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PTR Review Article - By Russ Arrowsmith of Arrow Engineering

Date: Friday 03. September, 2010

Selecting the right flexible coupling, you would think, is easy. Especially if it’s an end user type customer, you can simply replace “like for like” product. However, if you are looking at your customers in the longterm, more thought is needed to understand why the coupling has failed and is there a better alternative to suit their application.

For years manufacturers have developed and innovated different coupling types and styles for this very reason and that is why there are so many variations. There is no real science to selecting flexible couplings i.e. it is primarily two lumps of metal connecting driver and driven equipment.

There are however some important factors to consider that can make a difference to the life expectancy of the drive and the efficiency / performance of the machinery they are driving.

So many coupling manufacturers “specialise” in one particular type of coupling and therefore have a biased towards the coupling they would specify without consideration of the “best fit for purpose” product e.g. would you select an elastomer / rubber type coupling for a Caustic chemical environment?, or would you select an expensive, metallic, stainless steel type coupling for a water process pump application?, the obvious answer is no, but it does happen.

Many Pump manufacturers have gone through the exercise of attempting to rationalise their range of bought in coupling parts, with a view of single sourcing their range of couplings and ideally selecting one coupling type to satisfy all requirements.

The truth of the matter is there is not one single coupling that can satisfy all applications. A typical example was in 1994 when Flowserve, formerly Ingersoll Dresser Pumps carried out this exercise with the prime objective of reducing their coupling supply base and most importantly achieve a cost saving of 30%.

Arrow Engineering’s Aroflex couplings were selected for the WPX, CPX, Chemstar and Durco pump ranges because previously they were using expensive metallic disc couplings for their water process pumps and chemical process pumps.

Arrow actually saved them over 50% on their bought in flexible couplings and provided a better “fit for purpose” solution to their pump / drive applications. The Aroflex flexible coupling training program is available to any authorised distributor, please enquire for further details.

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