Most Common Uses of Locking-Nuts

Blog | December 3rd, 2015

Energy losses rise from the frame of a motor as it spins on a shaft. Energetic pulses oscillate, causing parts to vibrate and fasteners to loosen. Thankfully, locking-nuts anchor bearings and reinforce fastening mechanisms, placing a special gripping component within the nut to anchor the parts.

Resisting Vibrational Loosening Forces 

Electric motors generate vibrations. Pumps and fast moving mechanical devices cause a hum of background energy to throb along metal housings. Even conveyors and production lines get in on the act, caving slightly to jarring impacts. If locking nuts weren’t installed on the mounting feet of the motor, the shaft of that motor and the fastening bolts of its belt drive, then every assembled part would slacken and set the motor wobbling. A mine conveyor or sizing screen encounters greater energies, bumps and crashes that slacken components when the fastening bolts and nuts aren’t designed to lock tight. Add a nylon insert to the nut and fastening bolts prevail, drawing locking-nuts in close until the nylon ring compresses and the two parts lock together. This type of fastener is popular in environments that require a solid grip, but the fact that nylon is in use will introduce unpredictable effects. If the location is hot or prone to the occasional splash of chemicals, the inserts will weaken or even melt.

Employing Mechanical Flex 

The nylon insert form is familiar in thousands of applications and is given a place of prominence within high street hardware stores. The nuts can even be reused a limited number of times, but the fact that plastic is employed in a metal world does cause concerns. Flex locking-nuts are manufactured without plastic. Instead, a protruding metal ring forms at one end of the nut, and this extending ring is slotted. Slightly smaller in diameter than the hex nut, the cut sections bend ever so slightly as the fastener tightens. Preferred in situations where heat is a problem, the bend of the ring can still be compromised by extreme temperature variations.

Applications 

Shaft bearings use one or more locking nuts, components that anchor in place when high radial motion introduces a loosening action to the scenario. Rod and piston configurations use locking nuts inside vehicle engines, as do the moving arms that tug hydraulically-actuated flight control surfaces along a wing. All-in-one variants, types that are free of nylon and other plastic inserts, are fitted in chemical plants and HVAC rooms to handle expansion effects. The nuts also sandwich mini bearings, stopping a newly adjusted shaft from shifting on those bearings. Finally, star-shaped variants cut into metal surfaces to deliver a solid mechanical grip, a grip that holds electrical conduits in place and securely supports heavy objects.

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