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Motion control couplings: Single sourcing vs sourcing from multiple manufacturers

30 September 2020

Motion control couplings are one of the most common industrial components and there is a diverse base of manufacturers from which to choose, giving original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) many options when selecting a coupling.

This supplier diversity is a benefit during the design phase. However, it can present supply chain problems to OEMs once machines reach production volume – including inconsistent quality, poor service, minimal global support, long lead times, and constantly changing delivery dates. These problems are exacerbated by the current COVID-19 pandemic and have caused companies to reevaluate their supply chain.

Switching to a single source for couplings presents different challenges, but many OEMs see supply chain improvements when switching – without compromising system performance. Most coupling manufacturers, even big ones, choose to specialise in one or two types of couplings. While they may offer a wider range of “standard” styles within the one or two types, these highly engineered solutions must be offered to accommodate for performance deficiencies that are solved by standard couplings not in their offering. For example, a manufacturer of beam couplings may have an expansive range of stainless steel options to offer higher torque and torsional stiffness than their aluminium options. Stainless steel beam couplings have high inertia, can limit system performance, and can be significantly more expensive than jaw or disc couplings offered by other manufacturers. 

Read the full article in the October issue of DPA

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