The Third Shaft
Flexible Shaft Couplings
When I was a child, one of my favorite television shows to watch was School House Rock. On this delightfully musical and educational show was a song called “Three is a Magic Number”, and this is a statement I have always found stands true, even when it comes to the industrial world. For example, the third shaft, which is also sometimes known as the flexible gear coupling or gear coupling, is so vital to the proper running of a machine or vehicle it can be considered magical.
Shafts are parts that connect the moving part of a machine or vehicle to the transmission that gives it the power to move. The shafts are important because they are able to control the amount of power going to the moving part, called torque, so that the moving part is not overwhelmed with power resulting in a break. The third shaft is the one that connects the shaft connected to the transmission to the shaft connected to the moving part. This flexible gear coupling, which is included in the industrial product category of shaft couplings, connects and stabilizes the other two shafts. Besides support, it also provides other helpful characteristics that extends the running life of the vehicle or machine and makes the whole process run smoothly.
A flexible gear coupling also absorbs the vibration that occurs whenever a machine or vehicle is in motion, which protects the other shafts and the machine or vehicle as a whole. It also provides automatic realignment, which is another danger for machines that have moving parts. Ensuring that the shafts are aligned well improves productivity as well as extending the machines working life. Although not known to the general public, flexible gear couplings allow the machines that make many of our day to day necessities, such as clothing, computers, television sets, cell-phones and cars, to name a few, to work well and produce excellent products. This is a magical thing indeed.