted on the shaft. and primarily serve the purpose of clamping the two flanges together to enable face friction to transfer torque. Other specifications could allow body fit bolts to carry the load in shear. it becomes a shear load on the bolts before becoming a coupling failure. The tightness of the fit contributes to a more secure connection for torque transmission. it does not assure matching torque capability or bore. Although friction is the main means of torque transfer. The body fit bolt has a tight fit to the bolt holes that keep the two halves concentric. As the hub slides up the shaft it forms a tight fit with the shaft. One type is the tapered and keyed mill motor bore. When a labyrinth seal coupling is matched to an O-ring-sealed coupling. although from an engineering standpoint the concept of carrying load on bolts in shear is not favored. while the dimensional standard ensures compatibility of the face to face match between sleeve flanges. A shaft end nut is used to hold it in place. Bolting will also affect and be affected by balance requirements. Standards have been established to use as a guide for percentage of contact. In this type there is no key. Alignment . the maximum outer diameter of the flange on flanged sleeve couplings is partially determined by the needs of space for bolts and surface for friction. The hub is expanded by hydraulic pressure and pushed up the shaft to a predetermined point. Another type of taper bore is the shallow taper hydraulic type. the boltholes must be drilled to a close tolerance or line reamed at assembly. However. Most designs use a friction basis for transferring the load across the face to face match of the two coupling halves. Bolts and Torque Flange bolting is important to coupling reliability. Tapered shafts of this type can be used with machinery other than mill motors. bolting can provide a means of piloting the two half couplings.
in that order. In addition to the keyway meeting the hub tooth or space. The mating flange must be drilled the same way so that when it is assembled the unit will be aligned or indexed. Indexing is done to a specified tolerance on the location of that alignment. Indexing Couplings Once in a while there is a call for an "indexing" coupling. but are chosen from a list of preferred numbers. when setting the alignment parameters. That can be achieved by piloted bolts or better achieved by pilot rings or rabbet fits. . The procedure on flanged sleeve couplings is more complex. The amount of interference varies by the designer's requirements. the torque rating of the coupling. to make this work. misalignment. The application description is also important to see if further investigation is needed. weight. refer to "Preferred Metric Limits and Fits" ANSI B4. As mentioned in the bolting section. Selecting Gear Couplings Gear coupling selection parameters include two very important items and many more secondary items. The actual shaft is the decimal equivalent of that number plus . To accomplish that.0005 or . so the coupling bore usually is smaller than the shaft size. Bore refers to the nominal shaft size where the coupling will be used. Preferred numbers can also be metric in origin. but a value of . Nominal sizes are not just any number. Of course. Torque in this case refers to the normal operating torque that the coupling must transmit. The most important items are the bore and torque capabilities.001 inches.2 1978 reaffirmed 1984. That type of coupling aligns two shafts in a rotational circular position that is the same each time. At this point.0005 inches per inch of bore diameter is often used. it is necessary for the two halves of flanged type to have some sort of piloting for best alignment practice. the gear coupling is usually okay for the service. machinery without high starting torque or stopping requirements can use bore size to select the coupling. the nominal torque requirements of the system times an application factor that could be used to select the coupling. For example smooth running. the hub keyway is cut to be in line with a tooth or a space. Additional indexing is accomplished with floating shaft couplings when the coupling on each end of the unit has a different number of teeth. etc. The second hub is cut the same way. inertia. Bore and Torque: First Pass Selection The gear coupling size in most cases will be determined by the nominal shaft size. Since continuous sleeve couplings do not have bolts. The indexing can then have a number of set points equal to the product of the two numbers of teeth. If the nominal shaft size is equal to or less than the published coupling bore capability. spacer length. "If it fits it is okay" is the gear coupling motto. Normal operating torque is used unless a peak or cyclic torque is known. The nominal shaft size is a mixed number of units and fractions that represent a specific diameter of shafting. more care must be taken. alignment is done hub face to hub face.Although alignment is covered in another section of this handbook.000 minus . That nominal number would also be the coupling bore with the actual size as a function of the class of fit. For details on shaft size for interference or clearance fits refer to AGMA 9002-A86. Always refer to the machinery specification's first. if metric is of interest. the gear coupling has some special alignment considerations that should be noted here. If it is a continuous-sleeve coupling. That is an inch series document. 1800 RPM. Gear couplings typically use interference fits. The alignment needs depend on the connected machinery and the speed of operation. If the application calls for peak torque or cyclic torque. the shaft keyway must also be aligned with a significant part of the machinery. not the coupling specifications. the continuous sleeve might be marked to identify the same tooth or space on both ends of the sleeve. This is part of our discussion is limited to inch numbers. The second step in gear coupling selection is to check the torque requirement of the application vs. The secondary items can include a whole host of things like speed. a bolthole on the flange also must be lined up with a tooth or space. High-speed operation always needs close alignment.
Other Considerations Bigger Than Size 7 There are several magic numbers when it comes to gear couplings. That means the coupling overall diameter will exceed sixty inches. but could be 9. Continuous sleeve coupling numbers are roughly equal to the maximum bore. crushers. Another source of Service Factors (application factors) is AGMA standard 922-A96. Stretching the Bore This subject is included to highlight the fact that it is not recommended. Speed Catalog ratings are often accompanied by speed limits in RPM. One is the size cut-off between big and small. Loosely. and provide a quick reference to guide selection of a coupling for torque. added functions are too expensive to build into the coupling and may be available as a separate device. That number is arbitrarily set at 7. and perhaps life. rubber processors or mine concentrators. The AGMA dimensional interchange goes to size 9 for gear couplings. It is possible to increase the RPM limit by balancing the coupling to minimize vibration. rectangular keys have another and metric has its own. the torque rating is nebulous. Service Factors Service factors (sometimes called Application Factors) are applied to the normal torque to account for variations that are typical of specific applications. That torque corresponds to 16. When extra shrink is requested. engineering should review the application.The normal or continuous operating torque of the system is that torque value that is required for design point operation on a continuous basis. heat treating. Do not mix them. When the coupling size reaches the double-digit numbers. Couplings are often re-rated based on improved materials. We should point out that large coupling bores are not always the ordinary bore and keyway because they may have special shapes and non-standard dimensions. Factors of Safety and Service Factors should not be confused with each other or interchanged. At this size. Torque limiters fall in the latter category as they replace shear pins. They are based on a combination of empirical data and experience. Not many applications go that far and when they do the situation is special or low speed. Gennerally. The gear coupling is the most power intensive coupling as it is designed.000 RPM. For an idea of how big the gear couplings can be made. the number of applications become very limited. big gear couplings are used on very low RPM and very high torque applications such as those found in the steel and aluminum rolling mills. Not many modifications are made to these large coupling sizes. and hardening. but the shaft to hub connection can be the weak point of the coupling. A size 7 gear coupling has a bore capability of nine or more inches (depends on key size too) and a torque of one million inch pounds. Stretching the limits can result in machinery failure as well as coupling failure. but once the size rises to 7 and above. Service Factor tables usually are provided in coupling catalogs. without going into the details of the application. or an over bore is requested for low torque applications. the number equates to half the pitch diameter for flanged sleeve couplings. Square keys have a maximum bore. Coupling ratings are sometimes listed as HP per 100 RPM. The weight of the coupling and the other pieces of the rotating system also may preclude the desire for modifications.000 horsepower at 1. The former is for design work and the latter is for applications work. but torque and horsepower can be derived from one another if the speed in RPM is also known. and will be different for different types of couplings. In reality the user and designer are trading wear life for torque rating. Never exceed the bore associated with the coupling size and the key type. the catalogs will show gear couplings up to size 30. The torque rating can be used as a peak load or cyclic high and not always as the normal operating torque. Balancing combined with special manufacturing tolerances can increase the speed even .
Alloy steel means elements other than carbon have been added to give additional properties to the steel. abbreviated as Bhn or Rc. increased clearance between sleeve and hub (makes the teeth look taller). Rapid cooling is called quenching. because gear couplings typically wear out under load rather than break. The process is to load the surface with iron carbides by exposure to carbon and heat or carbon nitrides and other nitrides by exposure to nitrogen and heat. The intent of these processes is to obtain a strong hard material that is ductile and tough. Misalignment All couplings have a misalignment limit. Modifications used to achieve high misalignment capability in gear couplings include increases in backlash (tooth gap). Hardening of steel can mean in-depth hardened or surface hardened. After the rapid cooling the steel has a very hard structure that may need further tempering or annealing to trade hardness for strength. expected properties of strength for gear couplings would require a range of 190-260 Bhn. and a torque de-rating. However. Heat-treating does not have to mean hardening of the steel although it is usually taken in that context. Hardness is measured in Brinnell units or Rockwell units. which is also called casehardening. modified grease seals. but that is expensive and usually done only when required for the food processing or the pulp and paper industry. The basic process in simple terms is that the steel is heated to a critical temperature held for a period of time and then rapidly cooled. That requires an additional process known as hardening. Materials of Construction Gear couplings are typically made of two common steels. and AISI 4140-alloy steel.more. Standard gear couplings use AISI 1045 steel. and lubricant breakdown. additional crowning. because it causes the hub and sleeve to rub harder against each other. Strength provides resistance to the impact and cyclic loads. High misalignment couplings may also have modifications to make coupling maintenance easier or less expensive such as replaceable wear surfaces. The standard gear coupling is capable of 1½° angular misalignment per mesh. For AISI 4140 the range would extend up to 300 Bhn in the higher strength versions of the steel. AISI 1045 carbon steel. The terms heat treatment. hardening. or nitriding. For AISI 1045 steel. It can be bar stock or forging depending on the size and the component. Heat-treating is the general description that includes variations of all the others. The heat is provided by a heat treating furnace and the other elements are provided by the atmosphere in the case of nitriding or by packing the piece in carbon in the case of carburizing. Steel can be treated in many ways to improve hardness and strength. Misalignment accelerates tooth wear. high misalignment limits can reduce the torque capability of the coupling. hardened wear surfaces. Sometimes high misalignment capability is sought for and limited to non-operational conditions. per mesh. case hardening. However. annealing. Gear couplings can be specified in 303 SS. Hardness is the key to improving wear resistance for longer life under increased friction from high speed or misalignment. 25° or more tooth pressure angles. quenching and tempering are used in conjunction with the materials. a perfectly balanced coupling will eventually have a speed limit set by stress. Couplings needing higher strength or hardness for greater wear resistance are made from AISI 4140 which also can be bar stock or forging. The base steel has to be suitable for the process. such as moving a shaft aside for maintenance. Specially designed gear couplings can push that limit to 6° or more. Tempering or annealing is heating to a temperature and then cooling at a predetermined rate that is slower than a quench. friction between the teeth. For wear resistance we want to increase the surface hardness to 50 Rc or better. Each of these terms represents a process that conditions the steel. The Rockwell Rc method of measurement is more popular on hardened surfaces of gear couplings while Bhn is used for overall hardness of a batch of steel. In the case of nitriding the end product retains the original .
The system is more expensive and usually needs two flex planes because two bearings on each shaft make shaft locations rigid. removing a large piece of equipment from an on-line position. the equipment designer can use a common size base plate for many different models of his equipment. The coupling can be selected by torque and bore with a minimum service factor. Three Bearing and Four Bearing Systems The weight of the coupling and any reactionary forces all act at the center of the flex plane and cause a bending moment on the equipment shaft. Sometimes the equipment has an electric motor for normal purposes and some other device like an internal combustion engine for emergency operation. As the gear coupling has some range in BSE. a three-bearing system has one bearing in the driven equipment and two bearings in the driver. Placing the flex point close to a bearing also helps keep the system stable. While these sound like applications for clutches. When the designer needs to span a long gap between driving and driven equipment (as when reaching up to a big-diameter roll. Three bearing systems are commonly found in motor generator sets. Save the Equipment from Torque Rotating equipment shafts are often oversized because they are designed to limit deflection. beyond these mentioned. which is more stable. The two bearing side of the equipment. Spacers The simplest application for a coupling is a pump. Standard Couplings vs. or wobble. where the output is a double shaft that drives a meshing pair of rolls or mixers that are part of a large machine. The drivers might be an electric motor for start-up and a steam turbine for running. When the coupling is placed close to a support bearing. usually in parallel misalignment. but in the case of carburizing the end product grows and needs to be ground if the original dimensions are to be held. Those issues plus a .dimensions. The gear coupling in many cases is less expensive and takes less space in the system than a clutch. pumps and compressors can have two separate drivers on the same piece of equipment. For the most part. compressor or centrifuge or the input side of a gearbox. such as a rolling mill. which can lead to oversize couplings. The one-bearing side of the equipment is given a rigid half coupling without a flex plane. a spacer is installed between the two flex halves of the coupling. which can harden steel surfaces. When the designer wants to make his equipment easier and cheaper to maintain. Gear Coupling Applications Reduced Moment. The process of hardening the surface of gear coupling teeth can extend the useful life of gear couplings. they also can be places where cut-out gear couplings might be the wiser choice. the close support reduces that bending moment arm and the coupling can be called a "reduced moment" coupling. The coupling connects the two shafts and the most complicated issue is usually the BSE dimension. The more common system is the four-bearing system with two bearings each in the driving and driven equipment. Other times the equipment sits idle but the driver runs. That occurs on co-generation applications where steam is available and the operator wants to conserve electricity or use the electricity for other purposes. is given a flexible half coupling. and a long-shaft situation such as bridge crane traction drives. Motors are sized as the next larger standard unit compared to the application requirements. Separating the Driver & Driven Rotating equipment such as fans. This arrangement is often used with pinion stands. Increasing the distance between flex point and bearing invites vibration. Reduced moments mean smaller loads and less wear on the equipment bearings. this type of system can only have angular misalignment. The torque requirement of this type of rotating equipment is usually a smooth curve from zero to full speed and does not have any cyclic content. It is a complex subject. There are many methods. or extending through a wall or bulkhead) a floating shaft is needed. With only one flex plane. These usually involve an electric motor drive mounted on the same base plate as the driven equipment.
Standard grid couplings can be used in vertical-axis drives without any modifications. In such systems. closely set teeth around each flange. which keeps them out of some applications. with the simple addition of a shear pin. It also keeps the grid spring from migrating out of the hub slots when misaligned. nesting in the slots. cranes. so a collar-type cover with seals and gaskets is used to hold the lubricating grease in place. engine flywheel adapters and clutches. therefore. can provide the same protection at much lower cost than many devices sold as torque limiters. their slots match. The gear coupling. Examples of the variations of grid couplings that are possible include floating shaft designs. mining equipment. thus reducing the magnitude of peak loads. more of the tooth comes into contact with the grid. The most common type of driver is an electric motor. The downside is that the grid coupling tends to be higher maintenance than an elastomeric type coupling due to its lubrication requirement.service factor can result in a drive system that has torque capability well in excess of the driven equipment needs. Pulp & Paper and Mining Industries. This is possible because of the progressive contact that occurs between the flexible grid and the curved profile (axial crowning) of the sides of the hub teeth. It also becomes a less expensive alternative where torque levels start to require comparably rated elastomeric couplings to be much larger. allowing the coupling to handle shock loads that occur within the system. spacer couplings. The Grid coupling teeth do not mesh between the hubs. Due to its high torque-to-outside diameter ratio the grid coupling may be used in applications where elastomeric couplings are too large to fit into the space constraints. The flexible nature of the grid absorbs impact energy by spreading it out over time. This design is characterized by two flanged hubs with slots cut axially into the perimeter of their flanges. The grid coupling excels in applications where an all-metal coupling is desired but moderate vibration damping is required. To prevent that. Many modifications or adaptations are possible for special applications. as long as the proper service factors are applied in sizing the coupling. The grid coupling typically competes with either elastomeric or gear couplings. a torque limit device is installed in the drive train. lesser misalignment capacity. disc brake couplings. . bulk material handling systems. As the load increases. However. high speed applications. which probably is needed in the system for other reasons anyway. Because the covers can be removed. torque spikes or overloads are easily passed to components that are not designed to withstand them and may be severely damaged. The resilience of the grid gives this design a damping capability that is typically not available with an all-metal coupling. compressors. gear boxes. Torque is transmitted from one hub to another through the grid spring. due to the rubber seals. and a single serpentine grid of spring steel is wrapped around both flanges so that the spring loops back and forth between the two hubs. Two cover designs will be described later. and installation time. mixers/agitators. Grid Spring Couplings Introduction The Grid coupling was designed in 1919 and has since found favor in applications involving pumps. worn or broken grids can be replaced easily without disturbing the positions of either driver or driven equipment. and fans/blowers. When the hubs are brought together. the ability of the grid coupling to damp vibrations allows it to be used with reciprocating engines (4 or more cylinders). Grid couplings are most popular in the Steel. Most designs have backlash or free play between the fit of the grid teeth and spring and are not suited for motion control applications. if the grid spring were to fail the coupling would no longer transmit torque. forming a ring of narrow. Lubrication is required. Temperature capacity is usually no greater than 220°F (120°C).
