Good vibrations with high performance steel grid coupling


In the mining sector, an effective grid coupling needs to stand up to earth-shattering vibrations, while at the same time, lending some flexibility to an application.

“A heavy shock load can devastate a coupling arrangement even on the most robust equipment, which is why Rexnord developed the Falk Steelflex T-design range,” says Steve Hittmann, BSC’s National Product Manager for Mechanical Drive Systems & Belt Drives. “The aim with this product was to surpass competitors in performance and durability under high-impact conditions.”

“In mining and quarrying, grid couplings will generally be used in the crushing, grinding, and agitating of material,” explains Steve. “They are also used in pump, conveyor, dragline, and high-speed gearbox applications, where they are really about the protection of the driven unit through their ability to absorb massive amounts of vibrations,” he adds.

“Third party testing found that Falk Steelflex grid couplings are 4.7x more durable than a leading competitor’s grid coupling and 16x more durable than other brands,” furthers Steve. “Even though many grid couplings appear similar, a huge gap in performance remains between brands,” he emphasises.

The technology was originally used in the production of aircraft components that carry heavy loads and deflect high vibrations in air. According to Steve, the key is torsional ability.

“The Steelflex Grid Couplings employ torsion to deflect normal shock or vibratory loads, making them durable and flexible to changing load conditions,” says Steve.

“In addition to this, Steelflex tunes the drive system. It absorbs the energy of impact by spreading it over increments of time, dampening the vibrations and reducing peak loads by as much as 30%,” he adds.

The Falk Steelflex T10 Grid couplings are fabricated from steel for maximum strength; machined to within 0.001 inches, permitting utilisation of any hub surface for measurement of shaft alignment.

“The tapered grids are made of high strength alloy steel, quenched, and tempered to spring hardness,” explains Steve. “The grid surface is then precision shot peened to compress the surface molecules for increased strength.”

“The effect is a dramatic increase in rating, providing reserve strength for longer life or allowing a smaller size coupling to be selected,” he enthuses.

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