June 2021

Factory Tour Video

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Factory Tour

 

Webinars

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Belden Universal - Complete Webinar

Boots and Lubrication Options

Food Production Automation Case Study

Materials Platings Options

Steel Processing Case Studies

Types of Driveshafts

Types of Universal Joints

Universal Joint Construction and Characteristics

Where Do I Find Universal Joints

Why Use Universal Joints

 

Assembly Instruction Videos

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How to Assemble a Pin & Block Universal Joint

How to Assemble a Needle-Bearing Universal Joint

How to Assemble a Double Universal Joint

How to Assemble a Drive Shaft

Universal joints usually consist of two yokes – also known as forks – and a central cross-shaped element. The actual construction of this cross – or spider – is not standardized and varies from design to design. It can be manufactured either as a single component or as an assemblage of several separate components, typically a block or cube and pins which are fixed in the block to form the cross.

 

Universal join diagram

The journal diameter is usually smaller than the diameter of the corresponding yoke ear hole to allow the cross to be fitted in the yoke without difficulty. To achieve good contact between the surface of the journals and yoke ears, bearing bushings or roller/needle bearings are fitted in the gaps between the journal and yoke ear hole.
 

Constructed crosses, which are often referred to as pin and block crosses, have blocks and pins generally CNC-machined from bar stock. The assembled cross consists of three or more individual parts. The common arrangement is one block with two or three, sometimes four pins.
Depending on design, the pins rotate in the block or the yokes.

The tradeoff between a constructed cross and a complete cross is the way off assembly. A constructed cross (pins & block) can be assembled inside the yokes which can sometimes require fixturing or tricky manual work but when assembled will be in place with tight tolerances if machined correctly. A finished cross can be placed easily inside the yokes but the large gaps require the installation (and securing) of plain bearings, also referred to as bushings.

Plain Bearing Joints

Plain bearings are the simplest bearing type. In universal joints, the cross pins can run either directly within the joint yoke ear holes or in a bushing fitted inside the ear hole. Depending on the application, the areas of the yoke that take the highest load can be heat treated, or the contact surfaces hardened and ground/reamed to improve the running characteristics, reducing the friction between pin, block and yoke.

Pin and block plain bearing joint

The durability of a universal joint depends on the transmitted torque and the rotational speed of the shaft to which the joint is connected. The joint’s angle of deflection also comes into play. The higher the angle, the rotational speed and the torque, the greater the load on the joint. An excessive torque usually causes the joint to break. An acceptable torque at excessive speeds causes lubrication failure, which in turn leads to increased friction, resulting in extreme heat generation and increased wear. In the worst case, the pins, block and yokes may break or fuse. In any event, the joint becomes unusable.

High speeds are also problematic for joints fitted with plain bearings, even if the transmitted torque remains low. The need for frequent lubrication of the bearing surfaces can present a problem where an oil-bath or drip lubrication system are not possible, as insufficient lubrication can lead to bearing failure caused by excessive temperature after just a short time.

Needle Bearing Joints

A solution to reduce friction between the bearing faces is the use of needle bearings in place of the plain pins or bearing bushings. Although needle bearings reduce the joint’s transmittable torque, they ensure that the joint can operate for longer periods of time without continuous lubrication. In addition, the technical data and calculation methods for specific loads and speeds that exist for roller and needle bearings allow the bearings’ service life to be estimated. Because of the numerous influencing factors occurring, service life cannot be accurately calculated for plain bearing joints. As a general rule, roller or needle bearings should be used for frequent- or continuous-duty applications with shaft speeds of more than 1,000 revolutions per minute. Plain bearing joints can generally be operated at such speeds for short periods. Their ability to handle these for extended periods depends on the materials used, finishes/coatings, and the lubrication.
 