grid coupling manufacturers have kept their couplings directly interchangeable. Being an all-metal coupling the only purpose of the cover is to hold the necessary grease in place to provide proper lubrication. Additionally. It can be used in higher speed applications than the horizontal cover because of the cover shape. When using the vertical covers. The only real difference between manufacturers is the shape of the seal and gaskets. the hub teeth of the tapered grid style are stronger due to the base radii of the teeth. it is ideal for limited space applications. and this restricted misalignment will introduce fairly significant reactionary loads on the shafts. Vertical covers do not have the lug like the horizontal version. The straight grid design is the original style developed in 1919. which supports higher torque ratings than comparably sized straight grids. Therefore. Torque Transmission and Torsional Flex Accommodation of Misalignment and Axial Displacement Angular and parallel misalignment are restricted by the design of the covers and seals.571" depending on the size of the coupling. The horizontal cover avoids this mistake by allowing installation after the hubs and gaskets are in place. Maximum angular misalignment is ¼°. Grid Coupling Types There are two designs for the grid coupling: tapered grid and straight grid. the grid-groove design permits a rocking and sliding action of the grid and hubs without any loss of power through the resilient grid. in a wrap-around fashion. It is easy to overlook this installation sequence and force installed gaskets and hubs to be taken off again so the cover halves can be put in place. Parallel: The movement of the grid in the hub grooves accommodates parallel misalignment and still allows full functioning of the grid-groove action in damping out shock and vibration. It is believed that this has to do with installation and maintenance. Cover Styles The grid coupling is available with two different cover styles: horizontal and vertical. This allows for a smoother transmission from the grid teeth to the grid spring. In the 1950's. The vertical design splits the covers radially into two flanged circular halves. Both cover styles allow the coupling to be opened for service or grid replacement without disturbing the installation of driver or driven equipment. Spacer Type .198" to 0. so reversing applications can cause the covers to spin in the opposite direction of the hubs. The vertical cover is manufactured from stamped steel. it is well suited for reversing applications due to a lug that is molded into the inside of the cover. The horizontal cover is manufactured from die-cast aluminum. with one half pre-fitted over each hub from the shaft end and joined by bolts oriented axially around the perimeter of each half.To the users advantage. Maximum parallel misalignment ranges from 0. Angular:Under angular misalignment. it is required that you use the corresponding seal and gasket of the cover manufacturer. Also. Adequate clearance must be available to do so. The horizontal cover is typically the more popular cover. Do to it having a smaller outside diameter than the vertical cover for a comparably sized coupling. components of one can be used with another. the design was enhanced with a tapered grid. Vertical covers cannot be completely removed without demounting the hubs. Some manufacturers shot-blast the tooth area of the hubs to remove any burrs and sharp edges that may cut into the grid spring. If a different manufacturers seal and gasket are used. Maximum allowable end float ranges from 0. Horizontal covers are always required for spacer couplings. The horizontal design splits the cover axially so it can be installed or removed and replaced externally. Each manufacturer uses a different shape of seal and gasket that fits with their cover assembly. but for simple grid maintenance they are typically just moved back over the hubs.012" to 0. The lug fits in between the grid spring and does not allow the cover to spin in the opposite direction of the hubs. there is the possibility that a seal will not form and there could be loss of lubrication. For the most part. the covers have to be put on the shafts before the gaskets and hubs are installed. This is due to the sliding action of the grid spring on the hub grooves versus the twisting action of the straight grid. Axial:End float is permitted for both driving and driven members because the grid slides freely in the grooves.022" depending on the size of the coupling.The two halves are joined by bolts inserted in tangential orientation. If the cover were to spin it would break the seal between the seal and the hub and the lubrication could leak out.
compressing the surface molecules and leaving a residually stressed surface. The spacer hub is bolted to the shaft hub with four to twelve hex head cap screws depending on the size of the coupling. Half-spacer couplings are made possible by using a standard hub on one side and the spacer hub/shaft hub combination on the other side. the grid spring will fail at the curves of the grid. By removing these screws. has to do with misalignment. then hardened and tempered under controlled conditions. at high speeds and/or frequent reversing applications may require more frequent inspection. excessive moisture. The grid spacer coupling meets standard ANSI spacing requirements for pump disassembly. The grids are then shot-peened. but occurs even in correctly installed and aligned couplings if not given proper and sufficient lubrication. Examples of Failures There are three main causes of grid spring failure. If the driving equipment transmits more torque than the coupling can handle. The second mode of failure mimics the first mode. the grid seal will fail. This loss of lubrication will cause the grid spring to fail at the curves of the grid. The horizontal cover fits over the spacer hubs. alignment and the general condition of the grid and teeth every year. A coupling that is exposed to extreme temperatures. The user may not even realize that the grid spring has failed until they do maintenance on the coupling. etc. frequent reversals or grease leakage may require more frequent lubrication. The first. mode of failure. One of the benefits of the grid spacer coupling is that various components can be mixed/matched in combinations to achieve dozens of other shaft separations beyond the ANSI standards of 3 ½". without disturbing motor or pump mountings. Each half of the full spacer coupling uses a spacer hub/shaft hub combination. The third mode of failure has to do with an over-torque situation. It is recommended that the coupling covers be removed to check lubrication condition. When this situation occurs. The grid spring would need to be replaced immediately in order to continue operation. the center section of the coupling can be dropped out. When the grid coupling is misaligned beyond the specified catalog limits. The spacer allows the coupling to be opened up with a gap wide enough to let the pump casing be removed from the "wet end" of the pump for servicing of components such as the impeller. This is not a catastrophic failure and the grid coupling will continue to transmit torque. This process creates a stronger surface in compression. Routine Maintenance Adequate lubrication is essential to prolong the life of the grid coupling and to obtain trouble free service. The user may not even realize that the grid spring has failed until the next time maintenance is done on the coupling. Special lubrication can be used to extend lube intervals.The pump industry (primarily ANSI chemical pumps) has long desired spacer couplings for ease of maintenance. There are usually three or more lengths of spacer hubs available in each size coupling. seals. bearings. The grid spacer coupling is achieved by using a shaft hub that is bolted to a spacer hub. Grid coupling manufacturers specify that the couplings be re-lubed annually when using a common industrial lubricant. causing the lubrication to leak out. the grid coupling will no longer transmit torque from the driving to driven equipment. Spacer design couplings allow for a standardized gap between the ends of the driver and driven shafts. Couplings used in ambient temperatures greater than 158ºF. 5" and 7". The grid spring wraps around the grid teeth of the spacer hub. Special Designs . The shaft hub has the finished bore and keyway for the driver/driven shaft. re-lubing and possible grid replacement. When this occurs. the grid spring will fail at the center of the grid. Grid Spring The grid springs are made of a high tensile alloy steel that is formed to shape. This is not a catastrophic failure and the grid coupling will continue to transmit torque.
and can be upgraded with hardened sprocket teeth and a precision chain to improve wear life. easy to maintain and easy to rough align. In addition there are special or made to order units for which the catalog data is a guide to available capabilities. Non-Lubricated Coupling Types Standard Couplings and Special Purpose Couplings All metal couplings such as the gear. simply add modifications to standard units. piloted. and diaphragm design of couplings.Some manufacturers offer further adaptations of the grid coupling for special applications. controlled torque. The competing designs could be two disc couplings. but first we offer an overview to put them in perspective. diaphragm or gear vs. Infinite life indicates they are designed to operate without breaking or wearing out over time. Disc couplings are not quite as standard as the gear units. or 145 HP at 3600 RPM. . The special purpose units are found in the gear. the coupling is a wearable unit. The catalog standard units are designed and manufactured to meet competitive market requirements. bellows. misalignment and displacement. There is not necessarily a complete overlap of the designs so the coupling user or system designer must pick the coupling design that has the most favorable attributes. Typically. These couplings require a sophisticated stress analysis to determine the loads on the flexing element under varying combinations of load from torque. Diaphragm couplings have the least standardization of the three. lightweight and economical method for connecting two shafts. Each manufacturer makes claims for their design under competing circumstances. Chain Couplings The chain coupling is used extensively on unsophisticated applications such as agricultural equipment and machinery because it is an all metal. rugged. The maximum bore in the largest size is 4 inches and maximum angular misalignment is ½°. The coupling consists of two sprockets (hubs with chain-matching teeth on the periphery) connected with a double roller chain. Misalignment is accommodated by the loose fit of the chain to the sprockets. disc. Metallic Flexible Element Couplings This group of power transmission couplings. disc vs. MTO couplings can be totally new designs. This usually means the flexing and load carrying methods do not cause wear and are within the endurance limit of the flexing materials. disc. but market forces have driven the various manufacturers to similar designs for catalog standard units. process industry requirements. These include. In the case of gear couplings there is an AGMA standard for mating dimensions from size 1½ to 9 that is followed by coupling suppliers all over the world. A cover is used to contain grease and keep out dirt. The chain coupling allows quick shaft disconnection by removal of the chain. Special purpose couplings are used to meet unusual OEM requirements. uses the flexibility of thin metal elements to handle misalignment requirements while the strength of metal is used to transmit torque. or extreme horsepower/speed applications. It is easy to install. link and spiral wound springs. but most often for economy. brakewheel. disc brake. and in fact more often fit into the special purpose category. All five types are designated as infinite-life. disc or diaphragm types are available in standard cataloged units and special or made to order (MTO) units. military requirements. Couplings of this type are suitable for a maximum of 700 HP at 1800 RPM. and high-speed designs. The chain is the replacement element although the sprocket may also wear. their applications present smaller values. diaphragm. The coupling can be supplied with taper bore bushings for easier installation. Catalog data usually provides a guide to available capabilities. engine flywheel. low-maintenance and nonlubricated. Therefore. consisting of disc. Each type will be discussed later in this chapter.
as that junction could be the weakest point under some conditions. they are the disc. Even with the advances of modern engineering. the method of attaching the flexing element to a shaft hub requires a close analysis. Three of these types are found in general purpose applications. That machinery includes boiler feed pumps. high power and high accuracy applications. The disc and the diaphragm coupling have enjoyed increased reliability from the advancements made in metals technology in analyzing the stresses in flex elements. long life couplings. such as balance and the need for lubrication. and transmits torque in a tangential direction to the disc. These are used to span long gaps as well as provide radial misalignment. As we go from circular to flat to scalloped ODs. in the case of disc couplings. the cost of the disc is theoretically higher as the shape is more complex to form. the link and the spiral wound spring. the advent of cheap fast personal computers has made it much more practical as a tool for the design engineer. It consists of two flanged hubs and one or more disc packs and a center member. the metallic flexible element coupling can be the best choice for high speed. gas and steam turbines.plus temperature and the loads associated with rotation over a wide range of speeds. The amount of radial misalignment depends on the combination of disc pack angular capability and the distance between the two flexing points. The advent of high-speed machinery made them more popular. where the coupling can be suitable but is economically at a big disadvantage to another coupling type that works equally well. or if they are not carefully accounted for at the time of coupling selection. axial displacement and angular misalignment. Disc packs are often unitized by the coupling manufacturer to make assembly easier. or can be scalloped on the OD. The disc pack is a flat ring with boltholes on a fixed pitch circle. since 1914. their life can be shortened to a finite one if conditions of the application change. Disc Couplings The disc coupling became popular as high-speed machinery created demand for non-lubricated. With careful selection. The disc pack is attached to flanges on either side via alternate bolts. compressors. high-speed test stands and marine propulsion systems. With careful design and analysis the disc coupling can provide a near infinite life unit. The disc and the diaphragm are used for high-energy applications and the bellows and the disc are used for motion control applications. . Single disc pack units (one flex point) will accommodate angular misalignment and axial displacement only. The leg of the disc is loaded in tension. While they have a theoretical infinite life. Now industrial disc couplings are used by a wide range of rotating machinery applications. Although disc couplings have the broadest popularity. To make sure the couplings were suitable for high speed machines it was necessary for the engineering community to develop computerized stress analysis methods. The discs can be circular in shape. and new materials to make the couplings more practical and economical. In some cases. They offer the solution to many of the problems associated with high speed. low maintenance. One analysis tool that is most often used is the Finite Element Analysis (FEA). While this method has been available for many years. In addition. There is also a version that uses two hubs and one disc pack. these couplings remain more expensive than many of the alternative gear and elastomeric units. Sometimes. flatsided on the OD. such as those that require no-backlash or torsionally very stiff couplings. a long floating shaft separates two single disc pack couplings. no other couplings are suitable. users should be aware that each type of coupling has its limits. These couplings are more sensitive to environmental conditions and rough handling than other types of couplings. The design configuration that uses two disc packs separated by a center member can accommodate parallel misalignment. Sometimes the limit is an economic one. This group of couplings has been around for many years.
. with 10 and 12 reserved for extremely high torque applications. Standard bolts or commercial bolts should not be substituted. the rated values are determined by the needs of the application and the job specifications. The washers serve to spread the clamping pressure over a specified area and are beveled on the disc side to prevent stress risers when the disc is deflected. There are steady state loads associated with the transmitted torque. Then there are reversing loads associated with the angular misalignment. Designers use a fatigue analysis to determine the stress levels of the disc elements. Bolts and nuts must be torqued to a specified value to obtain the proper clamping force. in the flange counterbore. thermal load. The objective is to limit the stresses so that the disc pack has a theoretical infinite life at the "catalog" rated values of torque and misalignment. Circular discs act like a curved beam. They can use a Modified Goodman Diagram or Constant Life Curve to establish coupling ratings. Force must be transferred via friction from the shaft hub flange to the disc pack and from the disc pack to the next flange. In the case of special purpose couplings. Misalignment and torque capabilities are interrelated on the disc coupling. A second type of bushing called an overload bushing can be inserted between the nut and the washer. The loads on the disc pack of the coupling consist of two types. The flat-sided disc eliminates the curve beam problems and puts the leg in tension. and the cross-sectional area around the hole could be overly stressed. The thickness of the discs and the thickness of the disc pack indicate the coupling's flexibility. and the number of bolts are indications of the coupling's torque capability. It is normal to have a slight bending moment on the bolt from the torque transmission. The slimmest cross-section requires the least force to flex the disc pack when misaligned. The diameter of the bolt circle. It is more flexible than the circular one since it is slimmer across the width of the leg. A stack of thin discs provides parallel paths for the torque transfer. Those details serve to make sure loads are equalized on each leg of the disc pack. which means the stresses can be very high on the extreme fibers. and the axial displacement. offering more flexibility than the same thickness of a single disc. The force that is bending the links when the coupling is misaligned is a reversing fatigue loading on the flex link. or if the disc were to fail. the dimensions of the discs and the true position of the boltholes in the flanges. thickness of discs. The clamping is critical in the coupling design and manufacture.The disc performance improves with the same progression in shape. Thin discs chosen for flexibility can be stacked to an optimum height. the bolt would be loaded in shear. the number of discs. Short legs with many bolts reduce the lateral (angular) flexibility of the leg. That means lower bending forces are reflected back as lower reactionary loads on the nearby bearings.sided and scalloped disc. Disc couplings can have up to 12 bolts alternately fastening the disc pack from one side to the other at the bolt circle. which is the area surrounding the bolthole. The allowable number and thickness of the individual discs in the pack is a function of how well the clamping force can be transmitted through the pack. In the cases of the flat. The bolts are high strength. Bushings and "body fits" serve to equalize the loads and prevent high stress areas. Stacked discs are clamped together using the disc attachment bolts and nuts plus bushings and washers. The center members of very thick disc packs would not have sufficient clamping. machined to be used on disc couplings. Also important are the true positions of the boltholes in the discs. the rotational load (centrifugal force). the metal retains an ample cross-section at the area of the greatest bending stress. It is accomplished by holding the bolt while applying torque to the nut. The scalloped disc is the most flexible as it is the slimmest. Otherwise. The bolts may be "body fit" to the bolthole or may be bushed. it would prevent flailing. industrial couplings 6 or 8. The motion control couplings and light industrial couplings have 4 bolts. It serves to prevent overloads of torque from stretching the disc. special pieces.
It has a built in limited end float capability. Friction between the discs creates critical damping and a non-linear stiffness prevents an axial natural frequency from being a problem for this style of flexible element coupling. In fact. That would include piloted fits of all the connected parts. it is designed and built to be balanced. especially on high-speed applications where the higher cost of the disc coupling is justified by the reduction in maintenance. a variation of the disc coupling will match up to the flange drilling of a rigid gear coupling.0 million inch-lbs. Spacer couplings. or built as spacer type couplings. The lowest torque units may have only one disc at each flex point.0 inch-lb. with thin metal disc stacked very closely together makes it subject to varying types of corrosion. Because it is all metal and has no sliding or rubbing parts. two disc packs. Fretting corrosion between discs is common. The thin discs would corrode quickly in the stressed areas. The construction of the disc coupling. are either the marine type or reduced moment type. An unaccounted for extra amount of misalignment is detrimental to coupling life. Another problem is atmospheric corrosion such as salt in the air or chemicals in the operating environment. with the flex element positioned outside the shaft hub.The reactionary force generated by a disc coupling is equal and opposite to the force bending the link when the coupling is misaligned or displaced. or greater in the large 8-or 10-bolt industrial units. The application engineer or user of disc couplings must account for the misalignment and the torque when selecting the coupling. Torque capabilities range from 1. The basic industrial disc coupling consists of two hubs. to 2. Forces for axial and radial misalignment are predictable and available from the coupling manufacturer as a chart of load vs. Types of Disc Couplings Disc couplings can be made as a close-coupled design. Axial forces are usually low and the coupling tends to be self-centering. is easier to disassemble. Disc couplings are capable of carrying loads as great as the gear coupling while using just a little more space. Disc couplings have almost as many configurations as are described in the gear coupling section of this handbook. The coupling is an infinite life unit as long as the discs do not receive an overload in excess of the fatigue capability. . Close-coupled units that are designed to drop in the place of standard gear couplings have split centerpieces for replacing the disc pack. The marine type. the coupling is very suitable for high-speed applications. This often allows disc couplings to be used in place of gear couplings. The moment arm is reduced. the most popular configuration. The disc coupling is backlash free and torsionally very stiff. That variation meets AGMA 516 Flange Dimensions (future AGMA 9008-AXX) and can be built as a reduced moment or floating shaft type. Unbalance is minimized through concentricity of the parts and by piloted fits. Because the disc coupling is often used on high-speed applications. and a center or spacer piece. deflection. and tight tolerances on individual parts. (See Balancing Chapter for information on lateral critical speeds. in the 4-bolt miniature coupling sizes. The disc packs are bolted to the spacer and then to the shaft hub. and the ID of the disc pack is not controlled by the shaft hub diameter. but can be prevented by coating the discs or by using corrosion resistant metals. Once the metal is reduced in cross-section its life is reduced to a finite value. It is often used in paper mills or other markets where a disc coupling is used to replace a floating shaft gear coupling.) Reduced moment couplings can increase the diameter of the flexing element or limit the hub bore. Reduced moment couplings place the flex point and therefore flexing element directly over the shaft hubs nearest to a support bearing. reducing bearing loads and changing the lateral critical speed.
