Universal Joint and power transmission couplings
So the weather is changing, the short cold days of winter are starting to recede. Now is the time of the service manager starting to his maintenance schedule for plant and equipment.
Couplings come into play here as the constant greasing of universal joints and replacement of worn bearings/yokes for the Auto and Ag industries where the Industrial sector will be looking at the replacement of worn beam or elastomeric couplings.
Universal Joint maintenance begins with inspection, is the rubber boot that is used to protect the bearing cross, in one piece, does it have any holes or cracks. If it does it needs replacing and it can mean the bearings will need replacing as well, as the bearing cross is not been sealed and has potentially been exposed to outside contaminants.
While inspecting the boot, check the yokes, are they in good shape or do they have any damage or any signs of cracking, if any damage is seen the yoke or both will need to be replaced.
The bearings are next, is there enough grease to cover the bearings, is there any signs of things like water (either water itself or evidence of it, rust or grease color has changed)
Then comes the bearing cross itself, does it have extra play when moved from side to side, this extra play points to worn bearings, which means the universal joint will need to be removed and the universal joint cross will need to be replaced.
If there has been an increase in vibration, this could mean not only the bearings are worn and need to be replaced, but it also could mean the driveline itself needs to be rebalanced.
Since a universal joint does not like to be too far out of angular alignment causing it to be “out of phase” this could mean a trip to a driveline company to get the driveline fixed otherwise the vibration will continue.
So remember for Universal Joints
- External Inspection
- Boot and Yoke inspection/replacement
- Bearing inspection/replacement and regreasing
- Check driveline balancing
The spiders in the L Jaw style Industrial couplings have to be inspected for potential replacement and yokes/hubs must be inspected for any potential cracking. The loss of a cheap part to failure and stopping production is not worth the price. The low angle that the beam and bellows coupling can operate under means these couplings must be inspected also so any line where load weights vary can mean increased wear and cracking.
The constant maintenance that is required to use these old style couplings makes an alternative like Twin Spring Coupling well worth considering, no bearings so no greasing, can work of angles of 25 degree taking into account both beam/bellows and universal joints without the maintenance.
Happy Spring and remember coupling maintenance is essential to keep your machinery moving.