Pin and block needle bearing joint

In addition to the tendency to generate friction heat, plain bearings are likely to experience increased wear from abrasion. Even when overheating is not an issue, the running surfaces of plain bearings tend to wear, causing play or backlash within the bearings. In some cases, for example in motion control applications where precise positioning is vital, play or backlash is not tolerable. Here, the joint must work at near zero play or backlash, often for extended periods. The exceptionally low wear of the needle bearing joint makes it the preferred choice even in low speed, high precision applications.

 

 
 

Custom Solutions Address Common Universal Joint Failure Problems

A common frustration we hear from equipment users turning to us for assistance is that their universal joints don’t hold up as expected. Low quality or poorly designed joints can result in loss of usefulness, partial machine malfunction or complete failure. Below are some common problems production and maintenance associates might encounter:

Corrosion

Depending on the level of humidity in the environment, components can erode over time, even without exposure to harsh substances.

Solution: Stainless Steel Universal Joints

Various grades of stainless steel joints can deliver moderate to extreme corrosion resistance. When selecting the appropriate grade, factors such as welding, machinability and strength must be taken into consideration.

Stainless steal universal joint

Belden works with a wide variety of stainless steel grades 
 

Mechanical Wear

Contamination of the joint components by debris is a frequent cause of mechanical wear. Dust can be trapped between the moving parts and create grooves on the surface over time.

Solution: Protective boot covers and lubrication

Lubrication of the joint can reduce component wear; protective boots can prevent contaminants entering and damaging the joints. Protective boot covers can keep co be achieved by pre-lubricating the joint, applying oil drips, or outfitting the joint with lubricant-retaining boots (bellows). In addition to maintaining component lubrication.

Boot covers

Boot covers keep the joints lubricated and prevents component wear

 

Friction and Heat Generation

Pin and block universal joints often used in industrial applications operate with friction between the component surfaces. Without proper lubrication, this friction can generate excessive heat and overheating at higher speeds. Increased abrasive wear between the moving parts can result in backlash over time.

Solution: Proper lubrication helps resolve these issues. Pin and block joints can be outfitted with lubricant retaining boots or kept lubricated by oil drips. Needle-bearing joints (or Belden’s unique ‘hybrid’ pin-and-block needle-bearing joint) can be pre-lubricated and enable continuous operation at high RPM while reducing friction and backlash.

Pin and block universal joint

Proper lubrication and using needle-bearing joints reduce heat and friction 

 

Torsional Backlash (Play)

Heavy loads, shocks, vibrations due to misalignment, material wear can lead to loose play (backlash) within the bearings which can ultimately lead to joint failure.

Solution: Certain manufacturing processes, such as increasing pin diameter or reducing bore size can reduce the amount of play present. Needle bearing universal joints (or Belden’s hybrid joint as mentioned above) are specifically designed to maintain low backlash for critical positioning at high RPM and continuous operation.
 

Pin and block and needle bearing universal joint

Torsional backlash can be reduced by design modifications or using needle-bearing components

 

 

 
 

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Belden uses a wide selection of materials for cusom solutions - delivering increased strength, improved wear, corrosion resistance and other qualities:

 

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Click to read more on specialty stainless steel for universal joints

 

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus finibus nisi ac consectetur commodo. Nullam enim turpis, scelerisque eget egestas a, semper in erat. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Ut tincidunt tincidunt tincidunt. Duis porttitor ullamcorper eleifend. Aliquam dignissim diam sit amet urna fringilla, a fringilla ipsum condimentum. Quisque condimentum, ante in dignissim tempus, ligula nulla mollis nunc, non vulputate diam felis sed mauris. Ut eu faucibus turpis. Morbi cursus eu ante at tempor. Sed tincidunt aliquet metus, in convallis leo pellentesque eget. Duis nec ipsum at purus rhoncus ultricies sed id felis. Curabitur sed congue orci. Integer pellentesque dictum facilisis. 

