Misalignment of shafts is unavoidable because a shaft, in most cases, is aligned when a machine is unloaded. That apart, operational force also causes shafts to bend. Moreover, factors like thermal expansion, human and installation errors, worn out bearings, etc. also lead to misalignment of shafts.
Couplings are basically used to hold two shafts together at ends for transmission of power. Couplings are also used for noise reduction and vibration damping. They are divided into two main categories — flexible and rigid. While flexible couplings transmit torque from one shaft to another even when there is some radial, axial and angular misalignment, rigid couplings do not offer any such options. Flexible couplings are designed on the basis of the type of load condition. There are mainly three different types of flexible couplings — mechanical element, elastomeric element and metallic membrane or disc type coupling.
A clear understanding of the application conditions is necessary to select the best type of flexible coupling. Some of the major factors that govern the selection of couplings include required transmission of torque and horsepower, backlash, rotational velocity error, lateral and axial flexibility of couplings, torsional flexibility and type of shaft misalignment such as annular misalignment, lateral misalignment and combined annular lateral misalignment.
An ideal coupling is installed quickly, fulfils all requirements and can be forgotten for years. Since couplings reduce stress and vibration, they effectively increase the work life of a machine. While selecting couplings, one must gain information regarding underrated and overrated couplings as well as their requirements. Underrated or low torque rated couplings can get easily damaged and hamper transmission.
On the other hand, overrated couplings i.e. high torque rated couplings can be unnecessarily stiff and bulky which makes them less flexible. Also, inadequate torsional stiffness can also cause resonance and failure.Flexible Shaft Coupling has its application in end use industry such as mining, manufacturing etc. Due to the growth of these end use industries, the demand for flexible shaft couplings will also increase in coming years.
However, deteriorating export conditions and the introduction of low-quality products from local competitors can restrain the growth of the global flexible shaft couplings market. Industries across the world are focusing more on six sigma and increasing their operational efficiency and this will create opportunities for the flexible shaft coupling market.Manufacturers are currently working on and there is increasing demand for couplings with low weight material that require less space and offer better inertia qualities
Asia Pacific holds a major share of the global flexible shaft couplings market due to the demand from emerging countries such as India, China. This is precisely why Asia Pacific has become the global centre for many manufacturing industries. Asia Pacific is followed by North America and Europe. Brazil, Russia, and Eastern European countries are anticipated to boost the market growth over the forecast period due to their emerging and existing manufacturing capabilities.
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