All about Couplings: Small but Significant Factors in Alignment

Couplings connect a driving shaft to a driven shaft. There are essentially two families of couplings:

  • Rigid couplings
  • Flexible couplings

There are, of course, differentiations within these two types.

Rigid couplings connect shafts so that the two shafts are essentially one continuous unit. Be advised that runout can be an issue when this kind of coupling is used, so make sure to check for it. Rigid couplings are more intolerant to even the smallest amount of misalignment.

Flexible couplings allow coaxial shafts to still operate satisfactorily, even if there is slight misalignment. As their name suggests, they are more forgiving and are useful on machines that experience greater variability such as thermal growth and other external forces.

In addition to these two main types of couplings, there are four important things to remember when it comes to couplings:

  • Sizing
  • Mounting
  • Alignment
  • Maintenance

Understanding the coupling design is important because this can help you in diagnosing misalignment.

Couplings may seem simple, but they perform an important function in our facilities, which is why every maintenance worker should be familiar with the different sizes and types and how they can affect alignments and your maintenance program in general.

To read more about couplings, see this blog from one of VibrAlign’s expert technical trainers.


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