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Zero-backlash jaw couplings for optical inspection systems

06 December 2015

Stop-and-go optical inspection systems often have aggressive acceleration/deceleration profiles. The dampening characteristics of Ruland zero-backlash jaw couplings reduce settling time and shock loads, improving accuracy and minimising wear.

Ruland jaw couplings comprise two hubs and an elastic insert called a 'spider'. Hubs are type 2024 aluminium for low inertia and have a balanced design for reduced vibration at high speeds. The spider is made of polyurethane, allowing for dampening of impulse loads, minimizing shock to the motor and other sensitive equipment.

Spiders are available in three durometers that offer a range of misalignment, dampening, torsional stiffness and torque characteristics. Zero-backlash jaw couplings can be customised, allowing clamp or set screw hubs to be combined with inch or metric and keyed or keyless bores.

Ruland jaw coupling hubs are machined with a proprietary curved jaw profile that press fits with the spider, assuring zero-backlash operation. This profile concentrates forces to the centre of the spider’s limbs, improving the effectiveness of the elastomer material.

If the spider fails, the jaws of the two hubs will engage and continue to transmit torque, allowing the application to be safely shut down for maintenance. The spider can then be replaced, restoring the full performance characteristics of the coupling.


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