A feature-wise categorisation of universal joints
Since the types vary according to the type of machines they are used in, it is important to differentiate these tools based on their properties and features. The main points of differentiation include their design, the materials used, and some unique features.
Choosing the right design
The simplest way to distinguish between joints is by their design. There are majorly two types of universal joints. The most common is the cross-type joint, which is used in heavy machinery in factories and rear-wheel-drive cars etc. For high-speed operations, like in printers and some pieces of medical equipment, ball and trunnion type of universal joints are better. The latter can also be availed at standard sizes.
The materials used
Since universal joints have elements of contact that are in constant motion, the quality of building material is proportional to durability. Meanwhile, the choice of material is significant for understanding the performance of these joints. Steel is preferred in heavy machinery due to its higher load-bearing capacity. A good coating, such as chromium, is essential for better friction and heat dissipation. In ball and trunnion type joints, nickel plating can provide better resistance to abrasions. For light industrial operations, joints made of thermoplastics are preferred due to their lightweight, higher speeds, and capacity for self-lubrication.
Some unique features
Other than the above-mentioned points, some additional features can help the buyers better choose their preferred type of joints. This includes spring-stiffened joints, which lead to lesser degrees of deflection while rotating, using magnetic ball joints for better durability and strength, or special threads made of alloys for better sealing of the joints. Another particular type is the constant velocity type universal joint, which can transform the joints' fluctuating rotation into constant rotation, even when held at an angle.
Categories Simillar to Universal Joints includes Rigid Couplings, Shaft Collars