The "drop-out" style of disc coupling is available with safety devices either built into the guard rings or as separate pieces. The oversize hub allows the coupling to have torque and bore capabilities that are comparable with each other. It is a spacer-type disc coupling that utilizes a prepackaged center section that drops into or out of place and fastens to the shaft hubs. non-lubricated. disc. Disc couplings should not be used when rugged environmental conditions exist or when axial movement is required and must be carefully applied when transient loads are encountered. Diaphragm Couplings The diaphragm coupling was developed in the mid-fifties as an infinite life. as are split spacer close-coupled units. Couplings with axial movement limitations are available.It is possible to build disc couplings as vertical units. The spacer units can be built with lightweight composite fiber spacers between two single flex element couplings. Oversize hubs are available for the drop out type of disc couplings. Under a strobe light the discs can be seen flexing and moving and a damaged disc would show up. low maintenance design for aircraft applications. The safety device keeps the disc and spacer from flying out if a failure occurs. It is more expensive than a gear coupling. The process is reversed at the opposite flex point. Each style has its adherents and all work to some level of satisfaction. Prestretching the discs is reserved for couplings that have thermal movement when in operation. Attachment is via clamping bolts at the OD and welding or bolting or major diameter fit splines at the ID. The large OD reduces the forces at the periphery where the coupling is attached to the flange. The petroleum industry is a major user of disc couplings because of their high-speed rotating equipment. Many variations of the disc coupling are built to meet specific requirements of API 610 (Pumps) or API 671 (Unspared and Critical Equipment). a design often-used on cooling tower applications. The shim pack allows for a variation in distance between shaft ends without prestretching the discs in an axial direction. but not available for the industrial type. It was introduced into industrial applications in the late sixties. machined integral at the ID and bolted at the removal joint. Diaphragm couplings will have the largest OD of the three. It is also possible to check the coupling with a strobe light while in operation. A shim pack is used to properly place the center section on high performance drop-out special purpose disc couplings. This is more true of this style than the other . initially to meet the demands of high-speed high horsepower service in petrochemical processing. Where low moment versions are needed the diaphragm couplings can be welded at the OD of the flexible element. a center section (spacer) and two "guard rings" all bolted together with the bolts properly torqued.This factory-assembled center section includes two unitized disc packs. Each flex point of the coupling can utilize one plate or a stack of plates operating in parallel. The user or specifier of the diaphragm coupling must have confidence in their chosen supplier of diaphragm couplings. shear pin units or to include a floating (torsion) shaft. One variation is the "drop out" type. All varieties of the disc coupling can be inspected for damage without disassembly as long as you can see the discs. There are probably more types and styles of flexing elements available in diaphragm couplings than in any other style of coupling. electrically insulating units. In diaphragm couplings the flexing element is a metal plate that is loaded in shear by introducing the torque at the OD and transferring it to the ID. The industrial units can have flange adapters rather than hubs or hubs can be adapted to use either internal or external clamping devices (shrink discs). Applications range from helicopter drives to high horsepower high-speed gas turbine drivers for generators and compressors. gear or diaphragm. This coupling is used for the extreme applications of torque and speed and in those applications where reliability is paramount.
multiple flex elements can be assembled to have space between the plates to eliminate the fretting corrosion that otherwise would reduce coupling life to a finite value. The reason for the various shapes is to allow flexing with the least amount of force while still transmitting the torque. they offer a variety of styles. Single wavy types have more axial capability. both the disc and the diaphragm are non-lubricated. The couplings are used in a more sophisticated application than the gear or the disc. Diaphragm couplings with one flex point have only angular and axial flexing capability.types of couplings because no common designs exist. but the diaphragm can be considered more reliable and suitable for higher torque and speed. Although the flex elements must have uniform cross-section in the flexing plane. This results in a stronger coupling with less susceptibility to fatigue failure. greater reliability and higher torque capability in a general sense. As we found on disc couplings. therefore reducing cyclic loads associated with angular misalignment. • The gear coupling has the highest power intensity. • They both produce lower reactionary loads than gear couplings when misaligned. The disc unit can have a lower cost. ratings are established by a stress analysis using a Modified Goodman Diagram or a Constant Life Curve and augmented with sufficient factors of safety. which can be beneficial to the connected machinery. infinite life couplings. Single diaphragms are contoured or shaped to have a constant stress across the diaphragm. Diaphragm materials are high strength alloy steels perhaps in corrosion resistant versions. and overload generally results in reduced wear life rather than abrupt failure.) • The diaphragm coupling is considered to have more axial displacement capability at lower forces than the disc coupling. including convoluted (wavy). Or. • They both accept greater misalignment at higher speeds than gear couplings. As on the other couplings. diaphragm constructions can be "marine type". (Note diameter is an indicator of torque capability. Comparing the flexing element couplings illustrates that the disc and the diaphragm are close in capabilities. Single element diaphragm couplings when made from corrosion resistant materials can be considered the true infinite life device since fretting corrosion between a stack of fretting elements is eliminated. • The gear coupling has the lowest first cost and the least sensitivity to rough circumstances. • The gear coupling has the most axial displacement capability. It becomes a fusible link. To attain radial (parallel) misalignment capability. or spoke designs. Here are some comparative comments applicable to this group of couplings. • Diaphragm couplings disconnect upon failure. perforated. The stress combines shear loading for torque transmittal with a bending moment for angular misalignment and stretching for axial displacement. In this configuration. • Both the disc and the diaphragm coupling are easier to balance than the gear coupling. low maintenance. the coupling can be described as a spacer unit. • The diaphragm coupling is considered to be stronger than the disc coupling and can be made in larger diameters than the disc coupling. Multiple flex element construction reduces the reactionary forces from misalignment. . they must have two flex points. • In contrast with gear couplings. "reduced moment type" or a combination of the two. As with the gear and disc couplings. or can make the coupling larger in overall diameter. • Single straight contoured diaphragm couplings eliminate the fretting corrosion associated with multiple elements. • Gear coupling life is determined by wear. the reduced moment coupling can restrict the hub diameter and the shaft capability. Diaphragm couplings have more flexibility than disc couplings.
The flexlinks are sized to keep stresses well . Flexing the spring as a tension spring accommodates angular misalignment. • The disc coupling is usually smaller in diameter than the diaphragm coupling. When a spring coupling operates in the misaligned system it is subject to both a nominal torque load and a cyclic flexing load. The single thickness corrosion resistant spring steel flat strips are proportioned to transmit torque in compressive or tensile beam end loading.5 inches (38 mm). depending on size. will not disconnect the coupling if the bolts are capable of carrying the load in shear. The riveting of the flexlinks to their connected parts is a factory assembly. Speeds can run up to 30.Wound Spring Couplings The spring type coupling uses a tension spring fitted with rounded caplike hubs on both ends to facilitate shaft mounting. • The disc coupling has a built in overload capability. The triple wound spring coupling has both backlash and windup. can range from .000 RPM in the smaller sizes. Angular misalignment can reach 3° for the triple wound spring. and hubs. The overload can be continuous torque. Because the windup and backlash are known values these couplings are sometimes used for indexing. One variation uses three flat strip springs called "flexlinks" in place of a laminated disc pack. The difference is that the links are thick enough to be loaded in compression on one side and tension on the other. each end of the spring can flex independently. A bolted-in combination of flange and hub on both ends can be used to make a drop out version. Bores range up to 1. yet not too thick so as to bend near the rivet and accommodate angular misalignment. However. Spring couplings must not be operated in excess of the maximum capability or the failure is likely to be sudden and dramatic. Triple. Overload on infinite life couplings will result in fatigue failure. The amount of parallel offset allowed is primarily a function of the coupling (spring) length. the triple wound construction has the middle coil wound in a direction opposite the inner and outer coils. creating two flex planes that accommodate radial (parallel) misalignment. while it may be abrupt. The backlash amounts to 1/3 of the windup at full torque. This feature often can allow the coupling to continue operating through an orderly shut down.85° to 1. Windup. The links function the same as a disc leg. The round flange is formed with three axial arms that bolt to another round flange that has identical flexlinks. positioning or robotic applications. The triangular plate bolts to a delta shaped hub or a round hub that can be mounted on the shaft. triangular plates. Disc failure. so it can transmit torque effectively in either direction.This is subject to existing wear and the size of the overload.8° at maximum torque. In this coupling. • The disc coupling is usually less expensive in first cost than the diaphragm coupling. Normally the spring should be loaded so as to tighten the wrap of the spring because it can carry more torque that way. They are capable of some endplay. The two pieces form a double flex coupling with a torque tube between the flex planes. cyclic misalignment forces or a combination of both. Three Link Couplings Link-type couplings are a variation of the disc design. The link thickness is sufficient to prevent buckling under maximum rated loading. Generally these are small couplings with torque capabilities up to 1800 inch-pounds (213 Nm) in the largest size. These flexlinks are attached to a high strength steel triangular plate at the inner diameter and a circular flange at the outer side with rivets. The bolting is connected when the unit is assembled to the equipment shafts. Flange ends could be substituted for the round hubs or a combination of hub on one end and flange on the other.
it is capable of flexing for misalignment.within the infinite-life fatigue limit of the steel. axial displacement adds an additional tensile load to the link. Since the bellows is thin. and curved jaw couplings (including the low backlash version for motion control) are covered in the Elastomeric Coupling section. Angular misalignment is in the order of 5°. which give it an advantage in positioning drives and encoders. low inertia. the most popular include the bellows. corrosion resistance and the capability of cyclic (repeated start/stop/reverse) activity. The bellows material is usually steel or stainless steel and can be single thickness or two layers. The reason for the load capability is that most of the fatigue or cyclic capability is used up in the misalignment cyclic loading. medical equipment. beam. The majority of the applications are for shafts under 1 inch. resolvers. computers and radar. It is the spacer version or the floating shaft version. . linear and ball screw actuators. Spacer washers position the flexlinks so that each can flex in a prescribed path without interfering with adjacent flexlinks. The bellows coupling is one of the most torsionally stiff types of couplings. When the coupling is operating under misalignment the fatigue points are located at the rivets and at the bolts in the center of the torque tube. constant velocity. all forms of servo devices. Round shaped hubs are the only types that are available in stainless steel. Additional tensile loads on the flexlinks that come from axial movement will detract from the nominal torque capability. Round shaped hubs are always mounted externally as they won't fit into the inside of the torque tube. and because there are two flex planes (one at each flange). The metal is subject to fatigue failure because the load from misalignment is cyclic and imposed on top of the nominal torque. stepmotors. Motion Control couplings can be used on applications such as shaft encoders. In addition. In that case a hollow tube with triangular plates at each end is inserted between the flanges. Currently its main limits are bore sizes to about 2 inches ( 50 mm) and nominal torque to 1750 inch-pounds (200 Nm). It works best when the load is not cyclic. The normal configuration of the flexlink coupling is that of a reduced moment coupling. It is most suitable for smooth torque loads without transients. their combined angular misalignment capability provides radial (parallel) misalignment as well. The delta shaped hubs will fit inside the flange torque tube for reduced moment or they can be mounted externally for marine style. Although there are many alternatives for Motion Control Couplings. Each end of the bellows is attached to a hub. The flanges are modified to eliminate the axial arms. One variation of the flex link coupling eliminates the center bolting. However. Bellows Couplings The bellows coupling uses a thin cross section tubular metal bellows formed with annular corrugations as the flexible element. Motion Control Couplings Typical operational requirements for Motion Control couplings include torsional rigidity. The disc type coupling has been covered separately in the earlier portion of this section. The "flexlink" coupling was developed for highly misaligned. Covered in this section are the bellows and beam couplings. robots. low radial stiffness. but lightly loaded applications. One could identify this via the Modified Goodman Diagram. Torque is transmitted in shear or from twisting across the bellows. zero backlash. positioning tables. disc and curved jaw. the motion control application often calls for start-stop and reversal of the applied torque. but is not available as a spacer or a floating shaft version. The flange on the hollow tube bolts directly to the circular flange and the misalignment forces that result in fatigue loading are taken at the link to rivet connection. plotters. The reduced moment coupling is shorter. light duty pumps and metering devices.
004 to 0. Beam couplings operate with 3°. The maximum angular and parallel offsets cannot occur at the same time.e. Other types use tapered bushings attached with keys or a setscrew to the shaft. Often the hubs are split. There are many similarities between the bellows and beam couplings described in the next section. depending on the size and type selected. The flexure allowed by the curved beam portion of the coupling is capable of accommodating angular. They will also accommodate lateral translation. It is highly appropriate for power transmission and motion control applications where extremely accurate positioning. The variations in OD. The beam coupling can be used up to 10. which makes it a "constant velocity" coupling i. Beam couplings are offered with either one setscrew or with a splitclamping hub for attachment to shafts. Some special variations of flexure will handle 90°. Beam couplings will allow axial motion up to . It inhibits any movement or slip between the hub and the shaft. The devices include U-joints and springs. number of helix starts. while torsionally stiff. chemicals. Beam Couplings The beam coupling is an all-metal. care must be taken at the time of installation not to compress or expand the coupling axially.254 mm) in the small units and twice that in large units. The beam coupling and the bellows coupling have some overlap of attributes that allows them to be used on similar applications. so the shrink fit option is not used. the connection of the hubs to the shaft and the method of attaching the hubs to the bellows can be weak points. Reactionary loads are proportional to the spring flex constant. The cross-section of the beam coupling is sufficient to allow it to function. and can serve as U-Joints. frequent start/stop or reversing. In general the beam coupling. It is manufactured by cutting a helix in a hollow bar forming a curved beam spring. the bellows is consistently more stiff than the beam with a few exceptions. It has a very high tolerance to heat. is not as stiff as the bellows coupling. or 5° of angular misalignment. The beam coupling has a torsional stiffness that ranges from medium high to very high.While the bellows itself is very stiff and strong. Consequently the support bearings will be lightly loaded even when the coupling is misaligned within its specified limits. However. while others have configurations that make them act like a different device than a coupling. The clamping hub is highly recommended for instrumentation type applications due to the reliability of the attachment. ID. The coupling is formed from a single piece of aluminum or stainless steel and can be cut with single or double flex planes. The hub must attach to the bellows without becoming a fatigue point or a slip point. and zero backlash are essential. at every point during rotation.010 inches (. Although they are used for the same type of applications. . but it ranges from 0. which allows a clamping action. and corrosion.035 inches. non-lubricated coupling made from bar stock. It operates either clockwise or counter clockwise without sacrificing windup or torque capabilities. width of the beams (related to thickness of coils) and number of coils within a specific coupling length all serve to define the characteristics of the coupling. The amount of parallel offset depends on size and configuration of the coupling. as a single thickness spring whereas the torsional spring coupling mentioned earlier in this section needs to be triple wound. parallel and axial misalignment while continuing to transmit torque between the attached shafts. Some beam models can far exceed the bellows in angular misalignment. as the beam should be relaxed when installed. Shaft sizes are small and the hubs are often made from aluminum to reduce inertia. the driven half turns exactly the same amount and at the same rate as the driving half.000 RPM while misaligned and produces very low reactionary loads. 4°. The hub must be tightly attached to the shaft to prevent slip and backlash.
