A coupling is a device used to connect two shafts together at their ends for the purpose of transmitting power. Couplings do not normally allow disconnection of shafts during operation, however there are torque limiting couplings which can slip or disconnect when some torque limit is exceeded.
The primary purpose of couplings is to join two pieces of rotating equipment while permitting some degree of misalignment or end movement or both. By careful selection, installation and maintenance of couplings, substantial savings can be made in reduced maintenance costs and downtime.
Flexible coupling, flexible shaft coupling and quick release coupling are used to transmit torque from one shaft to another when the two shafts are slightly misaligned. Flexible couplings can accommodate varying degrees of misalignment up to 3° and some parallel misalignment. In addition, they can also be used for vibration damping or noise reduction.
A beam coupling, also known as helical coupling, is a flexible coupling for transmitting torque between two shafts while allowing for angular misalignment, parallel offset and even axial motion, of one shaft relative to the other. This design utilizes a single piece of material and becomes flexible by removal of material along a spiral path resulting in a curved flexible beam of helical shape. Since it is made from a single piece of material, the Beam Style coupling does not exhibit the backlash found in some multi-piece couplings. Another advantage of being an all machined coupling is the possibility to incorporate features into the final product while still keep the single piece integrity.
Changes to the lead of the helical beam provide changes to misalignment capabilities as well as other performance characteristics such as torque capacity and tensional stiffness. It is even possible to have multiple starts within the same helix.
The material used to manufacture the beam coupling also affects its performance and suitability for specific applications such as food, medical and aerospace. Materials are typically aluminum alloy and stainless steel, but they can also be made in acetyl, managing steel and titanium. The most common applications are attaching encoders to shafts and motion control for robotics.
For more information on our flexible shaft couplings contact our flexible coupling and quick release couplings manufacturers.