September 2021

Industry Case Study

UNIVERSAL JOINT FOR POULTRY PROCESSING EQUIPMENT

One of the world’s largest poultry processing plants was losing productivity due to excessive downtime from frequent replacements of the industry-standard stainless steel pin & block universal joint used in the equipment at the time. The friction surfaces of the pin and block joint experienced premature wear from the continuous operation and harsh operating environment; with the frequency of replacement negatively impacting production.

Belden Universal’s solution was a needle bearing universal joint with yokes made from 316 grade stainless steel to survive harsh wash-downs. It included blind bores and keyways to enhance strength and prevent corrosion of the cross and bearings; and a silicone boot and food- grade grease to comply with sanitary requirements.

The needle bearing universal joint is available in a wide variety of hub materials. Bores can be customized for any inside diameter and depth to attain a blind configuration, preventing shaft penetration into the center joint components and providing added protection against contamination. The universal joint assembly can also be passivated to remove impurities. Boot covers are added for gaseous and abrasive environments for enhanced protection of the pins and block or cross and bearing. Food grade grease to ensure cleaner and safer processing is available upon request. Needle bearing universal joints are manufactured in both inch and metric sizes and operating angles up to 45.

 

Industry Case Study

MINIATURE UNIVERSAL JOINT FOR SURGICAL MANIPULATOR

Belden developed a miniature universal joint for a company specializing in surgical instrumentation for a tool used in minimally invasive surgeries.

The manual surgical manipulator system required a joint to transmit power from the handle to the connecting shaft. The system was meant to fill the need between conventional surgical instruments and surgical robotics: while conventional instrumentation does not meet the requirements of advanced endoscopic surgeries, robotic systems are too complex and costly for daily routine use. This manual manipulator represents a new class of surgical devices that provide full freedom and optimal ergonomics during surgeries without the complexity of electromechanical robotic devices. The surgical system has been designed to improve endoscopic suturing and other surgical maneuvers. It can be used for a wide variety of surgical procedures in an array of clinical specialties. The system consists of two hand-guided surgical manipulators. Depending on the surgical task, graspers, scissors, needle holders and other devices can be attached to the tip, with changeovers in seconds. The Belden universal joint transmits power from the handle to the connecting shaft which serves as a natural extension that emulates the movement of the hand. The universal joint has an outside diameter of 8 mm to accommodate the space limitations of a surgical tool. A deflectable and rotatable tip provides all degrees of handling freedom.

During design development, the customer requested a special hub configuration to ensure secure connection and precise operation. Through innovative manufacturing processes, Belden made modifications to its standard universal joint concept and delivered prototypes for testing. Originally done as two separate pieces, the new product incorporates the universal joint and a component of the internal extension into single piece. Adhering to the sterilization regulations of the medical industry, the universal joint was manufactured in stainless steel. Belden developed a miniature universal joint for a company specializing in surgical instrumentation for a tool used in minimally invasive surgeries.

The manual surgical manipulator system required a joint to transmit power from the handle to the connecting shaft. The system was meant to fill the need between conventional surgical instruments and surgical robotics: while conventional instrumentation does not meet the requirements of advanced endoscopic surgeries, robotic systems are too complex and costly for daily routine use. This manual manipulator represents a new class of surgical devices that provide full freedom and optimal ergonomics during surgeries without the complexity of electromechanical robotic devices. The surgical system has been designed to improve endoscopic suturing and other surgical maneuvers. It can be used for a wide variety of surgical procedures in an array of clinical specialties. The system consists of two hand-guided surgical manipulators. Depending on the surgical task, graspers, scissors, needle holders and other devices can be attached to the tip, with changeovers in seconds. The Belden universal joint transmits power from the handle to the connecting shaft which serves as a natural extension that emulates the movement of the hand. The universal joint has an outside diameter of 8 mm to accommodate the space limitations of a surgical tool. A deflectable and rotatable tip provides all degrees of handling freedom.