General Coupling Characteristics An understanding of the general characteristics of couplings will help in selecting the correct coupling for an application and will help evaluate competitive coupling proposals. but their life span may be sufficient for the life expectancy of the application. This is because they transmit torque and compensate for misalignment through distortion within their flexing elements rather than by the sliding or rubbing movement of loosely fitted parts. The first type of a single bearing system is one that places the load between the coupling and the outboard single bearing. Each set of bearings will hold the associated shaft in a straight line when the equipment is installed on its foundation. The coupling installed in a four bearing system will be of the two flex plane type or of a type that allows radial misalignment. This is typical of a three bearing generator coupled to a driver. offset and pin & bushing types. There are two types of single bearing systems. grid. wrappedspring. Elastomeric couplings do not have the same fatigue capabilities as metal couplings and they also experience reduced load capability as time passes. as these couplings do not necessarily last forever. Unless one piece of equipment can swivel about a point. the interface between the element and its hubs is a loose gear-like fit that wears. Accordingly infinite-life designs are most often used on maintenance-free systems where maximum torque requirements (including transient. each having a set of two bearings. Alignment of the two pieces of equipment will make the shafts close to coaxial and coplanar. Elastomeric couplings may provide parallel misalignment in a single element through distortion of the element. The single bearing is a self aligning type which provides the swivel possibilities. since some misalignment will occur. The load can be heavy. They won't last as long. The coupling installed in a three bearing system will be of the single flex type. Single flex element couplings were noted to be limited to angular misalignment and possibly axial displacement whereas the two flex element units were needed to achieve the additional parallel (radial) misalignment capabilities. Nylon sleeve gear. It simply means the couplings do not wear in normal operation and by design the acceptable loads do not exceed the fatigue life of the parts. (It does not have to be a three dimensional swivel. Note that both types have a radial load that is carried across the coupling. flex-link.) The system only needs an angular misalignment capability as associated with a single flex coupling. gear. The four bearing system consists of two pieces of rotating equipment. a flexible coupling is needed. Two flex plane couplings will be unstable in these systems and cause vibrations or wobble. cyclic and start-up torque) are known. "finite life" or "infinite life. and other applications that either allow or require the single element. This group includes jaw. Periodic maintenance is required. disc. sleeve (shear). 3 Bearing Systems and Two Flex Plane 4 Bearing Systems We have previously mentioned that some couplings. (Sleeve types are excluded here because their torque and misalignment capabilities are served by the flexing of their elastomeric element. For that reason. Most elastomeric couplings will not be able to carry that radial load and should not be used in the system unless checked for radial capabilities. Single Flex. Couplings of the single flex element type could be expected to have a lower cost. Infinite-life is something of a misnomer. Usually the flex half of the coupling is mounted near to the driver bearing to reduce the overhung moment. However. Infinite life in couplings remains infinite only as long as the operating load stresses. and most motion-control types. Finite Life and Infinite Life Couplings All flexible couplings fall into one of two categories. . the shelf life of the elastomer must be factored into the couplings design rating An overload that will fail an infinite-life coupling might only reduce the life of a comparably rated finite-life coupling.) Distortions of the flexible element results in fatigue stresses rather than wear. All usually have lower purchase costs than infinite-life couplings. parallel misalignment will eventually show up in the system and a coupling with that capability will be required. chain. diaphragm. some donut types. because of using sliding or rubbing parts to transmit torque and compensate for misalignment. This group includes tire. There are applications that require two elements and therefore two flex planes.” Finite-life couplings are those that wear in normal operation. the metallic flex type in particular can be built as single flex element or two flex element couplings. considering misalignment is kept within the fatigue capabilities of the coupling's material.
Elastomeric floating shaft couplings are possible but must be reviewed and approved by the coupling manufacturer. or next to the equipment bearing. the elastomeric coupling will fail before the rotating equipment shaft fails. They are found in paper and steel mills. The length of the shaft or tube is limited by critical speed. Some systems have a mix of floating shafts and semi-floating shafts. However. In such situations the gear coupling could be selected purely on shaft diameter and speed. They are called "torque-limited" couplings.Limited and Bore . These are termed "bore-limited". The fact that the coupling can be the weakest element does not necessarily mean that the coupling will provide a fusible link. These materials sometimes offer weight-to-strength advantages that can be important. The hub naturally follows the elastomer in becoming large. and appropriate service factors. Floating shafts are used when the connected equipment has offset shafts and space is available for the long shaft. Mixed coupling designs with one side being a reduced moment and the other a marine style is acceptable. bore and torque capability.) All this means that elastomeric couplings must always be checked for both torque and bore capability. Floating shafts that use full flex couplings on both ends of the floating shaft are unstable when operating and should be avoided. Vertical floating shafts are available. These types are termed non-failsafe. In failsafe design. speed. giving the hub a bore capability that is unnecessarily large in relation to the torque capability of the coupling. To have the coupling serve that function. The flex half should be mounted nearest to a bearing for best results. In some cases. When using this strategy. Tubes are used to lighten the weight and improve the critical speed. but will require the coupling to be maintained as soon as possible. Enterprising designers use that extra bore capability to fit tapered bushings and other easy-assembly devices into the hubs. If the coupling is a wearable device. with limited risk. a reduced moment type. One notable exception is the gear coupling which is truly bore-limited because it can transmit more torque than its maximum shaft size will normally deliver. The bearing between the coupling and the pulley is a pivot point and a load carrying position. the diameter is a function of the torque. . coupling failure does not automatically disconnect the two rotating shafts. The bending moment caused by the pulley load has to be passed through the coupling. a marine type. Consequently. Some composite materials offer strength capabilities somewhere between elastomers and metals. The elastomeric coupling is considered a torque limited coupling device because the flexing element uns out of torque carrying capacity before the connecting shafts reach their full torque potential.The second type of single bearing system is the overhung pulley application. elastomeric couplings must become larger in diameter to achieve higher torque-carrying capabilities. Selecting elastomeric couplings purely on shaft diameter and speed is very risky. Torque . Usually single flex couplings are needed to provide stability in the rotating system. Other couplings are limited by the hub bore size because the flex element is capable of transmitting all the torque that shaft size will normally deliver. that risk can be an advantage. The floating shaft or floating tube coupling is a special case of using two single flex couplings in a four bearing system. in old installations needing coupling replacement. Coupling selection always needs consideration of torque. This is because elastomers have much lower tensile and compressive strength than the metals otherwise used in flexing elements. as are most elastomeric couplings. The connection between the two single flex couplings is a long unsupported shaft or tube. it is necessary to pick the type of coupling with that feature.Limited Couplings Some coupling designs are limited by the torque capability of the flexing element. The flex halves can be on the center shaft. provided the overall design is correct. thus sacrificing the less expensive coupling to protect the more expensive rotating equipment. Metallic element couplings tend to keep a close relationship between hub. however. When overloaded. The pulley has one side open to allow for easy changing of the belts. the overall design considerations should include the wear life of the coupling and the damping energy to be absorbed by the coupling. (For more discussion on these devices see the chapter on mounting the coupling hubs to the shafts. the real torque values might be unknown or uncertain. misalignment. connecting shaft sizes.
In torsional vibrating systems it is the vibratory torque that occurs at the operating speed. System Torque Normal Operating Torque The steady state torque required by the system when operating at normal design conditions.both load and misalignment are factors in total life. It can be of a smooth. It may or may not be equal to or greater than peak torque. Torque to Accelerate or to Decelerate The torque required to increase or to decrease the equipment operating speed. but can be equal to zero. It does not go through zero to a negative value. The end of usable life of the coupling might not be the result of equipment problems when wear is a consideration. Normal Braking Torque It is the torque used to decelerate or reduce the speed of the equipment when the brakes are applied in a normal manner. This torque can be greater or less than the normal operating torque. In torsional vibration coupling systems it is the maximum vibratory response torque that could pass through the coupling. Peak Torque The maximum torque required by the system. Stall or Lockup Torque This is the torque that passes through the system when the system stalls or otherwise come to a stop because of some activity within the driven system. not necessarily expected. Determining Torque Requirements Coupling torque requirements can be defined many ways. Reversing Torque This is a cyclic torque that passes through zero and becomes negative or "reverses" to the opposite direction. This torque is normally a one time event or limited to a specified number of occasions. The torque will exceed the normal braking torque by the inverse ratio of the time required to stop in each case. Starting Torque The torque needed when the system starts its operation. Emergency Braking Torque In this case the brakes are applied to stop the equipment in a very short time. Application Considerations 1. and moves through the system. the available torque . and specifiers need to decide which definition to use. Transient Torque A transient torque is of short duration. In the case of acceleration. periodic variation like a sine wave or could be an erratic variation. The torque is time dependent. We will first review the various definitions. not happening on a regular basis but occurring when a system is upset. then discuss how they are used in coupling selection. Cyclic Torque It is any torque requirement of the system that varies with time. Shutdown Torque The torque required to bring the equipment from operating conditions to a shut down condition. This is usually the level at which the equipment designer certifies the equipment performance. This can be the normal braking torque or could be a result of friction or load in a system that is coasting to a stop.
the designer will usually pick a larger size out of conservatism. Drivers have speed limits that are imposed by physics or by trip devices. using nameplate values or start-up torque. The driver will not supply more torque than the driven equipment will absorb or the driver can produce. Peak Torque This is the maximum torque available from the driver. A formula to convert horsepower and speed to torque is found at the end of this section. even if the service factor is 1. The speed-torque capabilities of the driver are fixed by the design of the driver and the inputs to the driver. This translates into high cost and other problems. A piece of driven equipment operating at its full speed capability requires a certain amount of torque. The nameplate capabilities are multiplied by the service factor. the driver is usually oversized. The reason oversizing results is twofold. but it will not transmit it to the driven equipment. or steam availability to a steam turbine. The driver could still have additional capability. Coupling Selection Torque Using the Driver Torque The coupling can be selected based on the driver capabilities. the speed variation is small and subject to driver speed limits. the larger is chosen. Gearboxes are constant horsepower devices that increase the torque or decrease the torque depending on the . When the coupling is chosen by driver horsepower one must be sure there is no gear reducer between the driver and the driven load. First the driven loads may include equipment service factors that have already increased the torque value. Trip devices can include governors and over speed switches. Service Factor Rated Horsepower (Torque) Some drivers have additional capabilities beyond the name plate rating. Decelerating torque comes from braking devices or from frictional drag or other energy drains within the system that cannot be overcome by the driver. or the effects of fuel restriction on an internal combustion engine. It can be greater than 100%. the torque requirements of the driven equipment are the primary consideration. Other than at start up.0. The service factor is also shown on the nameplate. Drivers such as electric motors. While all the torque values defined previously may exist within the system at some point in time. come in standard sizes. The physical limits can include the effects of frequency on an electric motor. for example when brakes are energized. Driver Horsepower (Torque) Nameplate Rated Horsepower (Torque) The torque value is derived from the driver capability shown on the nameplate as a horsepower and a speed. Stall Torque This is the system torque requirement that will cause the driver to come to a stop. and amps or kVA if it is an electric motor. The capability requirements can be increased by an application service factor before choosing the coupling. This method of coupling selection usually results in a coupling that is oversized for the application. It is based on specific inputs to the driver such as voltage. If the driven equipment is not operating at full speed the driver will supply additional torque until equilibrium is reached for torque and speed. A formula for calculating this torque is found at the end of this section. Even when the requirements are right on the nose. If a piece of driven equipment requires a horsepower that is in between two standard sizes. Second. Start-Up Torque The driver torque capability at start-up available to accelerate the driven equipment to operating speed.for acceleration is the difference between the driver capability and the system requirements at the current speed. it may not be able to operate for extended time periods at this torque. Under some conditions the maximum torque within the system may exceed the driver capability. Some drivers have a fixed percentage of the rated torque available at start-up.
Service factors are used to account for unknowns in the driven equipment system. Service Factors are not the same as design Factors of Safety. If the coupling has only one published torque value. Service factors deal with the unpredictable nature of the application. It may have one rating based on normal operation with another simultaneous rating for low cycles of peak torque. life (including elastomeric shelf life). and testing capabilities. if they are to be used. premature wear and more maintenance. It may be acceptable to compare the peak system torque with a 1. or other expected torque values. Manufacturers may publish different service factors by product line. Elastomer couplings sometimes include an environmental temperature service factor. . If the coupling is subject to cyclic torque or reversing torque. or conservative considerations. temperature (elastomers). this approach requires that all of the torque values be known with certainty. The most economical selection will be based on the exact torque requirements of the system including peak. or maximum torque. When the coupling has been sized to meet torque. some torque-limited couplings might have sufficient bore capability to accept the shaft but not be able to carry all the torque that the shaft will deliver. and allow that as part of the acceptable selection. transients and any others listed at the beginning of this section. it will be necessary to check the coupling's fatigue life against the torque peaks and the acceleration/deceleration requirements associated with reversing operation. design requirements. The coupling manufacturer should be consulted when the coupling selection is based on peak torque. In this case the requirements must include all the torque values to be transmitted through the coupling. not with unknowns in the design of the coupling. the coupling would have to be selected to meet the maximum torque expected in that part of the system. Check the coupling manufacturers catalog as the coupling can have various torque capabilities. In the case of reversing torque. to the yield strength of the coupling.gear ratio input to output. Likewise. should be shown in the same catalog. Such factors. multiplied by a service factor. In any case those types of devices must be accounted for in the coupling selection. Service Factors Sometimes "Service Factors" are called "Application Factors" or "Experience Factors". transients. Using Torque Information Coupling Catalogs Coupling manufacturers have several methods of listing the coupling capabilities in their catalogs. Using System Torque with Little or No Service Factor A coupling can be selected based on the exact requirements of the system. or are known by their designer based on experience with their systems. will have a frequency service factor as well. Using Driven Equipment Torque and a Service Factor The coupling can be selected by using the normal operating torque of the driven equipment. They have been empirically developed for most applications. Depending on the selection of service factor this method also could result in an oversize coupling. The coupling may already have sufficient reserve to satisfy those requirements on a limited number of occurrences. Other power transmission devices may do the same. the selection should be based on those torque values. Of course. emergency torque or a high transient that comes along only once. However. excess inertia. Some bore-limited couplings might have the needed torque capacity but not enough bore capability to accept the shaft that will deliver it. Coupling manufacturers publish Service Factors based on their experience with their couplings on various systems. AGMA Standard 9922-A96 lists service factors for many different applications. some types of couplings have torque ratings based on wear life. The factors are listed in coupling catalogs. and if intended for dampening vibratory torque. These capabilities vary on each manufacturer's experience. braking requirements. vibration frequency. In the case of cyclic torque. use the high value. maximum misalignment combined with torque. breaking. Oversize couplings cost more and can result in bearing overload. The catalog service factors will include factors for the application and the type of driver. Couplings selected using driver torque are normally mounted with one half on the driver shaft. adjusted for coupling location. peaks.15 Service Factor. That can include starting requirements. it must also be checked for bore capability. Torque capabilities found in the catalogs may have to be factored or reduced for misalignment.
stepmotors. use 7043 for foot-pounds. and 9550 for Newton-meters Determining the acceleration or deceleration torque T = (Wk^2 x N) / (307 x t) T = the torque to accelerate or decelerate in foot-pounds Wk2 = the inertia of the piece to be accelerated or decelerated in pound feet squared N = the absolute change of speed in RPM t = the time for the speed change in seconds 307 = a constant that allows the speed to be in RPM. 2. coupling torque capability is affected by the method of securing shaft to hub. linear and ball screw actuators. plotters. Highly accurate machine tools. no wind-up. robotic systems and printing presses need extremely stiff couplings. moving at exactly the same speed to exactly the same location. Coupling characteristics most important for motion control include high torsional stiffness but low radial stiffness. all forms of servo devices. In addition to the flex element. Such demands are found in applications such as shaft encoders. but this usually means they are oversized for the job. light duty pumps and metering devices.Most often the value shown in the catalog is the normal torque capability that the coupling can transmit over its design life. Couplings that wear over time. Some couplings have a listed maximum torque. Motion Control While all couplings claim constant RPM transfer. may have maximum capabilities that are quite large as long as their application keeps wear low. It is a common form of the equation. shaft interface and corrosion resistance. Couplings that wear may also offer alternate materials for reduced wear and longer life or for higher torque. the time to be in seconds and the torque and inertia to be in pounds and feet. robots. resolvers. Coupling torsional stiffness often is related more to the torque used by the system than to the capability of the coupling. use 5252 for foot-pounds. low inertia. such as a gear coupling. and any other joint in the unit. Lightly loaded couplings can act like very stiff couplings. positioning tables. This oversizing effect is often seen when low backlash curved jaw couplings are used for motion control. Because some coupling torque capabilities are limited by wear of the flex element and others limited by on fatigue of the flex element. which provide positioning feedback to the system. bolted or otherwise. medical equipment. Useful torque equations: Converting horsepower to torque T = BHP x 63025 / RPM Where T = the torque in inch-pounds BHP = the motor or other horsepower RPM = the operating speed in revolutions per minute 63025 = a constant used for inch-pounds. constant velocity. computers and radar. . for two shafts to be synchronized. it is best to understand the type of coupling that is to be used in the system before selecting the size. Usually that maximum value is used when the application might involve short cycle fatigue on couplings that have infinite life. zero backlash in coupling components. not all can meet the rigorous demands of motion control. Usually it is the flex element that is the limiting factor for the catalog torque values. and 7121 for Newton-meters Converting kW to torque Where T = BHP x 84518 / RPM T = the torque in inch-pounds kW = the motor or other kilowatts RPM = the operating speed in revolutions per minute 84518 = a constant used for inch-pounds. as do encoders.
