European steel mill sources Dura-Flex couplings

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A large steel mill near Budapest, Hungary, was installing a hot strip runout table that would transport very hot metal around the plant. Nearly 350 individual couplings were required which would be able to withstand the high temperatures and contaminants that are present in metal-working applications. Due to the number required it was essential that they be easy to install and maintain in order to keep running costs to a minimum.

A Hungarian steel mill underwent a period of expansion to increase its productivity, including a new 505ft hot-strip runout table for transporting the heated steel across the production plant. The runout table was to be equipped with 337 six-foot wide, 12-inch diameter, stainless steel rollers, driven by 7.5kW motors at 900rpm. The new table would help the steel mill to increase its throughput from 1.8 million tons to 3 million tons each year.

Each roller needed to be fitted with a coupling that would continue to transfer the power from the motors efficiently despite the high temperatures, chemical contaminants and possibility of small degrees of misalignment. The steel mill needed to be able to fit the couplings confident that they would require little maintenance or repair work. Having investigated its options, it was decided that DuraFlex coupling from TB Wood, part of Altra Industrial Motion’s industrial couplings division, would be suited to the application.

David Proud, Sales Director for Altra Industrial Couplings, comments: “We were approached by the steel mill and asked if we could recommend a product that would function reliably at the heart of its production site. Steel mills are a notoriously harsh environment for any component. The runout table was to be responsible for transferring over 8000 tons of steel everyday; a failure would create a bottle neck throughout the whole site which would slow production and prove very costly.”

DuraFlex couplings uses a polyether urethane material to transfer power to a driven shaft while accommodating misalignment and minimising vibration to prevent damage to the connected equipment. A specialised design reduces stress at the bonding point with the shoe which prevents failure at the bonding point. The material is resistant to water and other chemicals, and is suitable for operation in high temperatures.

The couplings are quick to install thanks to a simpler radial mounting, rather than axial mounting, design. The ‘split-in-half’ element design allows for easy element installation and replacement without moving connected equipment or disturbing the shaft connection. In the event that a roller needs maintenance, or the couplings need replacing, they are easy to assemble and disassemble.

David Proud continues: “We were happy to be able to help the steel mill almost double its annual production facilities. We try to listen to the needs of our customers and tailor our service to their specific requirements. In this case they needed the couplings at very short notice; we were able to reduce our normal lead time of 8 weeks down to 4 to meet with their required deadline.”

For more information about Dura-Flex couplings from Altra Industrial Couplings, go to

11 October 2012

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