17 June 2014
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Disc coupling range to suit all applications

Applications requiring disc couplings are found throughout industry, wherever the transfer of torque from driving to driven equipment is necessary. Typical applications include pumps, compressors, machine tools, engine driving equipment, food processing equipment, blowers and fans, covering a wide range of power requirements. David Proud explains

While couplings should be fit-and-forget components, there are still many design details that should be considered at the point of specification to ensure many years of maintenance free running and the protection of the equipment connected to it.

Disc couplings are used with many general and specialised industrial applications where the efficient transmission of torque is required; they are able to accommodate misalignment and compensate for end movement between driving and driven equipment. Disc couplings can transmit torque with over 99% efficiency, maintenance free, even in rough or reversing applications. Different applications dictate the requirement for different couplings; however there are two main styles of design.

From the gigantic pumps which power hydraulic presses for steel forging, down to small, high precision grinding machines, disc couplings can be found in all shapes and sizes across every industry. The quality of the design and manufacture of these couplings can have a critical impact on the overall efficiency of the application as well as its total life costs. Altra Couplings incorporates some of the world's leading disc coupling brands, including Bibby, TB Wood's and Ameridrives which means that it is able to offer high quality products that span the entire range of possible applications.

The two basic styles are the traditional and drop-in coupling. The two designs differ in their approach to absorbing the flex that is produced by torque transfer. Traditional disc couplings have a three piece construction which consists of two hubs and a factory assembled spacer that includes flex elements. The design makes for a general purpose disc coupling for lower specification applications.

The Drop-In coupling, in comparison, is constructed from five pieces - two hubs, one spacer and two flex discs. This design is quicker to install and can achieve a higher balance class, making it more suitable for heavier duty applications.

The Turboflex Composite Formed Tube (TFCFT) range from Bibby uses the latest material technology to provide high strength couplings with a low overall mass. The tubes are filament wound on accurate mandrels using computer controlled machinery, and are cured whilst on the mandrel. This results in highly accurate tube dimensions, roundness and straightness; all of which contribute to a coupling which can offer excellent operational reliability, even in hard wearing applications.
The high quality materials and care that goes into the manufacturing means that Turboflex couplings are highly stable, lightweight units which, thanks to their low mass, suffer from minimal vibration even at lengths of 7m, where metal couplings would require support bearings. This makes them easier and quicker to install, and without the need for lubrication, they are essentially maintenance free.

The Form-Flex couplings, produced by TB Wood's, are able to transmit torque while compensating for angular, parallel and axial misalignment between two connected shafts. These high-strength, flexible couplings operate with zero backlash and are ideal for moderate to heavy loads where elastomeric couplings pose a potential problem.

Most plant managers, OEMs and design engineers work with a varied number of applications and may require different coupling types. The advantages of finding a single supplier are obvious; only one relationship needs to be maintained while increased orders will lead to increased purchasing power. By bringing together some the world's oldest and most respected couplings brands, Altra Couplings is able to offer customers the best of both worlds. Ameridrives, Bibby and TB Wood's are all industry leaders in their own areas of expertise and the sales force is educated on the entire product catalogue so customers are able to refer to a single point of contact for any application requirement.

David Proud is Global Development Director for process pumps and compressors at Altra Couplings

David Proud

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