Diesel engines represent the most significant unit volume of torsional coupling applications. and will be discussed in separate detail later. pistons. kiln drives. That might seem contradictory since stiffer couplings generate higher reactionary forces. rolling mill drives. or complete fatigue failure of the shaft or some other element. as would a lateral vibration. plus other potentially flexing components such as a spacer or floating shaft. the system reaches a harmonic or becomes resonant. inertia blocks can be impellers. In these applications couplings should be sized for the reversing torque rather than the normal torque. etc. grinding mill drives. However. which all rotate together as a single wheel. and the start up of synchronous motors. If the torsional vibratory frequency matches a system torsional natural frequency. reciprocating (piston) type compressors. because reactionary loading from misalignment will be detrimental to both shaft and bearing systems. including the couplings. is . grinding mill drives. motor rotors or any other device that is mounted on the shaft. Torsional vibrations are associated with internal combustion engines. vane passing frequencies of some centrifugal pumps. just because the systems are usually small does not mean they can't experience these problems. Motion control couplings are designed to minimize reactionary loads even though they are stiff couplings. Torsional vibrations cause equipment breakdowns such as wear or chatter on loose connections like spline pump shafts. One class of coupling applications is unique in that a secondary load is transferred through the power transmission system and the equipment connected to the system. That pulsing force which is being applied at some time cycle or frequency at or related to the operating RPM. mill rolls. Any additional forward pulsing force on the wheel will cause the spring to windup more and that will in turn react with a reverse force to the wheel. Fortunately. Often something else is blamed. the inertia of the spinning wheel is balanced against the windup of the spring. bellows and beam couplings provide a good example of being radially resilient while torsionally stiff. Torsional Vibrations One class of coupling applications is unique in that a secondary load is transferred through the power transmission system and the equipment connected to the system. For this reason motion control couplings are designed for low inertia. reciprocating (piston) type compressors. 3. rolling mill drives. When the wheel and spring rotate as parts of the same system. variable speed motors. These harmonic torsional pulses are difficult to detect. variable speed motors. The reversing torque may in fact be the normal operating torque. most of the high-precision end of motion control applications call for small equipment with small shaft diameters and small couplings. the result of the vibrations is known before the vibration is known. when that additional force is removed the spring unwinds. and the start up of synchronous motors. kiln drives. Usually. When the pulsing force returns. and will be discussed in separate detail later. nominal torque values are low in absolute terms even if not in relative terms. That secondary load is torsional vibration. and the wheel surges forward. Small shafts must be aligned properly too. Between pulses. Finally the system could be subject to lateral critical (vibratory) speeds if the coupling is not stiff enough in that direction. Torsional vibrations are associated with internal combustion engines. because they do not bounce the equipment up and down. Once again. reapplying the reverse force to the wheel. High peak loads result from reversals. vane passing frequencies of some centrifugal pumps. That's because the natural frequency is an energy balance point at which additional forces will set off uncontrolled vibration. That secondary load is torsional vibration. As a result. Nor can they be felt by touching the equipment. One way to reduce the start-up and reversing torque peaks is to reduce the inertia of the two halves of the system. Diesel engines represent the most significant unit volume of torsional coupling applications. The torsional spring is a combination of the shaft and coupling's flexible element.Another required attribute for the motion control coupling is to withstand peak torque loads that are high relative to the nominal torque and size of the coupling. In such systems. it is the frequency at which the kinetic energy of spinning inertia blocks is equal to the potential energy of the torsional spring connecting the inertia blocks. From a technical standpoint. the spring winds up again.
For a two-mass system. couplings. which is higher than the static torsional stiffness. In a multi-mass system that includes more than two inertias connected by torsionally soft shafts. If it is close to any of those frequencies. the natural frequency can be determined using the Holzer method. Determining the Natural Frequency All rotating systems have a torsional natural frequency. Inertia is marked by the symbol "J". If it is decided to operate the system normally at an RPM above the torsional critical speed. Comparing the speed torque capabilities of the driver and the load will determine the system's ability to accelerate through the critical zone quickly enough.4 Nc. the natural frequency is harmless and does not generate torsional vibration. but is simply a sensitive spot along the systems RPM curve. it is not selfinitiating or self-sustaining. Reducing a system to a two-mass system is done by lumping inertias connected by torsionally stiff shaft elements. There is a natural frequency for each combination of inertia and spring.e. If it is in between those values there is a good chance the system vibratory response will cause damage to one or more components. rather it must be triggered by a vibratory force pulsing at that frequency. Aside from the kinds of torsionally sensitive systems discussed in this section. or sections. the downstream inertia must be factored by the square of the gear ratio (speed). (cycles per minute). When a gear reducer or increaser is involved. resonance is likely to occur. driver inertia and the torsional stiffness of the shaft. The coupling stiffness Ctdyn is obtained from the coupling manufacturer. i. It is called the dynamic torsional stiffness.7 Nc to 1. As long as the torsional natural frequency is more than 40% above or 30% below (. spacer and/or coupling connecting the two. If the timing is right. For a method of calculating the inertia value and the stiffness of connecting pieces refer to AGMA Standard 9004.5000 Campbell diagrams are graphic plots of operating speeds and pulse frequency. the winding and unwinding of the spring and the energy changes in the wheel resonate back and forth. It is a "forcing frequency". where Nc is the critical numerical value) the system's operating frequency or idling frequencies (RPM) or associated torsional vibration frequencies (CPM) no resonance problems should occur. A coupling is between the driver and the driven. CPM= (60/2π) SqRt (Ctdyn x (JA + JL) / (JA x JL)) CPM is the frequency in "cycles per minute". JA is the polar inertia of the driver JL is the polar inertia of the driven Ctdyn is the dynamic torsional stiffness of the coupling. The point where the timing is right is the system's natural frequency. most systems have torsional natural frequencies so high as to be inconsequential. It is related to WR2 by "g" the acceleration due to gravity.the torsional vibration. the frequency can be determined mathematically from the following equation. Many systems can be reduced to a two-mass system. . 60/2π is a constant. By itself. Refer to a textbook for an example of the Holzer analysis. the units in the English system are inch-pounds second squared. It is a function of the driven inertia. It is an inverse function. For example the lumped polar moment of inertia of the driver JA and the lumped polar moment of inertia of the driven equipment JL are determined by adding all the individual inertias that are connected by stiff shafts. They are used to identify the potential trouble spots where operating or idle RPM is equal to a torsional pulse frequency in CPM. (natural frequency) then the driver must have enough torque available to accelerate the load quickly through the critical speed zone (RPM).
some use elastomer blocks or elastomer cylinders. That type of system can become complex because the coupling is no longer the element that controls the stiffness. the system tends to be stiff when the coupling has a relatively high torsional stiffness and soft when the coupling has relatively high torsional softness. The compression block types are most often found in the high torque applications. . Stiff couplings have elastomers of the Zytel® and Hytrel® type of plastic or their flex elements are metal. and may have wear problems. it is usually just a matter of making sure the coupling is sufficiently torsionally stiff. They also can be used to damp the energy of torsional vibration to reduce its potential for damage. It works as long as the coupling is the controlling element for the critical frequency. Changing to a torsionally softer coupling lowers the system's natural (critical) frequency. That is not the case when long slender shafts are in the torque path. The coupling torsional stiffness/softness is an attribute that is important in serving these functions. loose parts or parts with backlash will vibrate and rattle. Using stiffer couplings to drive the critical frequency above the operating speed is as effective on simple systems like a single hydraulic pump driven by a diesel engine as it is on sophisticated high-speed couplings that are found on turbine driven rotating equipment. That could be accomplished by using a stiff spacer piece with a metallic-element coupling. Torsionally soft systems have a normal operating speed above the torsional critical speed while torsionally stiff systems have a normal operating speed well below the torsional critical speed. and reduces or eliminates the coupling's capacity to damp vibratory energy. That means torsional vibrations are passed into the driven system. Because the coupling is usually the softest torsional element in either system. This is called "tuning" the critical frequency.Using the Coupling to Tune Critical Frequency In the torsionally sensitive system. In such stiff systems. as previously discussed under motion control. Soft couplings are rubber elastomers in compression or in shear. The shear types are shaped to equalize stresses from torque and misalignment. or by using a very stiff elastomeric element on a flywheel coupling. couplings take on an important extra role beyond the transfer of driving torque and the handling of misalignment. Elastomeric couplings expected to damp torsional energy must be designed to reject the resulting heat to a heat sink. The more common compression types are of the donut or torus configuration. Those designs primarily serve systems that must transfer motion without windup or backlash. Typically spline shafts on hydraulic pumps and gears with backlash suffer the wear. Changing to a torsionally stiffer coupling raises the system's natural (critical) frequency. The torsionally stiff elastomeric coupling and the torsionally stiff metallic element coupling offer no damping between the driver and the driven equipment. An exception would occur when a system has a long slender shaft. which usually means the lowest critical frequency would be the result of that shaft. so that function and the heat it will generate through hysteresis needs to be considered in the selection. They have the ability to move the natural frequency away from those levels that will be occupied by the torsional vibratory frequency at normal operating or idling speeds. Elastomeric torsional couplings can be either compression type or shear types. The coupling manufacturer can provide the necessary information on coupling and spacer piece stiffness. However. Otherwise the heat will fail the elastomer by melting from the inside out. Couplings with the highest levels of torsional stiffness are not used here. but also may increase the coupling's capacity to damp vibratory energy. When the coupling is used in the regimen of keeping the critical frequency high.
They incorporate two different elements. Refer to the torsional coupling section and the metallic element section of this handbook for a more detailed description of the couplings used to damp torsional vibration and/or tune critical frequencies. Torsionally Sensitive Systems Torsional vibration problems appear primarily in four types of applications briefly discussed here. except when a lock up device is engaged to mechanically connect the two halves. When going from startup to the running speed the driver must accelerate the load through the critical speed quickly. it becomes two separate torsional systems. Dual stage torsional couplings can also be obtained.000 RPM or less. At start-up the motor produces torque pulses at a frequency equal to two times the slip frequency. High Speed Machines High-speed machines have torsional pulses or vibrations at high frequencies. Also refer to the bibliography for more publications on this subject. (Slip frequency is numerically equal to full synchronous speed minus operating speed. Variable Frequency Drives The VFD will produce a torsional pulse at low speeds that is larger than those generated at faster speeds. the torque pulses drop in frequency reaching zero at full synchronous speed. Some torsional coupling types utilize viscous friction damping This method is found in hydraulic torque converters. A discussion about high-speed special purpose couplings and the associated equipment torsional problems can be found in many of the coupling textbooks. As the unit accelerates to full speed. and transmit torque between them through the motion of a viscous fluid. lower-torque couplings generally are used on applications that require 100 HP at 2. The softer.Torsional softness and torque capabilities are opposite coupling characteristics. or to devise a coupling with broad capabilities as a standard unit that serves many applications. One is soft for low or idle speed and a stiffer one for high or operational speed. no lower than 90% below maximum will alleviate the problem in that type of system. gas engines (natural or LPG or propane or . Keeping the operating speed above 10% of the maximum speed. The relationship between the two functions therefore must be a compromise. but soft torsional couplings have a high vibratory response when passing through the critical speed. The coupling must be soft enough at startup to dampen some torsional vibration energy. Hydraulic torque converters are not included in this handbook's discussion of flexible couplings. They are gasoline engines. i.) The magnitude of the pulse is related to the torque developed by the motor. The torsional vibrations or vibratory torque ceases at that point. Acceleration through the critical frequency is a function of the torque available from the motor at starting. Synchronous Motors Synchronous motor start-up is a unique situation.e. They are a sophisticated coupling application. Torsional vibrations do not pass through the torque converter. A problem will occur if a torsional natural frequency is less than two times the AC power line frequency. Torque capability increases with torsional stiffness of the flex elements. High torque synchronous motors will also have high vibratory pulses that need the damping of torsionally soft couplings. as the start-up torque pulse frequency must then pass through the critical frequency. but stiff enough to carry the high torque at running speed. When a system uses a torque converter. Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engine Drives There are three main types of engines in common use. as well as difficulty carrying the high torque loads. therefore the natural (critical) frequencies must be kept even higher. which is not covered in this handbook. A soft coupling tends to have lower torque capabilities than similar sizes of stiff couplings. which mechanically isolate the driven system from the driver. The coupling designer must balance the various attributes to achieve the desired coupling for the specific application.
The problems start when these harmonic vibrations pass to the driven equipment. Like magnitude. it is also necessary to know the frequency of the pulse. Pulse frequencies are the RPM multiplied by the order. the coupling is selected with three torque values in mind. Gas engines (Natural. The manufacturer will publish the torque value at 100. In a diesel drive system the torque pulse is a function of cylinder pressure. the configuration. a service factor is redundant except for high starting torque. If the natural frequency were also 6300 or 12600 CPM. Elastomer couplings may require derate factors on the coupling capabilities for temperature or frequency or speed. the engine geometry. For more discussion on the various torque values found in an operating system see the chapter called "Applications ". The diesel is the most efficient of the three so it is very popular for continuous duty applications in those regions of the world that have high fuel prices. If any of the torsional frequencies are equal to a natural frequency the system will vibrate at resonance. Coupling Selection for Torsional Systems In addition to the damping possibilities. Usually it is the driver horsepower and operating speed. and whether it is a two or four stroke engine. Note the frequency in CPM and speed in RPM is the same units in this case. A 6-cylinder 4stroke inline engine will have major harmonic orders of 3 and 6. While the magnitude of the torsional pulse is important. The preponderance of diesel drive systems can utilize a simple analysis to select the right coupling. The magnitude of the pulse is a function of the cylinder pressure. The first would be the continuous running torque. The third is the maximum torque pulse or peak torque. The engine itself is designed to tolerate its internally generated forces from torsional vibration and may include some internal damping. Also note that diesels typically have several torsional pulse frequencies.000 non-reversing cycles. The second is continuous vibratory torque. the engine should not be operated at 2100 RPM. established at harmonic intervals. The coupling should damp this torque without a meltdown from heat generation. For example an engine running at 2100 RPM will have pulse frequencies of 6300 and 12600 CPM. That value is normally in excess of the load requirements or is tied closely to the load requirements. etc. . The coupling should be capable of handling this torque under all environmental conditions of the applications. Couplings that are oversized by using service factors can also be too stiff. the stroke (two or four) and the firing order. Gasoline and natural gas engines are spark-ignited low cylinder pressure types as compared to the compression-ignited diesel engine. such as "V" or inline. number of strokes for firing. pulse frequency is dependent on many factors. The diesel drive rotating system accounts for the majority of the torsional vibration problems due to its high cylinder pressures and resulting high magnitude of torsional harmonic pulse compounded by its widespread popularity. and diesel engines. The coupling rating is a fatigue life in that case.other). The pulse occurs as a vibratory response torque at critical speed. however the marine system should be analyzed by an expert in that field. use of turbocharging. which requires very high cylinder pressure. That value becomes the forcing torque that puts the natural frequency into critical resonant vibration. internal damping. All internal combustion engines generate a torsional vibratory pulse. Maximum or Peak and Vibratory Torque It is important when analyzing the torsionally sensitive coupling application to know the value for the generated vibratory torque. engine's displacement. Since the coupling also will be judged against peak or maximum transients in the system. A derate factor is not a service factor. turbo charging. Those factors can include the number of cylinders. number of cylinders. Continuous Running Torque This is the design torque for the system. LPG or Propane) are most popular where these gases are readily available or where air pollution is a serious problem like the inner cities. Special attention must then be given to selecting couplings that can help reduce these problems Diesel drives range from the simple low-horsepower single-unit hydraulic pump to a marine installation in which the diesel will drive the propeller and generators through a gear reducer.
this does not provide meaningful friction so additional devices are needed to keep the hub in place and transfer torque. The coupling must dissipate the heat to survive. has the potential to damage downstream components. such as a hydraulic pump spline shaft. it is then possible to calculate the values for the vibratory response.Lloyds Register of Shipping publishes a pamphlet that is a good source of harmonic pulse factors used to determine the harmonic vibratory torque of diesel engines. like the type transmitted through the stiff coupling system. spline shafts and others that the coupling must match. Shaft Size Shaft size is one of the first considerations in coupling selection. also known as shrink fits. it's helpful to understand the basics of shaft sizing. If the values are plotted on a graph of torque vs. Before delving into that topic. the torque pulse transmitted downstream to the system is reduced from the original value. but the damping type coupling is the best bet. Therefore. The peak torque generated at critical speed must not exceed the maximum torque capability of the coupling. There are several ways to do this. polygon shafts. Because of the damping. The interface of the coupling hub and the shaft must be able to transmit torque and reactionary loads without slipping.000 reversing cycles. without backlash. Conclusions Torsional systems are a special case for coupling applications. but it is not uncommon to find taper shafts. It is also likely that more than one pulse is generated in the operating range. are susceptible to this damage unless they are protected. Once past peak the coupling will dampen the vibratory response starting at about 1. The Campbell diagram shows the ones in the operating range. Most shafts are cylindrical at the point of coupling attachment. Once the initial pulse torque is known. the coupling hub-toshaft interface is an important part of the coupling design. market. All values to the left of peak (below critical) are higher than the initial value. Most couplings mount with one of two basic types of interface. In clearance fits.4 times critical RPM. Loose connections. Equipment that is driven directly off the diesel flywheel or by synchronous motors should always be given an extended system analysis for torsional vibrations. This is very true of diesel engines. develop shaft standards in the U. Interference fits.S. Both types of fit are discussed below in more detail under "Coupling Attachment and Torque Transmission". All the vibrations must be accounted for if they are in or near the operating range. either clearance fit or interference fit. The torque pulse transmitted down the system can trigger other forced responses or vibrations. Actually there are several damping possibilities in a system. through their trade associations or via common practice. which results in heat generation. The manufacturers of other drivers or driven equipment should be able to provide the similar forcing torque values for their equipment. flanged shafts. without contributing to unbalance and without causing vibration. Mounting the Coupling on the Shaft In order for the coupling to be effective it must first be secured to the shafts of the connected equipment. Thus an undamped pulse. speed. mean the hub bore is slightly smaller than the shaft. That value is shown in the coupling capabilities as the Tkmax for 100. the peak will occur at the critical RPM. Its capability to dissipate heat is reflected in the published continuous vibratory torque rating. Obviously. and binds tightly to the shaft by means of the size difference. The engine manufacturers could also provide the information. the coupling bore is sized so the shaft will slide snugly but freely into the hole. The metric marketplace uses . At continuous operating speeds the vibratory torque capability of the coupling must be greater than the vibratory response torque pulse. Equipment designers.000 cycles or 50. The damping is energy absorbed by the coupling through hystersis.
