Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Low Cost Couplings

The concept of going with a low cost flexible couplings has a wonderful ring to it, but it is critical that low cost is defined over the life of the coupling & coupling application, and not the immediate upfront product cost. Relative to the total cost of a power transmission system or application, the coupling is a relatively small component, and, as such, the cost of the application going down (even if only for a few hours) can quickly dwarf the total cost of even the most expensive up front coupling option. 

A top quality coupling manufacturer is top quality for a reason. They are relentless in ensuring their products are always the best of the best, inclusive of a design perspective, material quality, production tolerances, and product support.

Low Cost Coupling Regret
So, can paying a bit more for a best in class coupling actual yield real and lasting cost savings over the long term?

Absolutely, and this logic does not only apply just to couplings. A few years back I took a risk and bought a low price space heater for my home (passing up the respected brand which cost a bit more). This was a huge mistake. When it failed shortly thereafter, I had a product that I could get no support or service for. In fact, the company who made it wasn't even still in business. Because it was filled with oil, it took me forever to figure out how to properly dispose of it, and, yes... I did go back and purchase the more reputable brand. Fortunately, the cost of downtime for my space heater was relatively low (I threw on a sweater and made due until I could go out and get a new space heater.). 

In the case of couplings, the cost of going down can be astronomical. A coupling going down can shut down an entire production line, costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars per hour. Fortunately, there is a best in class coupling company that can get you back up and running fast with their Quick Ship program, but wouldn't it cost less if you had just went with a more reliable best in class product from the start?

Rather than a space heater, I see couplings more similar to the tires on your automobile (an integrated system). There is always a low cost alternative tire available at the tire store, but do you really want to put you and your family on the road and trust you lives to a brand you've never heard of?

There are a whole host of issues that can arise when using a low quality coupling (poor misalignment handling, poor dampening, coupling concentricity issues, tolerance issues, premature bearing wear), with coupling failure being only one of them. With all the very real costs associated with using a suboptimal coupling, we highly recommend that coupling users stick with a brand and product that is well known and trusted for their world class quality and product support. We believe that to do otherwise would be penny wise, and dollar foolish. You and your company deserve better.

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