Belden uses a wide selection of materials for cusom solutions - delivering increased strength, improved wear, corrosion resistance and other qualities:

 

 Vestibulum tempus odio felis. Vivamus ultrices urna

 Vestibulum tempus odio felis. Vivamus ultrices urna

 Vestibulum tempus odio felis. Vivamus ultrices urna

 Vestibulum tempus odio felis. Vivamus ultrices urna

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Click to read more on specialty stainless steel for universal joints

 

View Resources

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus finibus nisi ac consectetur commodo. Nullam enim turpis, scelerisque eget egestas a, semper in erat. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Ut tincidunt tincidunt tincidunt. Duis porttitor ullamcorper eleifend. Aliquam dignissim diam sit amet urna fringilla, a fringilla ipsum condimentum. Quisque condimentum, ante in dignissim tempus, ligula nulla mollis nunc, non vulputate diam felis sed mauris. Ut eu faucibus turpis. Morbi cursus eu ante at tempor. Sed tincidunt aliquet metus, in convallis leo pellentesque eget. Duis nec ipsum at purus rhoncus ultricies sed id felis. Curabitur sed congue orci. Integer pellentesque dictum facilisis. 

Belden uses a wide selection of materials for cusom solutions - delivering increased strength, improved wear, corrosion resistance and other qualities:

 

 Vestibulum tempus odio felis. Vivamus ultrices urna

 Vestibulum tempus odio felis. Vivamus ultrices urna

 Vestibulum tempus odio felis. Vivamus ultrices urna

 Vestibulum tempus odio felis. Vivamus ultrices urna

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Click to read more on specialty stainless steel for universal joints

 

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Special Materials for Unique Applications

In some instances, the use of a highly specific material may be prescribed, even if a technically suitable substitute is readily available. Locating rare or hard-to-source materials can pose a significant challenge. This can be the case, for example, in reverse engineering where part qualification and acceptance can depend on using the same exact material as the original part.

Belden uses a wide selection of materials for custom solutions - delivering increased strength, improved wear, corrosion resistance and other qualities:

 AISI 303, 304, 316L, 416, 420, 17-4, 15-5 Stainless Steel

 Aluminum, Bronze & Brass Alloys

 Suplex Stainless Steel (e.g. S32760)

 Super Alloys such as Inconel

 Titanium and others.

 Click to read more on specialty stainless steel selection for universal joints.

Titanium not only offers the highest strength-to-weight ratio among metals but corrosion resistance as well. Due to these qualities, depending on size and functionality requirements, this material is often suitable for special applications.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus finibus nisi ac consectetur commodo. Nullam enim turpis, scelerisque eget egestas a, semper in erat. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Ut tincidunt tincidunt tincidunt. Duis porttitor ullamcorper eleifend. Aliquam dignissim diam sit amet urna fringilla, a fringilla ipsum condimentum. Quisque condimentum, ante in dignissim tempus, ligula nulla mollis nunc, non vulputate diam felis sed mauris. Ut eu faucibus turpis. Morbi cursus eu ante at tempor. Sed tincidunt aliquet metus, in convallis leo pellentesque eget. Duis nec ipsum at purus rhoncus ultricies sed id felis. Curabitur sed congue orci. Integer pellentesque dictum facilisis. 

300 SERIES - AUSTENITIC STAINLESS STEELS

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The AISI 303 [DIN 1.4305]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus finibus nisi ac consectetur commodo. Nullam enim turpis, scelerisque eget egestas a, semper in erat. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. 

 

The AISI 304 [DIN 1.4301]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus finibus nisi ac consectetur commodo. Nullam enim turpis, scelerisque eget egestas a, semper in erat. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. 

 

The AISI 316/316L [DIN 1.4404]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus finibus nisi ac consectetur commodo. Nullam enim turpis, scelerisque eget egestas a, semper in erat. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus finibus nisi ac consectetur commodo. Nullam enim turpis, scelerisque eget egestas a, semper in erat. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Ut tincidunt tincidunt tincidunt. Duis porttitor ullamcorper eleifend.Aliquam dignissim diam sit amet urna fringilla, a fringilla ipsum condimentum. Quisque condimentum, ante in dignissim tempus, ligula nulla mollis nunc

 

600 SERIES - PROPRIETARY STAINLESS STEELS

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15-5 PH consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus finibus nisi ac consectetur commodo. Nullam enim turpis, scelerisque eget egestas a, semper in erat. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. 

