Couplers can be an odd topic for most people, but if you work in an industrial plant, couplers might be a common topic of discussion. That is because couplers hold a lot of pipes and machines together and to each other. If you are at a loss for either conversation someday, or if you are wondering about some of the stranger couplers you can buy, here are some of the odder ones and what they do.
Imagine a cylindrical Pac-Man with a jack-o-lantern smile. That is what these couplers resemble. They have gap-toothed "mouths" and hinges that allow you to open and close them and allow machines to do the same. For the most part, however, their "gap-toothedness" is for the purpose of alleviating shock from machines and metal bar lines that jolt a lot when they move. The "teeth" fit together and resist the jolt so that the machine or line can keep going without much repercussion. Most of them are made of some sort of rubber for that very reason.
Fly Wheel Couplers
This is a strange coupler indeed. It is circular and resembles the wheel hub of a car, yet it is installed between a set of flange joints. It keeps a tight fit between the flange joints and prevents leaks from occurring. They are made for large flange joints in industrial plants, but some of them can be as small as the spread of the average human hand.
Rigid couplers are so named for the fact that they are hard, thick, and extremely stiff. That is ironic and funny, considering that they are used in conjunction with engines and help spinning engine parts move. You may have some of these in any machine in the plant that spins at a very high speed, such as a grinding mill, a vat mixer, a generator, etc.
Need Couplers in Your Plant? How to Decide If the above Couplers Suit Your Needs
Given their unusual shapes, functions, and sizes, you may or may not need any of the above couplers in your plant. If you want help determining if you need them, or if you want to know if you can substitute one kind of coupler for another (e.g., a jaw coupler for a tire coupler), the coupler manufacturer will tell you what substitutions you can make. Otherwise, your repair technician will know for sure.