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Shaft Couplings


Shaft couplings are mechanical couplings that connect two shafts for transmission of power (torque) at their ends. They are selected based on the coupling mechanism, dimensions, shaft connection, performance, displacement and operating temperature. Steel, rubber, plastics, brass, and PVC are some of the materials used for making shaft couplings.


Shaft couplings are commonly classified as follows:

  • Rigid shaft couplings- Rigid shaft couplings find application when accurate shaft alignment is needed, because misalignment will reduce the life of coupling and also affect its performance. These are further classified as
    • Flanged shaft couplings
    • Sleeve or muff couplings
    • Compression couplings
  • Flexible shaft couplings – Flexible shaft couplings are designed for torque transmission while allowing for some axial, angular or radial misalignment. These are further classified as
    • Universal couplings
    • Bellows shaft couplings
    • Disc couplings
    • Spider shaft couplings or jaw couplings
    • Oldham couplings
    • Resilient couplings
    •  Bush pin couplings
  • Torque limiting couplings - are also known as torque limiters used to protect structures against over torque conditions


The most common usage of shaft couplings in machinery is

  • Provides protection against overloads
  • Alters the characteristics of vibration, that are produced in rotating units
  • Flexible shaft couplings reduce vibration and shock loads and protect the equipment from overloading
  • Rigid shaft couplings are simple in design and robust in construction and facilitate easy installation and adjustment
  • Ensures rapid and safe transfer of power


Shaft couplings have a broad usage in several processes as listed below:

  • Flexible shaft coupling find their application in paper making machines, printing machines, roll forming and laminating machines
  • Shaft couplings are used in machineries to provide misalignment of shafts or to create mechanical flexibility
  • Steel shaft couplings are mainly applied in small pumps

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