 

DUPLEX AND SUPER DUPLEX STAINLESS STEELS

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus finibus nisi ac consectetur commodo. Nullam enim turpis, scelerisque eget egestas a, semper in erat. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Ut tincidunt tincidunt tincidunt. Duis porttitor ullamcorper eleifend.Aliquam dignissim diam sit amet urna fringilla, a fringilla ipsum condimentum. Quisque condimentum, ante in dignissim tempus, ligula nulla mollis nunc

 

Duplex steels used by Belden Universal:

 32205 [1.4462](2205/ FS1), the standard Duplex steel with PREN of 35

 32205 [1.4462](2205/ FS1), the standard Duplex steel with PREN of 35

 32205 [1.4462](2205/ FS1), the standard Duplex steel with PREN of 35

Click to read more on specialty stainless steel for universal joints

 

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Raising the Standard

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus finibus nisi ac consectetur commodo. Nullam enim turpis, scelerisque eget egestas a, semper in erat. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Ut tincidunt tincidunt tincidunt. Duis porttitor ullamcorper eleifend. Aliquam dignissim diam sit amet urna fringilla, a fringilla ipsum condimentum. Quisque condimentum, ante in dignissim tempus, ligula nulla mollis nunc, non vulputate diam felis sed mauris. Ut eu faucibus turpis. Morbi cursus eu ante at tempor. Sed tincidunt aliquet metus, in convallis leo pellentesque eget. Duis nec ipsum at purus rhoncus ultricies sed id felis.

Click to read more on specialty stainless steel for universal joints

 

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Two of the generally accepted international classification systems for stainless steel grades are the American AISI/SAE system, as defined by the AISI (American Iron and Steel Institute) and the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers); and the German DIN/EN system (by the German Institute for Standardization). For the purpose of this post, we will be mentioning the AISI system, with the DIN/EN standard equivalents shown as reference.

300 SERIES - AUSTENITIC STAINLESS STEELS

Austenitic alloys are non-magnetic and, in general, provide a good combination of mechanical strength, machinability and corrosion resistance. 

While they cannot be hardened by heat treating, some can be hardened by work hardening. Belden Universal often uses 300 series stainless steel for the yokes of the universal joints. Pins and Blocks can also be manufactured from these materials if requested, however, the relatively soft 300 series typically does not work well for contact surfaces.

 

AISI 303 [DIN 1.4305]

is the standard stainless-steel material of choice for the yokes of Belden universal joints. It offers medium corrosion resistance. The sulfur content in this stainless alloy makes it ideal for machineability, though increases welding difficulty.

 

AISI 304 [DIN 1.4301]

offers improved corrosion resistance over the 303 grade, however, it is not considered a standard stainless material for Belden’s universal joints since it is not as easy to machine as the 303. 

 

AISI 316/316L [DIN 1.4404]

is Belden’s standard stainless grade for highly corrosion-resistant joints. Yokes, as well as pins and blocks, are made from 316L since an environment that requires such a high level of corrosion resistance would typically not allow the use of boot covers for protection of the pins and blocks. 316L is the low (L) carbon version of 316, making it more suitable for welding and offering slightly improved corrosion resistance but delivering slightly less strength. This is typically countered by the addition of Nitrogen, resulting in the common dual certification of “316/316L” with the strength of the 316L meeting that of the 316 steel.

 

400 SERIES - MARTENSITIC AND FERRITIC STAINLESS STEELS

Ferritic Alloys are magnetic and, like austenitic stainless steels, cannot be hardened. They are also difficult to weld. A commonly used ferritic stainless steel is AISI 430 which offers great corrosion resistance, rivaling that of the 304 steel.