Typically the shaft system in the US market is defined by the motor manufacturer through NEMA. These shaft and bore dimensions would be defined by a standard such as ANSI B4. Shaft shapes other than cylindrical or spline present a problem for coupling selection. depending on the type of fit being used. The spline shaft is also a torque transmission device and is discussed later in this section. The equipment designer and the coupling manufacturer must agree on the applicable standard or the proper interface dimensions. If an interference fit is desired. impellers and bearings as well as couplings.2 standard "normally the hole system is preferred. When facing this situation. When the shaft basis system is used in metric measurements. That would result in a hub that is bored to 29. In U. Under these conditions. Standard metric coupling hubs are bored. A less precise standard allowing a tolerance +0. measure again with a metric instrument to see if perhaps it meets a preferred metric size. It is usually a good bet to assume that the designer used a preferred shaft size. by the gear box manufacturer or by the manufacturer of equipment such as pumps or compressors.252 inches for a clearance fit or is as small as 1. Those coupling hub bores would be defined by a standard such as AGMA 9002-A86 Bores and Keyways for Flexible Couplings (Inch Series).0005. If measuring with an inch type instrument. JIS standards are similar to metric standards.250 inches. Of course the coupling has to mate with the shafts of two different rotors. to an H7 tolerance unless specified to a different dimension. but could be as big as 1. standards. New applications of couplings on newly designed equipment follow the lead of the equipment designer's shaft system and fit requirements. The tolerance (h6 is usually chosen) would be +0. The tolerance. For the metric markets it is expressed as a hole basis. The fit of shaft to hub would then depend on the shaft size and would range from clearance to interference. It would have a hole (bore) diameter that starts with 1.250 inches.250/1. leads to a strange dimension.000-0. An exception would occur when a shaft has been dressed or repaired.21978 Preferred Metric Limits and Fits or (when available) an AGMA standard.249 inches. On a shaft basis system. The coupling hub bore would take its beginning dimension from the shaft depending on the type of fit being used. or JIS standards in Japanese-influenced marketplaces. a P7 hub tolerance is usually chosen. They are matched to an equipment shaft that is h6. especially when the new coupling is a different type or from a different manufacturer.986/29. k6. Coupling manufacturers' catalogs have charts and tables that define shaft/bore combinations for their products. the hole-to-shaft fit is expressed on a shaft basis.000 mm. Note that shaft fits are defined with lower case letters such as h6 and bore fits are defined with upper case letters such as H7. its maximum diameter is 30mm.0000 . Some difficulty might occur when replacing an old coupling with a new one. the shaft basis system should be used. first determine whether shaft dimensions are metric or inch type.S. if the preferred shaft diameter is 30mm.ISO standards for the most part. if the preferred shaft diameter is 1¼ inches. Nameplates can also provide assistance. The complete description would be 30h6 for a shaft diameter and 30H7 for a bore diameter. j6.021 mm (H7).952 mm. but could be as big as 30. Other common hub bore tolerances are H6 and P7.2500/1. or m6.0130 mm. if chosen from the motor manufacturers NEMA standard.0.2495 inches. by the manufacturer. For a clearance fit it would have a hole (bore) diameter that starts at 30. Shaft basis means the maximum shaft size is basic. . Which one should be used? To quote from the ANSI B4. Hole basis means the minimum hole size is basic. when a common shaft mates with several holes.249 inches for an interference fit. If a specific fit is desired the coupling manufacturer and the equipment manufacturer must agree on the hub bore tolerance. such as wheels. then selected a coupling bore to match.0000 -0. The coupling hub bore would take its beginning dimension from the shaft.001 would accept a shaft diameter range of 1." Most rotating equipment has a shaft that mates with several holes. its maximum diameter is 1. Basic means that it is the starting dimension to which tolerances are applied. the acceptable shaft diameter range becomes 1. however. would be +0.
003 inches per inch of shaft diameter. secure against reactionary loads. Sometimes a larger bore (smaller ratio) is safe when the torque is low in relation to shaft diameter. Shrink fits are also accomplished by using hydraulic force to expand the hub and slide it on the shaft. Although several parts of the coupling system affect the amount of torque transmitted (including the flexible element. Over-bored clearance hubs fail from fatigue at the corner of the keyway or at the setscrew hole. with splines able to use small values and clearance fits tending toward the higher values. The capability of the shaft/hub juncture to transmit torque is indicated by the length of hub covering the shaft (called length through bore or LTB) and the ratio hub OD to the bore diameter. square shaft ends and hexagonal shafts can all transfer the torque directly to the hub without keys. The number and type of coupling hub keyways vary widely.5. These are described in a following section. whereas overbored shrink fit and bushing-type hubs will split in the process of mounting on the shaft. Woodruff keys are used on small-diameter shafts. This depends on the type of interface. Interference fits are used with keyed shafts and heavy shrink fits are used with keyless shafts.001 inches of shrink per inch of shaft diameter plus 50° to 75°. and to assure effective torque transfer between shaft and hub.3 to 1. One frictional method used on some small or low torque devices is the axially split hub drawn together with clamping screws. speed and/or other forces. This discussion will focus on hub-to-shaft mounting considerations only. It can be calculated at 160°F per 0. placed one over the key way and one around the circumference of the shaft in the same axial plane. It is best to have the coupling manufacturer check the stress levels on all over-bored specifications. In clearance fit hubs used without keys. They are chosen by rotating equipment designers for many reasons including ease of assembly and ease of maintenance. The clearance fit with setscrews generally can be used on shafts up to 4 inches in diameter. Clearance fit hubs with keys commonly use a setscrew tightened radially against the key to hold both key and hub in place. For keyed fits the torque is transmitted by the key. Interference (shrink) fits offer a third method for securing the hub to the shaft. Shrink fits without keys. In most cases. D shaped shafts. Known as a heavy shrink fit. Polygon shafts. Shrink fits involve heating the hub to expand the bore so it will fit over the shaft.0015 to 0. a rectangular key is used on larger bores. splines or setscrews. Another method used on high torque transmission applications is a clamping ring or a shrink disc. That ratio assures that the hub will not split from the loading. which rely solely on the fit friction to transmit torque. The friction resulting from the interference keeps the hub in place when subject to various loads such as reactionary forces.Coupling Attachment and Torque Transmission Several different techniques are used to hold the coupling hub to its shaft. The hub OD to bore diameter ratio typically ranges from 1. then letting it cool and shrink into a secure grip. Most industrial applications use keys to transmit torque from shaft to coupling hub. A single square keyway is most popular on industrial coupling applications up to 6.5 to 1. Two rectangular keyways are also used on very large hub bores. use shrink rates of 0. and any bolted connections between the hubs). The length of hub covering the shaft usually ranges from 0. They are used with gear and disc and other high torque couplings on both straight and tapered shafts. the way it is attached to the hubs . improve the effect of limiting backlash and holding the hub tight to the key under stop-start conditions. Woodruff keys are thin and have a circular keyseat in the shaft.Differential here refers to the relative temperatures of hub and shaft.5 times the bore diameter. the setscrew is usually tightened against a flat seat machined into the shaft circumference. the keyless type offers an obvious advantage for . the functions are interrelated so we will discuss them together.003 to 0. Dual setscrews. The temperature differential used for shrink-fit installation usually ranges from 200°F to 400°F. torque transmission from the shaft to the coupling hub relies on friction. Shrink fits with keys to provide torque transfer use a shrink of 0.00075 inches per inch of shaft diameter.5 inches diameter. gravity. In applications with round shafts and no keys.
locking assemblies.5. The devices can be installed and removed without heat. This can be accomplished by either attaching the hub to a flat plate or by making one hub in the form of a flat plate. the taper forces the split halves of the bushing together. All these devices were developed to make the attachment of the coupling hub to equipment shaft easy while still transmitting the proper torque. The bushing. The devices also prevent fretting. do not require a taper bore in the hub and are able to transmit high torque. The locking assembly is activated by cap screws that are tightened to provide an axial load which then becomes a radial pressure between hub and shaft. essentially a split ring with a matching taper. A popular tapered shaft device is the mill motor that uses a standard tapered shaft with key. and backlash in the hubs. The tapered shaft uses an interference fit. When extra bore capacity is available.applications where balance is important.3 to 1. sliding. Shrink discs and clamping bushings are external hub locking devices. They are commonly called shrink discs. Consult the coupling manufacturer when contemplating this type of fit. the shaft size capability of the hub is reduced because the bushing takes up some of the hub's bore space normally available for the shaft. The plate has a pilot OD and holes of the proper . The end plate and bolts or nut will serve to prevent axial movement under loads. Heavy interference requires heating or hydraulic force. The hydraulic force expands the hub and pushes the hub onto the shaft. Bushings require that a taper bore be machined into the hub. The hub can be pushed onto the shaft using a end plate and nut. The hub must be checked to determine if it is strong enough to accommodate the device at the expected torque transmission values. The taper can be in either direction depending on the installation. Another version uses hydraulic pressure to activate the locking force. The devices are locked to the hub and shaft until deliberately released. locking elements or clamping bushings. Both use built-in opposing tapers or inclined planes as the means to squeeze the hub onto the shaft or to expand into an internal locking position between the hub and the shaft. and Shrink Disks Shaft locking devices can use a combination of friction and keys to transfer the torque from shaft to coupling hub. the coupling can use a tapered bushing. Shrink discs are more popular in metric applications. wobble. adding a bushing makes the hub-OD-to-shaft-diameter raise to a range of 1. Since the hub must maintain the hub OD-to-bore-diameter ratio range of 1. Medium interference will require that the hub be heated to be installed as the friction can not be overcome otherwise. When a bushing is used. Flywheel Attachments Couplings used for diesel engine applications mount on the engine flywheel. Setscrews and cap screws are tightened to a specified torque value. are free of backlash. Shaft Locking Devices: Bushings.9 to 3. There are external and internal frictional locking devices that use opposing tapers to develop radial forces that lock hubs to shafts without using keys. The devices are a self-contained part that is added to the basic coupling. It can be the keyed type or the keyless type. The dimensions of the hub are modified to allow the device to work properly.0 and sometimes more. Torque is transferred by friction from shaft to bushing to hub.Locking assemblies or locking elements are internal devices mounted into a counter bore in the hub. As the bushing moves into the tapered bore. For light interference it is accomplished by pushing a hub (with a matching tapered bore) on to the tapered shaft until the desired interference is reached. Tapered shafts are used for ease of maintenance. It should also be noted that heavy shrink fits are used with hub materials of sufficient strength. which clamps the bushing tightly to the shaft and wedges it into the tapered bore of the hub. is inserted from the wide side of the taper and drawn into the bore by setscrews or cap screws threaded into the hub. The plate thickness is designed to transmit the required torque from the flywheel to the coupling. but are growing in use on inch applications.
Splines utilize seventeen specific pitches from 2. For comparison. Spline involutes can have 30°. Full contact of all teeth normally would allow a length equal to 1/3 the Pd. on the shaft. Setscrews are used. These are usually SAE straight-sided splines. The more popular standard in North America and Europe is the SAE flywheel standard J620d. Depending on the shaft spline tolerance the hub will be very loose or tight. and to transmit torque from one to the other without intentional relative motion or intentional misalignment. but tend to cause the shaft spline to be scored. is a function of torque-carrying needs and tooth contact.5 to 128 teeth per inch of pitch diameter. Splines present a problem for holding the hub in place because their normal tolerances tend to promote axial hub movement and backlash. 6. These are in accordance with standards for the dimensions on flywheels that were originally made for use with mechanical clutches. Their big advantage is ease of assembly. so to ensure sufficient torque-carrying capability. cut axially inside the bore of the coupling hub. . or 45° pressure angles (PA). Splines are also flat root or fillet root. the effective length usually is 2/3 the Pd and can equal the Pd. In these cases the flywheel is not dimensioned for a mechanical clutch. or teeth. The spline is used to locate shaft and hub with respect to each other. splines always have stub teeth that allow easier assembly. Spline tooth length. such as the shaft OD. while the external spline (shaft spline) is modifiable across the other tolerance classes. Splines have major diameter fits that are always loose. stress other system components and reduce operating efficiency. Under this system. The hub spline is usually a class 5 tolerance. 5. distorted or otherwise damaged. Only 50% contact can be counted on. Splines have 4 tolerance levels. or other proprietary methods. designated Class 4. which can destroy the spline profile. even blind assembly.size on a bolt circle that matches the engine flywheel. All tolerances are fixed so that the spacing between the teeth and the width of the teeth are equal at the maximum tooth and minimum space. This means the spline tooth is one-half the height of a standard gear tooth. and 7 with Class 5 considered as the base. Some OEM applications involve enough production quantity to justify having the flywheel and the coupling hub matched to each other. While these tolerances effect the precision of the teeth they do not dictate the fit between two pieces. with 30° by far being the most common. but not line to line or tighter. Pitch is designated with a numerator and denominator such as 4/8 with the ratio for spline pitches as 1 to 2. Hub splines always have the same tolerance. Misalignment on these applications is usually limited to a tolerance stackup of the connected parts. A collar and/or a snap ring might be used to limit axial movement. Involute teeth are considered to have greater torque carrying capacities than straight-sided teeth. but is sized for a specific inertia. The shaft is always supposed to fit into the hub no matter the tolerance match. Splines are usually slide fits and can be locational as side fit or major diameter fit. That pressure angle is chosen for strength of tooth as well as manufacturing considerations. a key-driven shaft-to-hub assembly usually uses a key length of 1 to 1½ times the shaft OD on clearance fits. 37½°. all of which are attached to the engine block. Splines can be involute tooth or straight-sided teeth. There is a need to limit axial movement and backlash movement. Spline hubs can use the split hub clamping technique described previously. Some machine tool and automotive splines fit on the minor diameter because grinding equipment more easily accesses that diameter. which fit into corresponding grooves. Splines Splines can be considered as parallel keys cut axially around the end of the shaft. The coupling hub has bolt holes that match a set of holes on the flywheel eliminating the need for a mounting plate or a special plate type hub. Torque is always transmitted side to side between teeth. The pitch diameter (Pd) is usually dictated by the geometry of the parts to be assembled. Many teeth rather than fewer teeth ensure multiple tooth shaft-to-hub contact under load.
