Thursday, October 23, 2014

Top Reason for a Coupling Failure

Coupling failure issues can be traced down to multiple types of failure modes. However, I have found that a few are the primary culprits for all types of couplings.

The #1 failure mode that causes the majority of the premature failures we see can be attributed to one aspect:

IMPROPER ALIGNMENT (angular, parallel or axial)

Some of the remaining common failure modes are (in no particular order):
  • Lack of lubrication (Gear and Grid couplings)
  • Improper torquing of fasteners
  • Excessive torque
  • Environmental
  • Excessive vibration induced by mating machinery
While multiple issues can occur that will lead to a premature coupling failure, it is a good idea to start with the alignment of the machinery when determining a root cause. 

Used properly, dial indicators (lower cost & pictured above) and laser alignment tools (premium/higher cost) are both effective tools to consider when aligning a coupling.

Recommended Follow On Reading: For a deep dive into specific failure modes, inclusive of photographs, check out the following four articles below.
Coupling Failure Analysis - Jaw Couplings (includes hub & spider photos)
Gear Coupling Tutorial - Part V: Failure Analysis (with photos)
Grid Coupling Failure Analysis (includes photos) 
Coupling Peak Torque Failure at Keyway

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