 

This 2.5” OD universal joint was customized with a flange connection and a mating part to suit mounting and installation requirements. A lubrication distribution system and fittings were added for re-lubrication after washdowns. Belden has designed special pins and fittings that aid the distribution of the lubricant to each plain bearing. All main components were manufactured from 316L stainless steel to resist corrosion from aggressive fluids. (Below image was partially exposed to make the lubrication channel visible.)

Additional Information

Case Studies Standard Materials Joint Line

This exceptional drive shaft features a carefully designed spring loading function, built into the hex shaft. The hex shaft is integral to its inbound yoke, meaning, the yoke and hex shaft are machined from one continuous piece of material. The hub bores are blind. Yokes are manufactured from AISI 4142 alloy steel; the pins and blocks are made from AISI 8620 alloy steel. The joints as well as the hex shaft are outfitted with Nitrile lubricant-retaining boots. The Cadmium plating provides corrosion resistance to areas not protected by boots. (Below image is partially exposed for a better view into the shaft and its components.)

This telescoping alloy-steel drive shaft was designed with high-strength construction to handle higher torque loads. The hubs have been heat-treated for increased strength. For additional durability, the ends were outfitted with 'blind bores' to a specified depth, rather than fully through-machined. The shaft is internally spring loaded, in order to accommodate an oversized hex shaft, and to keep the components confined to the shaft. The moving components are protected by one single-bellow boot cover and one low-profile boot, to enable operation in a tight envelope. The above image is partially exposed for a better view into the joint and its components.

Additional Information

Joint Line Standard Materials

Due to outdoor exposure, the yokes of this 2” OD single universal joint were manufactured from corrosion-resistant 316L stainless steel. The pins & blocks were machined from aluminum-bronze, a material that is highly suitable for friction reduction, in addition to its corrosion resistant properties. The hubs were customized with so called ‘blind bores’ as opposed to ‘through bores’, meaning they are only machined to a specified length, providing a “stop” and preventing the shaft from breaking through to the center components. A black silicone grease-filled boot cover was added to deliver continuous lubrication to the pins and block. The image shown above is a partially cut model, exposing the aluminum-bronze pins & block.

Valve Actuation Joint with Custom Compression Spring

This stainless steel universal joint with a 2-inch OD was custom designed for a remotely operated valve actuation project. The female end of the joint is mounted on a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), with the male end actuating the valve. The stainless steel custom compression spring ensures that the joint remains axially straight during operation and can interface with the valve. The ends of the component are outfitted with square input and output hubs and pinholes.

Fully Booted Drive Shaft with Clamp Hubs

This telescopic drive shaft is almost entirely encased in nitrile boots. The yokes and other exposed components were manufactured from AISI 303 stainless steel. The clamp hubs with blind bores and keyways ensure easy installation. The boots protect the joints and the spline shaft from contamination and retain the lubricant for continuous lubrication of the friction bearings.

Telescoping Drive Shaft with Nylon Cover

The customer's previously used product often suffered from worn-out spline shafts since the application required the shaft to extend and compress in operation. The drive shaft was also lacking proper lubrication, since the application did not allow space for a lubricant retaining boot. Belden’s new solution included a nylon cover, fixed on the short inbound yoke, sliding freely along the sleeve diameter. The spline shaft length is dimensioned so there is always a gap for lubricant under the cover, even at closed length. To further improve the spline shaft’s lifetime, it is nitride heat-treated for hardness and wear resistance. The Nylon cover on this illustration is partially cut open for a better view of the shaft’s components.

This 1.25” single universal joint was developed from 7075-T651 grade aluminum, delivering a high strength-to-weight ratio. Needle bearings were required for reduced friction and backlash over extended periods of time. The right end was designed with a ‘cone-shaped’ hub connection and a keyway, in order to lock the joint in place. The pin bore ensures axial retention of the mating shaft. The universal joint was glued in place within the application, but also secured with a pin, as a safety measure.

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Contact

 

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

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