Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Five Keys to Coupling Packing and Shipping Success

Like other mechanical power transmission components, couplings can get bulk and quite heavy. This makes shipping them a bit tricky. When shipping and handling couplings, the following three concepts will go a long way to ensure they arrive at their intended location in excellent condition.

1. Protect Vulnerable Components - From small rubber components to large shaft keyways and keys (see picture below), it is important that vulnerable components be carefully protected within the greater external packaging.

Coupling Shaft and Keyway Packaged for Shipping

2. Prevent Weight from Shifting - In addition to protecting individual components, whether using additional boxes, paper, foam, peanuts, or wood (as pictured below), it is critical that items inside the external package also be prevented from shifting around. If this is not done, not only can parts hit and damage each other, but parts can penetrate through the outside of the primary shipping container and possibly get lost. (i.e. - The box made it to the customer, but have the components did not.)

Torsional Coupling Packed for Shipping

2. Weight Balance Boxes - When working with bulky items it is important to ensure that weights are balanced across a box to prevent it from wanting to tip over onto its side. It is also smart to put the heavier items on the bottom and lighter items on top, not only to prevent crushing, but also to keep the box's center of gravity low. 

4. Keep Center of Gravity Low - Trucks, trains, and airplanes all start and stop abruptly. If the center of gravity of your package or skid (pictured) is not low, the package or skid could easily roll and the contents inside could be damaged. The lower the center of gravity can be kept, the less there is a chance that the shipment will roll. 

Coupling Components on a Skid

5. Know Your Carriers - Paired closely with low center of gravity, it is important that you know and keep track of which carriers are handling your shipment the best. Listen to your customers. Even the best packaged product is subject to damage if it is carelessly thrown or bounced around aggressively in transit. Not all carriers are created equally, and the cheapest ones certainly are not necessarily the most careful. Ensure you partner with ones that care just as much about your product as you do. (Note: This tip #5 is especially relevant to end users/purchasers, as they are often the one specifying the carrier.)

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