Martensitic Alloys are also magnetic but can be hardened by heat treating which considerably improves their strength. Since components are more difficult to machine in the heat-treated stage, Belden typically first machines then heat treats the joints. We heat treat, then grind / ream the features and contact faces to the finished size.

 

AISI 416 [DIN 1.4005]

is a martensitic, magnetic steel. It is Belden’s standard stainless-steel grade for the pins & blocks of universal joints. While its sulfur content makes it unsuitable for welding, it provides superior machinability and can be hardened by heat treating.

Since it offers corrosion resistance in normal atmosphere but corrodes when exposed to humidity or water over extended periods of time, pins and blocks should be outfitted with a lubricant-retaining boot. This way, the friction-bearing pin & blocks are lubricated and not directly exposed to the surrounding elements.

The combination of the booted 416 pins & blocks with yokes machined from 303 or 316L stainless steel provides a good material pairing that can withstand highly corrosive conditions.

 

AISI 416 [DIN 1.4005]

is a martensitic, magnetic steel. It is Belden’s standard stainless-steel grade for the pins & blocks of universal joints. While its sulfur content makes it unsuitable for welding, it provides superior machinability and can be hardened by heat treating.

Since it offers corrosion resistance in normal atmosphere but corrodes when exposed to humidity or water over extended periods of time, pins and blocks should be outfitted with a lubricant-retaining boot. This way, the friction-bearing pin & blocks are lubricated and not directly exposed to the surrounding elements.

The combination of the booted 416 pins & blocks with yokes machined from 303 or 316L stainless steel provides a good material pairing that can withstand highly corrosive conditions.

 

AISI 420 [1.4021/1.4028]

is also a martensitic, magnetic steel. Due to its higher Chromium content, this material provides higher corrosion resistance than the 416-steel grade. It can be used for both the yokes as well as the pins & blocks and accommodate heat treatment on all components.

 

600 SERIES - PROPRIETARY STAINLESS STEELS

The most commonly used proprietary steels used by Belden is precipitation-hardened stainless steels. They are used when the corrosion resistance of 416 or 420 stainless steel is insufficient and the 303 or 316 stainless steels are not strong enough.

 

AISI 630 [1.4542

often referred to as 17-4 PH (17% Cr / 4%Ni) is a martensitic, magnetic steel. It is Belden’s most commonly specified precipitation hardened stainless steel, commonly used in aerospace applications.

It provides good machinability prior to heat treating to high strength and hardness. Resistance increases with aging temperatures used for the heat treatment process. It is highly resistant to stress-corrosion cracking, offering corrosion resistance comparable to that of AISI 304. It is, however, not suited for chloride environments (e.g. pool or sea water).

 

15-5 PH [1.4545]

 is also frequently used, offering even higher toughness than the 17-4 PH.

 

DUPLEX AND SUPER DUPLEX STAINLESS STEELS

Duplex and Super Duplex Stainless Steels have a mixed (duplex) martensitic and austenitic microstructure. They combine excellent corrosion resistance with high material strength. Their pitting-corrosion resistance is especially outstanding. Their strength and corrosion resistance increase with higher Chromium and Nickel content. A number often used to reflect pitting-corrosion resistance is the PREN number, calculated as:  PREN = %Cr + 3.3 x %Mo + 16 x %N.

 

Duplex steels used by Belden Universal:

 32205 [1.4462](2205/ F51), the standard Duplex steel with PREN of 35

 S32750 [1.4410] (F53), A Super Duplex steel with PREN of >40

 S32750 [1.4501] (F55), A Super Duplex steel with PREN of >40 and higher strength & Elongation than F53

Click to read more on specialty stainless steel for universal joints

 

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Contact

 

info@beldenuniversal.com
(708) 344-4600
4100 Madison Street
Hillside, IL 60162

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