Coupling Alignment The coupling should never be the basis for allowable misalignment because it can accommodate far more misalignment than can be tolerated by the other connected pieces of equip. as no two coupling types are alike. Sometimes a thrust bearing at the coupling end of the shaft will direct axial movement or growth away from the coupling. . or the driver. They are parallel offset (radial) misalignment. Although the elastomeric type has only one flex plane. but with some offset between their axial centers. the greater the axial distance between the two flex planes. System alignment should be based first on the minimum requirements of the driven equipment. Accommodating such offset requires either a full flex coupling (with two flex planes) or two single flex couplings in series. the greater the coupling's parallel (radial) capability. Spacer couplings are good for extra radial displacement and close-coupled couplings such as a standard flanged sleeve gear coupling provide the minimum. A coupling with a pivot point on one side and a rigid shaft attachment on the other is called a single flex. Angular Misalignment Angular misalignment occurs when the axial centers of driving and driven shafts intersect. and dual element disc or diaphragm types. The coupling may have ten times the capability for misalignment that can be tolerated by the rotating equipment. For other types of couplings you should refer to the literature. Single element disc or diaphragm couplings provide for angular misalignment only. Misalignment is a leading cause of bearing and seal failures. broken shafts and coupling failures. Another well-known source of axial movement is the rotor that seeks its magnetic centers. The coupling must either accommodate axial movement or contain it by transferring the thrust to the bearing system of the rotor. and then the coupling. Axial displacement is considered a form of misalignment that the coupling may need to deal with. Typical full flex couplings include gear. Limited end float may or may not be invoked in such a case. Thermal growth is the result of high temperature in the rotating equipment causing an unconfined growth along the length of its shaft. There are three variations to shaft misalignment. Spindle couplings and floating shaft couplings provide the maximum capability by further spreading the flex planes. angular misalignment and the combination of angular and parallel offset. The flex plane of an elastomeric coupling is within the elastomer itself. A full flex coupling has two pivot points with one attached to each of the connected shafts. In either case. oil leakage from bearing frames. or link coupling. flex rigid. such as the hub tooth to sleeve tooth interface in a gear coupling. It is always important that the equipment be aligned as close as possible. Flex-rigid or half couplings provide only angular misalignment. because there is only one flex plane. Axial Displacement Axial misalignment or in-out movement is often associated with thermal shaft growth and floating rotors. Those that contain it are called limited end float couplings. or half coupling. Note that the pivot point can be in the loose fit between separate parts. Single element couplings are used on three bearing systems and on one end of floating shaft systems. Planes of Flexibility We could look at the plane of flexibility as pivot points within the coupling. but sometimes the thrust bearing is at the other end of the shaft. or in the bending of a continuous flexing element such as used in disc or diaphragm. grid. vibration. Radial or Parallel Misalignment Parallel (radial) misalignment occurs when the driving and driven shafts are parallel. Elastomeric couplings can also be made as spacer or floating shaft types to a limited extent. keeping within the economics and sophistication of the system. The location of a thrust bearing is a factor in the determination of axial containment. Sometimes axial thrust is deliberately transferred to another machine through the coupling. the elastomer can distort enough in some cases to provide significant parallel offset capability if it has sufficient resilience.
high power system requires close alignment.0005 inch . In the case of elastomeric couplings. With tooth modification that misalignment can be increase to as much as 6°. Published data for the disc and diaphragm coupling types range from ¼° to 1°. Acceptable Misalignment A high speed. The coupling manufacturers' catalog or published information should always be consulted for actual values of misalignment and torque derating requirements. Misalignment will cause fatigue forces. Other types such as the diaphragm coupling can flex or stretch to allow some axial displacement. Others publish their torque ratings at rated full misalignment. The elastomeric coupling is not very tolerant of axial displacement. High-speed gear coupling units might be reduced to ¼° per mesh. In other types of elastomeric coupling axial distortion would overload the elastomer when combined with normal misalignment and nominal torque transmission. The reduction in life can come from higher wear and the reduction in torque from high fatigue forces. needs alignment to . where parallel offset capability results from distortion within a single flex plane. The elastomeric coupling is not a good unit for axial float or axial displacement. The conversion of angular to radial misalignment capability is a matter of plane geometry. In the gear coupling the hub teeth are free to slide axially within the sleeve while in mesh. Gear couplings can be made to limit end float with the addition of a plate and/or button between the coupling halves. Coupling misalignment is usually given in terms of angular misalignment that can be converted to radial or parallel when two flex planes are used. parallel capability is listed in conjunction with the angular. The torque capability of a coupling is reduced when the coupling is misaligned. Some manufacturers publish their torque ratings as a maximum value and require that the user de-rate by some factor to determine usable nominal torque. The amount available depends on many factors. Misalignment capabilities and torque capabilities are interrelated. axial movement is met with resistance that increases as the displacement increases. Axial displacement is available from either the fullflex or the flex-rigid unit. although the gear coupling needs some misalignment to push the lubricant to the friction surfaces of the teeth. The radial offset distance is the product of the tangent of the angle of misalignment and the distance between flex points. For example high speed equipment (running at 3000 RPM or more). and in fact specials are available for long sliding applications. At that much misalignment you may decide to change the pressure angle to strengthen the tooth.Gear couplings exhibit the best capability to handle axial misalignment or movement. Other metallic element flexible couplings have a wide range of angular capabilities. general-purpose equipment is aligned to a looser specification. The elastomer couplings such as the jaw types and the unclamped donut elastomer in shear type couplings are limited to 1° or 1½°. but there are no limiters that stop the slide and the coupling disengages. It is true that misalignment. When the coupling is selected it should be able to carry the nominal torque while misaligned per the application. Gear couplings are capable of 1½° of misalignment per gear mesh. The flexing link coupling is suitable for 6° while the torsional spring coupling can be used up to 4½° of angular. The disc coupling can also. Sometimes the unit can slide in one direction. In both the disc and the diaphragm coupling. but to a lesser degree than the diaphragm coupling. That would be the method for spindle couplings. Donut type elastomer couplings are suitable for 3° of angular misalignment. Misalignment Comparison by Coupling Type The coupling manufacturers' full line catalog is a good starting point for a comparison of misalignment capabilities. torque capabilities and coupling life are intertwined.
Large size couplings. Because weight usually reflects size. General-purpose equipment can be acceptable at . The preceding recommendations are usually used with "close coupled" equipment. High-speed machines. When a gear coupling is misaligned. Severe misalignment will impose a heavy vibratory force on the equipment. The loads imposed by the coupling are related to the point of loading. The drivers and driven equipment must have sufficient design strength to deal with the increased reactionary load. The pivot point or flex plane is the location of the loading for the coupling. (less power intensive types) may also be made from light materials to reduce their weight and their inertia.001 inches per inch of separation. Disc and diaphragm couplings utilize the flexing of thin metal elements to handle the misalignment. Reaction forces in the elastomer coupling are a function of the resiliency and may also have some friction components. reactionary forces result from the sliding friction of the tooth to tooth movement. Tire type couplings exert a thrust load also as the centrifugal force acts on the tire. The sliding friction is considerable when dealing with metal-to-metal contact. Smaller values will improve the operation but should be consistent with the equipment manufacturer recommendation. the friction or drag forces become a bending moment on the system. Large amounts of parallel misalignment are acceptable only on machines operating at slow speed. The force to bend becomes the force of the reaction in the classic physics truth about equal and opposite reaction forces. The friction is not unlike the sliding of gear teeth and occurs on couplings like the jaw units. Distortion of a elastomeric donut or misalignment in a jaw coupling will impose a bending moment. In gear couplings. Exceeding acceptable misalignment contributes to vibration problems. There is some lubricant but it is a very thin film. Equipment with spacer couplings or even floating shafts may be designed for ease of maintenance rather than for the increased misalignment capability that would be possible. The reactionary loads include the weight of the coupling. Elastomeric couplings exhibit different kinds of forces depending on the type of coupling. the more power intensive couplings (those with higher torque capacity for smaller size. The greater the misalignment the greater the reactionary load. The bending moment reactionary load can be 10% of the value of the torque transmitted. these rules of thumb would not necessarily apply. always remember that acceptable system misalignment is still dictated by equipment capabilities. Reactionary Loads from Misalignment Shaft to shaft misalignment causes couplings to impose reactionary loads on the connected equipment. not the coupling's ability to withstand the misalignment. Special design alterations to the couplings and the connected equipment can also be required in those cases. In such situations. It is sometimes necessary to have large amounts of parallel displacement built into the equipment installation. both angular and axial. When spacers and floating shafts are chosen for the ability to allow radial displacements of two pieces of equipment. even those with spacers and floating shafts must be aligned closely to limit the vibration and the reactionary loads. such as gear couplings) will have the advantage of lower reactionary forces at comparable torque loads. Those couplings that move the pivot point closer to the next available bearing are . Elastomeric couplings in shear will impose a thrust (axial) load on the adjacent machine parts. At that value it is many times the reaction load of a disc coupling. The thinner the element the less force it takes to bend the metal. Different types of couplings produce different reactionary loads.(or better) per inch of flex point separation. Link couplings and spring couplings also provide a reactionary force in proportion to the loading force.
There are many books and papers written on the "how to" of alignment. After all it is the machinery bearings that ultimately carry the extra loading. It is a trial and error process. Methods to Check Alignment Straight Edge and Taper Gage Alignment A straight edge is used to determine the shaft offset by eye. Each method has its strengths and weakness and all can be satisfactory depending on the skill of the installer. Before aligning the equipment it is best to check for those occurrences. Dial indicators are used with the reverse indicator and the face and rim method. It is used for both vertical and horizontal planes. but the least accurate. and angularity of the shafts can be determined. That would be the simplest method. The reader should see those for details of alignment. For example.termed "reduced moment" couplings. however the alignment still must be checked and likely adjusted at the final installation. The coupling is aligned cold at one location with the expectation that movement will bring it to closer alignment. The face and rim method uses the dial indicator mounted on one coupling hub to take readings on the face and the rim of the second coupling hub. When aligning the coupling. Alignment Occurs at Installation Alignment is accomplished at the final installation point of the equipment. . Alignment can be measured by use of a straight edge and feeler gage (or calipers or taper gage). Equipment can be aligned when the driver and the driven equipment is assembled at the manufacturer. These indicators are accurate to ± 1 mil. Dial Indicator Alignment Dial indicators are used with the reverse indicator or the face and rim method. In addition to temperature considerations the rotating equipment alignment can be affected by tolerance stackup. because they reduce the reactionary load imposed on the bearing. The shaft separation or "BSE" dimension is measured with a ruler. the installer must take into account the conditions affecting the rotating machinery. readings are taken from coupling hub on shaft "A" to the rim of the coupling hub on shaft "B". In the reverse indicator method. Not only is it important to understand where the equipment is at standstill. A motor rotor will seek its magnetic center causing a thrust that must be transmitted through the coupling to the next thrust bearing. The taper gage (or calipers or feeler gage) is used for angular misalignment. Some are listed in the bibliography. The most modern method uses a laser alignment system. the foundation and conditions such as bent shafts or soft foot. pipe loading. Sometimes the determining the position of the rotating equipment at operating temperature is the most difficult part of alignment and installation. Again with graphical plotting or a computer and plane geometry the misalignment of both types can be determined. The following paragraphs are for the purpose of general descriptions of the processes. The initial cold alignment should be within the coupling and rotating equipment capabilities. hot operating equipment grows when it is brought up to operating temperature. Both sets of readings are plotted on graph paper or become the input to a personal computer program. With the proper calculations in plane geometry. That axial displacement is a misalignment problem for the equipment. but also it is important to know where the equipment will move when in operation. Alignment is done when the coupling is installed. the misalignment of both parallel offset. The dial indicators are mounted on the shaft opposite to the reading to be taken. A second set of readings are taken from the coupling hub on shaft "B" to the rim of the coupling hub on shaft "A".
There are many combinations of angles and spacing which can be calculated by plane geometry to obtain the ideal situation for an application. gears meshing. Because coupling unbalance forces contribute to vibration. First. the coupling can transmit reactionary loads and vibration that are within the coupling capabilities. One of the causes of lateral vibration is an unbalanced mass within the rotor. Conclusions Proper installation and alignment procedures are included with the installation instructions of rotating equipment and couplings. and internal machine functions. unbalance. The standards have been developed through empirical data generated over years of service conditions as well as design and testing. It occurs regardless of whether the axis is vertical or horizontal. Lasers are accurate to ± 3 micron or better. Coupling (Un) Balance Balance in any rotating system is important because without it the system vibrates. the coupling or both. Often the coupling manufacturer can provide further guidelines for installing the coupling and aligning the rotating equipment. Coupling unbalance can be a serious contributor to vibratory forces for two reasons. and critical speeds. The device can be a reflector or can be the photodiode target cell that will generate a voltage. The laser is a light beam that is very narrow and focused. Other commercial mechanical and electrical devices can obtain the results by measuring the positions of two shafts. Second. Other forces that are vibratory in nature include vane passing frequencies. Reducing the rotor unbalance is an important method of reducing vibration. Also there are many companies within specific industries that provide alignment service. Vibration can occur in lateral. the . reducing coupling unbalance can be an important means of preventing these kinds of problems. High speed high powered equipment often is ordered with the services of installation start up supervision from the manufacturer. or perpendicular to the axis of rotation). The amount of voltage that is generated will depend on the position of the light beam as it hits the cell. but not the equipment capabilities. Lateral vibration refers to sideways movement (radial. There are many published papers and pamphlets on the subject.This method can be very accurate if done with graphical assistance or computer assistance. but only lateral vibration involves coupling unbalance so the others will not be discussed here. But we cannot discuss coupling unbalance without first understanding a little bit about the relationship between vibration. not the coupling manufacturers. But perfect balance is not achievable. external system variations. That service is well worth its extra cost. misalignment. A reflector will cause the beam to return to a target cell that is mounted with the laser generator. The beam generating equipment is mounted on the equipment shaft and aimed at a device on the opposite shaft. Laser Beam Alignment Laser beam alignment uses the laser to replace the dial indicator. torsional or axial directions. Always keep in mind that equipment should be aligned to the rotating equipment manufacturers' standards and requirements. There are standards to help them. Vibration in rotating systems invariably results in problems ranging from premature wear to severe damage and failure in all parts of the system. When operating misaligned. It is a little more accurate. pressure pulsation. the coupling is overhung outside the bearings where the shaft might be more vulnerable to unbalance forces. The generated voltage becomes the input to a system that calculates the misalignment and needed corrections. but is much more costly. Vibration Vibration is cyclic force acting on the rotor. so instead we talk about how much unbalance is acceptable. Included with the laser package is the means of direct input to a computer program that calculates the moves necessary to align the equipment. The rotor designer and rotating equipment specialist determines the amount of acceptable unbalance.
the lower the natural (critical) frequency will be. It shows as vibration and wear on the rotor bearings. which is resonating. The more limber the rotor. lateral vibration can become complex. the combined unbalance of the rotor and coupling causes the shaft to deflect or whirl. The critical frequency or speed is defined as the point where the kinetic energy of the rotating masses equals the potential energy stored in the shaft acting as a spring. Generally the more rigid the rotor. Shafts with relatively large diameters and short spans don't deflect much.6 oz-ins of unbalance. and so are termed "rigid rotors". Still higher magnitudes can cause the machinery to jump around (or try to). causes the shaft to whirl as it rotates. That vibratory response will be reflective of the ratio of running speed to critical speed. Since the system is rotating at this frequency or RPM. the higher the lateral natural (critical) frequency. Critical Speed All systems. 1. when an external force is applied cyclically at the same frequency. So. U = the unbalance in ounce-inches A 50-pound coupling with center of mass . The magnitude of the unbalance forces increase as shaft RPM increases. Because of all the variables involved. .002 inch. and material stiffness. and so are termed "limber rotors". At a ratio of 1:1 the response is infinite and resonance occurs. and will cause a vibratory response. Unbalance.77 x (RPM/1000)^2 x U F = the unbalance force in pounds RPM = operating speed in revolutions/minute. That same unbalance at 3600 RPM becomes 36 lbs. There may be more than one point of deflection along the shaft. diameter of shaft. and at some point. The lateral natural frequency is a function of the deflection of the shaft and the masses attached. The unbalance force is equal to: F = 1. The natural frequency becomes a critical frequency. It will take a greater force to cause deflection. it may also be called the critical speed. there are many available forces to trigger resonance. While we would like all rotors to be rigid. A severe unbalance will impact the rotor and bearings at virtually any speed and must be avoided. of untamed force. these forces become strong enough to seriously damage the bearings and/or fatigue the shaft. The cyclic forces are always present. Shafts with smaller diameters and larger spans deflect more. Since the system must be triggered or forced. and that will lead to fatigue failures in machine housings and moorings. and thus more than one natural (critical) frequency. both between the bearings and in the overhung portion. At resonance the system could fly apart. it is called a forcing frequency. it may not be possible for economic or geometric reasons. Coupling and rotor unbalance can be corrected by manufacturing process or by utilizing a balancing machine.004 TIR on the bore concentricity would displace the mass center by . The amount of deflection (amplitude) at any point along the shaft will depend upon the location and weight of rotor attachments. As the system rotates.6 oz-inches of unbalance at 1800 RPM are 9 lbs.coupling might be added later in the application without the benefit of being balanced to the same standards as the rotor. the terms rigid and limber have roots in flexibility just like they do outside of engineering. including the rotating shaft with one half of a coupling have at least one lateral natural frequency. where the center of mass of the rotor is not the same as the center of rotation. A .002 inches from its center of rotation has 1. When this frequency (in cycles per minute) matches RPM. length of shaft span. The system tries to rotate about its mass center rather than its shaft centerline. Other vibratory forces should be minimized or damped by the equipment system. shaft overhang. The force from the unbalance mass increases with increasing speed. of force.
the unbalance must be very low and the forcing or trigger forces must be damped in order to pass through without incident. as opposed to the lateral frequency that needs to be triggered by external forces. One is the natural frequency being forced by an external trigger. well beyond the scope of the coupling supplier. with an overhung machine load and operating at a high speed (close to critical most likely) is a sensitive situation. Note two different effects are happening at the same time. These are usually rugged. This critical and the response is self-induced by the unbalanced mass. It usually does not pay to put severe unbalance restrictions on a coupling. with deflection so slight as to approach zero. This means that critical speeds for driving and driven equipment are calculated separately. The term "sensitive" is used to identify systems in which adding coupling unbalance can adversely affect rotor unbalance. The second would be to operate above the first critical and below the second critical. Typically the lateral critical speed calculation for each piece of rotating equipment is calculated by its manufacturer. The first and obvious one is to always operate the system below the critical speeds. To determine the critical speed of the complete equipment train is a complicated issue. . On the other hand a relatively heavy coupling mounted with a long overhang to the first bearing. a more strict balancing criteria. Unbalance does not change the natural frequency or the critical frequency of the system. These are often found in multistage pump compressors and other equipment that operates at speeds of 3000 RPM or higher. A doubling of the speed increases the force by four times. They are not affected by adding a normal amount of coupling unbalance. High-speed equipment therefore has more reasons to include strict balancing criteria. The driver must have enough torque to accelerate through the critical very quickly. Limber rotors and rotors with overhung loads are more likely to have natural frequencies uncomfortably close to their normal operating speeds. Rigid rotors. unless it is a coupling for a high-speed sensitive rotor. it must be balanced to the same criteria as the other elements of the system. slowspeed systems such as found in mill applications. In those cases. Issues for Coupling Balance The coupling is an integral part of the rotating system and. There are two solutions to the problem. but neither should it be the unbalancing device. For this reason it is common practice for the rotor manufacturer to consider one-half of the coupling as a part of the rotor for purposes of critical speed calculation. The coupling manufacturer could calculate the critical speed of the spacer piece or floating shaft in the center of that type of coupling. At this point the shaft will whirl like a child's jump rope. For example a relatively light coupling mounted on a rigid (stiff) rotor is not a sensitive situation.Another type of critical speed is the self-induced critical speed that is caused by unbalance. and the other a induced force from the out of center mass. The added force can be large in comparison to other forces. Everything else is in between. It does add another force to the system. The coupling cannot be the balancing device to solve problems in these two systems. Balancing is an expensive option for the coupling and possibly the system. When the lateral critical frequency and the self-induced critical frequency are equal to the operating or forcing frequency (operating speed) the vibratory response is infinite and the system resonates (vibrates out of control). and if necessary. because those forces increase by the square of the speed. have natural frequencies so high that normal operating speeds typically don't come anywhere close to critical speeds. This frequency is the same value as the natural frequency of the shaft system. reducing the couplings vibratory forces due to unbalance is usually worth the expense. The combined effect is disastrous to the system. Long floating shaft couplings should also be considered a candidate for a critical speed check. The deflection from the unbalance forces increases with increasing speed until the critical frequency is reached. The unbalance force can be reduced by efforts to balance the rotor and the coupling as opposed to trying to dampen the forces. as a part of the system.
