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Zero-Max OHLA and CD Couplings Satisfy Critical Electrification Requirements

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Apr 16,2024


The recent trend toward electrification minimizes the power requirement needed from internal combustion engines and can sometimes even replace internal combustion engines in a driveline of off-highway equipment.  The result is a greener, cleaner, sustainable energy alternative. Electric motors now being designed into mobile equipment have increased the importance of integrating high performance mechanical components like overhung load adaptors and flexible shaft couplings into these new electrified systems.

The reasons for integrating these mechanical components from Zero-Max, Inc. -- they provide a precise and easy interface for electrical drives, resulting in cleaner, quieter, safer and efficient motor performance. 

With the change to electrified power, there are often challenges integrating mechanical components such as performance requirements, dimensional fit-up, longevity, and other features needed to transition the electric power into the equipment.  These challenges are even more prevalent in retrofit applications. Customization may be required to achieve proper fit, speed capacity, and other critical performance features. Zero-Max excels with decades of experience in customizing its solutions to meet the most challenging applications, including those posed by today’s electrification requirements. 

Zero-Max Overhung Load Adaptors (OHLA) Provide Mechanical System Load Support and Contamination Protection

OHLAs provide both overhung radial and axial load support to protect electrified mobile equipment motors from heavy application loads, extending the lifetime of the motor and alleviating the cost of downtime both from maintenance costs and loss of production. OHLAs also provide a contamination barrier to protect the electrified system from harsh environments that may include water, dirt, abrasives, chemicals, and other invasive debris, which are often present in mobile equipment applications. 

Zero-Max OHLAs are available in an extensive offering of standard models for typical applications, or customized designs to fit applications with unique requirements.  Zero-Max notes that well over half of OHLA sales are for customized units.

Zero-Max has a newly expanded standard OHLA product offering, including Extra-Duty designs for extreme applications with high overhung load conditions, high speeds, and high torque loads.  Zero-Max also has recently added Double-Male Shaft OHLAs which can handle high radial load capacity for pulleys to achieve belt ratios in applications, or axial loads for spindle-related uses, and are sealed for reliable use in the harshest applications.

In switching to electrified power, the electric motors may have traditional SAE mounting standards typically used on mobile equipment, but may also include NEMA standards, or other non-industry standard mounting dimensions and piloting features.   Zero-Max can accommodate these non-SAE mounting challenges with modified / customized OHLA designs.

The latest Extra-Duty OHLA designs feature several carefully chosen enhancements including spherical bearings (standard), enhanced sealing technology, stronger shafts and a longer profile delivering increased operating life, extended load capacities, and higher speed ratings.

While the standard OHLA product line is designed to handle high loads at high operating speeds, the new Extra-Duty models are designed to maximize performance in the most demanding electrified applications. The OHLAs provide a solid, permanent mounting surface for face-mounting or foot-mounting components into the application. 

Customized OHLA designs are available for applications with challenging performance, material, and dimensional specifications including vertical shaft mounting orientations. Zero-Max offers a free analysis of any overhung load application to assure proper selection including estimated bearing life, confirming strength of the input shaft connection and making lubrication recommendations. There is no engineering charge for custom designs and OHLA custom models are available in any quantity from one to hundreds or thousands of units.

For both new and retrofit applications, OHLA models feature exclusive Zero-Max design technology based on decades of field-proven experience in the industry. 

Zero-Max CD Couplings Provide Misalignment Protection in Electric Motor Systems

Accounting for shaft misalignment in electric motor systems is equally as critical as in combustion engine-driven systems for mobile equipment. To combat misalignment in these electric motor systems, CD Couplings from Zero-Max provide a high misalignment capacity for parallel, angular, and axial misalignments, while keeping reaction loads low on the connected components.  Low reaction loads minimize downtime and increase the lifetime of the system.  In addition to high misalignment capacity, CD Couplings also combine high torque capacity and the highest torsional stiffness due to its proprietary composite disc design. CD Couplings also provide electrical isolation between shafts, and alleviate the cost of downtime, maintenance, and loss of production. 

Also important, changing to an electrified or partially electrified system often enables downsizing from a larger combustion engine-driven system while retaining needed power and offering desirable operating features. Transitioning to electrified power can be more cost efficient to operate besides being cleaner, quieter, non-polluting and safer.

Electric motor applications often require unique designed shaft couplings for fitting and transitioning electrified power into mobile equipment. Zero-Max is ideally qualified as the premier supplier of custom flexible shaft couplings. The technology of the Composite Disc design together with many decades of experience by Zero-Max Engineers combine to provide a superior solution for the most demanding custom shaft coupling needs.

System designers needing a robust shaft coupling for challenging electrified applications will find Custom CD Couplings from Zero-Max combine high torque capacity, high misalignment capacity, and high torsional stiffness. Custom CD Coupling designs may include couplings handling high power in a smaller package, blind fit couplings, large scale floating shaft couplings, higher misalignment or higher torque designs, higher speed couplings – plus many more.

Editor's Note: Zero-Max utilizes Finite Element Analysis in the design of custom coupling disc packs and reviews various application requirements such as torque, speed, torsional stiffness, misalignment and dimensional fit to ensure a proper design is made for high performance and long lifetime in challenging electrification applications.

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