When It Comes To Coupling Maintenance, Attention To Detail Is Key
Depending on the style of coupling, putting in extra time to get it right is crucial to getting maximum life and performance. For example, insert and elastomeric type couplings require little to no maintenance and their condition can be visually inspected or viewed mid-operation with a strobe. However, grid and gear couplings require additional steps during routine maintenance to maximize the coupling’s life and performance.
If a coupling is only lubricated and not parted, things may get worse. Wear contaminants, hardened lubricants and foreign particles may cause premature wear of the coupling or loss of clearance, creating a heavy load condition on the machine’s bearings.
In conducting coupling maintenance, it is necessary to partially disassemble in order to remove as much of the old lubricant as possible. Inspect the components for signs of wear, looking for indications of improperly aligned equipment.
Checking for Misalignment
These indications may consist of uneven wear of the coupling hubs or inserts, broken coupling grids or shimpacks, and binding while rotating the shafts by hand.
According to IBT Industrial Maintenance Technology Director, Chris Treat, using proper laser alignment equipment is essential to achieve precision alignment. “Even if your shafts or couplings are off by a fraction so small that you can’t see it with your eye, it could still be outside the manufacturer’s specifications and cause premature wear, shortening the life of your couplings.”
Prior to reassembly, pre-lube the sliding surfaces of the coupling so that the components have the required freedom of movement. Treat recommends re-lubricating every six months. “If the grease dries out, moisture gets in and causes additional rust and wear,” he says. “This is the most common problem we see every day.”
Additional Recommendations From System Components, Inc.:
System Components, Inc. President and Owner, Eugen Gawreliuk, offers additional key recommendations for ensuring successful coupling maintenance: “Avoid pressurizing the coupling when adding grease by removing both lube plugs. By pressurizing the coupling; the seals or o‐rings could be compromised leading to leakage. Another common problem is introducing contaminants into the grease by improper cleaning of the grease nipple. Also, using the proper type of grease needed for your particular application will prolong the life of the coupling.”
By following these routine preventive maintenance procedures, you may extend the life of your couplings and increase reliability.
About IBT’s Industrial Maintenance Technologies Group
The Industrial Maintenance Technologies department uses diagnostic equipment to analyze machine dynamics and performance, identifying misalignment and imbalance problems that cause vibration and excess wear and tear on rotating equipment. For any coupling maintenance, laser-alignment and other predictive maintenance needs, such as vibration analysis and field balancing, call (816) 877-4455, or email Leo Simbeck.