Discovering the problem could be so costly in time and resources that commissioning a vibration analysis could be cheaper in the long run. The couplings should be selected not only for size and torque/misalignment capabilities. if a casting. Because the shaft is the center of rotation. The first suspect in that case would be the alignment which should always be checked first. the side with more mass will generate a higher centrifugal force than the other side. In equipment with sensitive rotors. That means one side of the cylinder is longer than the other side. The center of rotation would be coincident with the center of mass. If a machine begins vibrating after operating smoothly for a period of time. This cylinder would have a center of mass in the horizontal direction that is a line lengthwise through the geometric center of the cylinder. . Displacement of mass can occur by non-uniform density of the material. it is not because an unbalanced coupling suddenly came to light. Each coupling has a unique potential unbalance resulting from the displacement of the center of mass with respect to the center of rotation. However. Again. all standard couplings are manufactured with a certain amount of unbalance called "inherent unbalance". All centrifugal forces resulting from rotation of the mass particles would be equal and opposite in a radial line from the center. The final exact unbalance of the coupling will be related to this. ISO and API have developed standards for coupling balance. In our perfect cylinder the end circles were perpendicular to the side walls. The material. as represented by the coupling's shaft bore holes. but also for the more subtle criteria of weight. The amount of unbalance permitted in new couplings is a matter of tolerances applied at the factory and balance categories selected by the coupling manufacturer or the coupling specifications provided by the system designer or user. or vibration. As a practical matter. becomes part of that half of the coupling. the top and bottom sides are straight lines of equal length. The perfect cylinder described above cannot be practically achieved. non-symmetric geometry such as keyways or by machining tolerance stack up. there is now more coupling mass on one side of the shaft than on the other. would very likely have internal voids or spots of high density. moment arm. would not be placed exactly in the geometric center of each end and coincident with each other. manufacturing tolerances would allow the ends to be somewhat skewed. Coupling balance should be accounted for at the onset of the equipment selection and design. Our axles. Elastomeric couplings have the problem of parts that change shape under load and at speed. Second. we could then rotate the cylinder on that axis with no unbalance forces. by nonconcentric shapes. in effect. AGMA. With these bores not exactly concentric with the outer wall of the coupling cylinder. which has the effect of mass displacement To understand the causes of mass displacement. envision the coupling as a perfectly shaped cylinder on its side. resulting in an unbalance force. If we attach a perfect axle to each end of the cylinder exactly in the middle of the end circle. That means more out-of-balance centrifugal forces. spring stiffness and reactionary loads. even with some damping and good balance criteria. each would be slightly off center by a tolerance normally allowed for manufacturing capabilities. but cannot be determined until each half of the coupling is ultimately mounted on a rotor shaft that. It is important that all changes be accounted for in the system. however. and the cylinder is solid with uniform density throughout. bushings or fluids (in the case of pumps). Instead. The long side has more mass so our mass center is not at the geometric center anymore and possibly even further from the center of rotation as defined by the axles.Sometimes vibration can be damped with bearings. There is also a good chance that something has become worn or has broken. balance. it's the rotating equipment designer's responsibility to keep the bigger picture in view. find out what changes occurred between smooth operation and vibration. Each end is a perfect circle. Balancing the Coupling Good coupling balance originates in the design and manufacturing stages. Don't assume that reducing a coupling's unbalance will solve the problem by itself. the rotor should never be operated near a lateral critical speed.
it is sometimes necessary to fine-tune or further reduce the coupling unbalance. the keys. The vibration becomes complicated. Remember that the unbalance force is a function of speed. and the keyways must be accounted for. On those high cost special couplings everything including the weight of individual bolts. Of course the situation with the greatest chance is that there will be a net residual non-canceled force called unbalance. This is a crude method. The unbalance forces they create would be spread all around the center of rotation. That complicates the unbalance. Every piece of the bolted-together cylinder would have its own manufacturing tolerance that would stack up and cause the center of mass to be different from the center of rotation. Some applications allow for high-cost couplings that have tighter tolerances and fits. Thus eliminating the chances of introducing more unbalance into the system. static and dynamic balancing. Let's examine these terms. This is done by adding or removing weights (mass) equal and opposite to the unbalance. and is of special concern with spacer type couplings. No unbalance forces would exist. Match marking allows the parts to be put back exactly where they came from when disassembling and reassembling the coupling for maintenance. Bolts and bolt holes can be tight fits too. This is called trim balancing. or spin balancing. as many couplings are. every bolted joint would have the potential to displace the center of mass with respect to the center of rotation. The coupling manufacturer talks about single plane and two plane balancing. The design can also include pilot fits to place the components in the proper plane. and is used on couplings for very high speed or sensitive rotors. Balance Machine Balancing While close attention to design and manufacturing can result in very low unbalance forces.If our cylinder were made up of many pieces bolted together. By trial and error one can place weight or remove weight to the point where the piece no longer rotates to the "low side". and seeks to compensate for unbalance as a single point in a single plane of rotation. With good luck all forces would be equal and opposite and cancel each other out. That is because the bolt holes have a clearance with respect to the body of the bolt. It can provide about 5% to 20% adjustment on the balance built into the coupling through design and manufacturing. hub faces that are perpendicular to the center line. Static balancing consists of placing the part with its shaft on knife-edges so that the heavy side rotates to the bottom. . as directed by the use of balancing machines. some canceling each other out and others reinforcing each other. In effect we have two unbalance forces acting on the coupling one at each end of a long span. These special concerns regarding multi-piece bolted together couplings emphasize the importance of match marking the coupling. our cylinder will also become longer along the axis compared to the diameter perpendicular to the axis. the bolt holes are not perfectly placed on the bolt circle and the bolt circle is not perfectly concentric with the center of the part. The design and manufacturing features for good balance include bores and cylindrical surfaces that are concentric with the center of the coupling. The best way to resolve the balance issue calls for design of the coupling parts with low manufacturing tolerance consistent with cost and with the application requirements. Some couplings also include devices that can adjust the unbalance once the coupling is mounted on the rotor. and bolt circles that are true positioned. so that the need for tighter tolerances to minimize unbalance is more important for high speed rotors. More mass displacement will occur. The balance machine is not a substitute for good design practice and manufacturing tolerances. When the coupling is assembled. Our opposing forces are no longer in line with each other so they become a force couple rather than canceling each other out.
The "G" value is the product of specific unbalance value and the angular velocity of the rotor. Once removed from the machine the unbalance is called potential unbalance. Otherwise the balance will be compromised. . mandrel or shaft substitute could be "unbalanced" and must be accounted for in the balance work. Disc couplings use a clamping screw to hold the discs tight. Representatives of the coupling industry wrote AGMA Standard 9000-C90 Flexible Couplings-Potential Unbalance Classification with input by users and other machinery designers. The ISO standard sets out to define an acceptable residual unbalance criterion for rotors. Residual unbalance would be the product of the specific unbalance and the rotor mass. It is now recognized as the definitive standard for most industrial coupling applications Several arbitrary standards exist such as the balance criteria in the API Standard 671 Special-Purpose Couplings for Petroleum. A dual bearing balancing machine is used for testing coupling assemblies in which axial length may exceed diameter. Assembly balanced couplings cannot have substitute parts installed unless the whole assembly is re-balanced. such as hubs. and instrumented to report the amount and location of the unbalance mass. When a coupling has been balanced as a complete assembly. The twoplane approach is needed to account for the unbalanced-mass "couples" that are formed on long parts as mentioned earlier. "G" values range from . Chemical. Mounting the coupling or the coupling part on the balance machine is an art in itself. Balance Standards The question for the coupling manufacturer. When a coupling has been machine balanced. flanges or collars. which do not cancel each other out but act independently on whichever end of the coupling is closest. "G" values are designated by rotor types based on long term practical experience. and is still mounted in the machine. the result is described in terms of how much residual unbalance remains. Some couplings cannot be balanced as an assembly.A more sophisticated method is to spin the coupling on a turntable or between two bearing supports. After components are balanced. whether written for rotors or couplings are based on empirical data and good design practice developed over many years. Gear couplings must be made with a tight fit on the major diameter for the balancing process and then relieved for actual installation in a system. Turntables are single plane units used for testing full round coupling components whose diameter is equal to or larger than the parts axial length. The arbor. the high sides are marked so that the coupling can be assembled with high sides properly located versus other high sides. only as components. Extremely low values of "G" such as G. One way to determine that is to consult one of the several standards that have been developed. and Gas Industry Services. but as the speed is increased the specific unbalance value would decrease directly with the speed increase. with either device spring-loaded so as to be displaced as the heavy side passes. The coupling has to be rigidified to allow the balance machine to work properly. The standards. coupling specifier or coupling user becomes one of how much unbalance is acceptable for their application. ISO Standard 1940/1-1986 (E) Mechanical Vibration-Balance Quality Requirements of Rigid Rotors gives recommendations for rotor unbalance. its components are "match marked" to guide future assembly.4 to 4000 in steps that are factored by a 2. The couplings can also be assembly check-balanced once the components are assembled.5 multiplier.4 or G1 may only be reached by special procedures. Similar rotors would have the same "G" value. That criterion includes a balance quality grade or "G" value. Component balanced couplings should only utilize substitute parts that are balanced to the same criteria.
0008W or 0. The unbalance is separately stated per each of the two balance planes. It could be defined by experimental determination (measurement) in cases of mass production applications. acknowledging that half of the coupling is attached to each rotor. Some coupling manufacturers will publish an ISO or AGMA balance class in their catalogs and offer upgrades for applications that require a better class. Although it is a standard designed to deal with rotors. the component balanced coupling. A high-speed coupling is to be component-balanced to the larger of 4W/N. An example is the API Standard 671. or the assembly balanced coupling. 0. Included in the unbalance contribution is the residual unbalance. It calls for a lowspeed coupling to be component balanced and the assembly of the components to not exceed AGMA grade 9 residual mass center displacement by calculation. The method used is to calculate the unbalance contributions from various sources and combine them by taking the square root of the sum of the squares. 0. The AGMA standard calculates the potential unbalance starting with the uncorrected coupling. dynamic unbalance and quasi-static unbalance. Some user groups have established arbitrary standards. Appendixes of the AGMA standard provide calculation examples. Refer to the standard for units of measure either metric or imperial.The standard also proposes a second and third means of establishing the balance quality requirement. couple unbalance. Used as a starting point.0008W or 0. That could also be done by a statistical analysis of unbalance data for the couplings as manufactured. or on permissible bearing forces. Used as an ending point. The balance class is selected by a series of charts that take in to account the coupling half weight and speed and then the system sensitivity to coupling unbalance. The API 671 standard was developed for high-speed. A discussion of the types of unbalance is included in the AGMA standard. The balance standards are designed to be a starting point or an ending point. they enable the user to specify the grade that the manufacturer must meet. The classes ranging from 4 to 11 identify the maximum potential displacement of the center of mass with respect to the axis of rotation. Coupling half weight is used. An alternate method is for an assembly balance to the larger of 4W/N. They include static unbalance. "W" is the coupling weight and "N" is the speed.01 oz-ins. The AGMA standard approaches the unbalance from a coupling perspective recognizing that the coupling will end up suspended between two rotors. The AGMA standard makes it possible for the coupling manufacturer to calculate the inherent unbalance of its coupling line by using the design and manufacturing allowances.01 oz-ins and assembly-check-balanced to 10 times that value. AGMA also establishes a balance criterion or classification system. they allow the manufacturer to identify the balance class or quality of a certain coupling line. Those couplings are usually very sophisticated types such as disc or diaphragm couplings. high-power couplings used in refinery applications. . This arbitrary specification also calls out repeatability checks and allows for trim balance. It is a potential unbalance that is greater than the residual unbalance and different from the unbalance when mounted in the system. This method accounts for the unbalance contribution from all the items that cannot be taken care of on the balance machine. it is commonly applied to couplings as well. The ISO standard provides information on defining the balance problem and allocation of the residual unbalance to the correction planes.
Nomenclature for flexible couplings American Petroleum Institute Pumps for refinery service API 610 Edition 1990 & 1998 Special-purpose couplings for refinery service API 671 2nd & 3rd Edition 1990 & 1998 Standards for Couplings ANSI ANSI B4.For more information and discussion on vibration and balance or critical speed. Some are listed in the bibliography. Hydraulically Fitted Hubs. Turbomachinery Symposium (1980) .Flexible couplings .Keyless Fits AGMA 9001-B97 (1997) . Marine application of dental couplings. their Design Selection and Use. the reader should consult one of the many fine articles or books on balancing. M. M.Preferred Metric Limits and Fits ANSI S2 19 (1989) .Power Transmission Engineering Flexible Shaft Couplings Part 1 & 2 ISO 1940/1 . Extended gear coupling life (part 1 & 2). W.Bore and keyways for flexible couplings (inch series) AGMA 9004-A99 (1991) . M.Flexible couplings .Mass Elastic Properties and Other Characterisitics AGMA 9003-A91 (1991) .Mechanical vibration balance quality requirements of rigid rotors DIN 740 1&2 (1986) .Flexible couplings for mechanical power transmission .Balance quality of rotating rigid bodies ISO DIS 10441 Draft . Design of Coupling Enclosures. Turbomachinery Symposium (1985) Calistrat.Flexible couplings .Flexible couplings .2 (1984) . Often used for reference in this handbook American Gear Manufacturers Association AGMA 9002-A86 (1986) . Theory and Practice.Flexible couplings for mechanical power transmission in general purpose applications References Boylan. Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) (1966) Calistrat.Lubrication AGMA 9000-C90 (1990) .Load classification and service factors for flexible couplings AGMA 510 .Potential Unbalance Classification AGMA 922-A96 (1996) . M. Flexible Couplings. Hydrocarbon Processing (1978) Calistrat. Caroline Publishing (1994) Calistrat.special purpose applications ISO DIS 14691 Draft .
Malanoski. Some coupling Questions Answered (1996) Jackson. John. Retrofitting Turbomachinery with High Performance Flexible Dry Couplings. .I. J.E. Viton(R).. Turbomachinery Symposium (1990) Wright. Retrofitting Gear Couplings with Diaphragm Couplings. Corcoran.I. Mancuso. Ziberman. Munyon. Tutorial on couplings. Manufacturers World of Coupling Potential Unbalance. Moore. C. Hyrdocarbon Processing (1988) Mancuso. Transmissions and Automation in Design (1986) South-Mancuso. Design. John. Alignment is Plain Geometry. du Pont de Numours & Co. Torsional Vibration in Diesel Engine Drives. J. Proceedings 25th Turbomachinery Symposium (1996) Gibbons. Mechanical Power Transmission Components. General Purpose vs. Shaft Alignment Handbook (2nd Edition) Marcel Dekker (1995) Rivin. how safe is safe? Hydrocarbon Processing (1994) Piotrowski. Machinery Vibration Institute (1979) Gibbons. Understanding and Using Shaft-to-Shaft Alignment Measurement systems. R. J. John. Couplings and Joints. Diaphragm couplings in Turbomachinery. ASME (1996) Mancuso. Pumps and Systems (1999) Piotrowski. Baffling and temperatures predictions of coupling enclosures. Draughtsman's and Allied Technicians' Association (1962) Mancuso et al. Turbomachinery Symposium (1996) Jones. Marcel Dekker Inc. Marcel Dekker (1994) Wolford. Special Purpose Couplings. Lets Try to Really Understand Coupling Balance. Practical Design Against Torsional Vibration. Transient Torsional Vibration in Synchronous Motor Drives. J.B. Turbomachinery Symposium (1984) Mancuso. Turbomachinery Symposium (1998-1999) Mancuso. Turbomachinery Symposium (1994) Mancuso. ASME paper 75-DE-15 (1975) Hytrel(R). Thanks to John Peters for his suggestions and assistance in editing the handbook.E. J. D'Ercole.Carter-Garvey-Corcoran. C. Turbomachinery Symposium (1989) Goody. Turbomachinery Symposium (1994) Corbo. Design and Application Criteria for Connecting Couplings Transactions of the ASME Journal of Mechanisms. Short Course on Couplings. J. E. (1986) Mancuso. Flexible-element couplings. and Zytel(R) are all trademaarks of E. Selection and Application.
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