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Buying Heavy Equipment? Look for Elastomeric Couplings

( 01/14/2019 ) Written by: Tim Kubat

If you work in the construction or forestry sector, heavy equipment represents a significant portion of your capital investment. This equipment takes a rigorous beating during everyday operations, threatening not only your investment but your ability to meet demand.  What should you look for when you buy equipment like this?  What can help extend the life of your equipment and reduce time-consuming, costly repairs? 

Elastomeric Couplings Can Help

Heavy equipment does hard work and their gasoline and diesel engines are susceptible to torsional disturbances.  These damaging forces can be generated by the alternating torque loads (i.e., twisting motions) of the reciprocating engines, by start-up torques, or by minute misalignments caused by skewed components.  Additionally, engine excitations (typically caused by imbalances) can cause vibrations in both the engine and transmission. Such stresses can wreak havoc on an engine drive train, resulting in breakage or even catastrophic failure.

One way to help extend the life of your equipment is by looking for elastomeric couplings when you make the purchase. LORD Corporation’s flexible, elastomeric couplings are made to connect engine components (like the transmission, pump or compressor); they can also be used to connect starters, alternators, fans and other mechanisms. These flexible couplings reduce the magnitude of transmitted forces, mitigate shock events, decrease vibrations, and accommodate small misalignments between components. The couplings are available in a variety of flexibility levels (based on the type of heavy equipment and location within the drive train) and are rated across a range of horsepower.

Reduced stress between engine parts equals smoother performance and longer engine life.  And a longer life for drive train components translates into overall longevity for a piece of equipment--and into a reduced cost of ownership for you.   

By choosing heavy machinery with flexible couplings, you can avoid bearing failure, gear tooth fatigue, replacement of broken crankshafts and driveshafts, and more. Elastomeric couplings offer a comparatively low up-front cost (included during manufacturing) and require no user-end maintenance. Additionally, the performance of the flexible couplings is not adversely affected by dirt or other contaminants—an important consideration for vehicles operating off-road or over soft ground, not to mention the constant exposure to dirt and debris during loading and operation.

Read Part 2 of this series about intentional slipping.


Tim Kubat

Tim Kubat is a Principal Engineer in the LORD Industrial Equipment Team, focusing on drivetrains and other applications for agricultural and construction vehicles. He holds three patents for elastomeric designs used in the off-highway market.

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