What is a shaft collar?
A shaft collar, sometimes known as a locking collar or shaft clamp, is a ring-shaped metal or plastic component which fits onto a shaft. It is mounted to the shaft using either clamping forces or a set screw, with the mounting mechanism depending on the type of shaft collar.
Shaft collars can be found in almost every type of machinery. With a variety of different uses, shaft collars can often be found securing bearings and sprockets on a shaft, locating components within motor and gearbox assemblies, or acting as mechanical stops.
Most shaft collars are easy to install and remove, as well as having minimal maintenance requirements. Many different types and brands of shaft collar are available, with options to suit virtually any application requirement.
What are shaft collars used for?
Shaft collars are versatile components with a range of uses, lending themselves to almost any application across every industry. From positioning devices on medical analysis equipment to securing industrial railings, shaft collars can be found almost everywhere.
The main function of a shaft collar is to position components such as bearings, pulleys, sprockets and sensors, holding them securely in place. With high levels of holding power, shaft collars are ideally designed to precisely locate machine components on the shaft. They are also commonly found within motors and gearboxes, providing appropriate positioning of components for accurate and reliable power transmission.
Shaft collars can also be used as spacers. Thanks to their locating abilities, shaft collars are often used to keep components appropriately spaced on the shaft. They are also frequently used as mechanical stops, limiting the movement of a shaft in reciprocating applications. This includes actuators and cylinders in vehicles and other heavy machinery.
The range of industries in which shaft collars are used is endless. Wherever there is a shaft, there is likely to be a shaft collar. This includes automotive, medical, packaging, food and beverage, material handling and metals industries.
What types of shaft collar are available?
There are several different designs of shaft collar available, to suit any application. Most shaft collars fall into the categories of either set screw shaft collars or clamping-style shaft collars, depending on the mounting mechanism used.
SET SCREW SHAFT COLLARS
Set screw shaft collars were the first type of shaft collars which were mass produced, originally designed for use on line shafting in early manufacturing mills.
The originally design had some safety issues, with the protruding screws regularly catching on workers’ clothing and pulling them into the machinery. Thankfully these early set screw shaft collars continued to be developed until the design was made safe, and the new design became industry standard.
Set screw shaft collars are mounted to the shaft with screws which are bored directly into the shaft. For this reason, set screw shaft collars are most effective when they are used on a shaft which is made from a material which is softer than the set screw.
These shaft collars are often chosen for their impressive holding power and high torque capacity, making them ideal for applications which are subject to shock loads. However, as they are screwed into the shaft, they are difficult to adjust and cause damage to the shaft.
CLAMPING-STYLE SHAFT COLLARS
Clamping-style shaft collars were designed to overcome the issues associated with set screw shaft collars. Rather than needing to be screwed into the shaft, these shaft collars are mounted using compression, clamping down onto the shaft to lock in place.
The key benefits of clamping-style shaft collars are the ease of fitting, as well as preventing damage to the shaft. They also showcase outstanding holding power, thanks to the uniform distribution of force on the shaft. However, despite their impressive holding power, shock loads can sometimes cause clamping-style shaft collars to slip slightly.
Clamping-style shaft collars are available in one-piece, two-piece and quick clamping styles. One-piece shaft collars wrap around the shaft for an even distribution of clamping forces. Only one screw is required for mounting and they can be easily adjusted and repositioned as required.
Two-piece shaft collars offer additional versatility and convenience, thanks to their innovative two-part design. This means that these shaft collars can be installed without removing other components from the shaft, saving time and effort. With two screws, this type of shaft collar offers an improved clamping force and impressive holding power.
Quick clamping shaft collars are a variation of the one-piece shaft collar which make adjustment quick and easy. These shaft collars have either a cam leaver or clamping leaver which allows for adjustments to be quickly made, without the need for tools. Quick clamping shaft collars are ideal for use in applications which require frequent adjustments or setup changes, such as printing and packaging machinery.
How to choose the right shaft collar，Where to buy shaft collars
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