Retaining rings are metal fasteners installed in grooves to create a shoulder for holding an assembly together. They have a compact design and are very light as compared to other fasteners. Retaining rings can also be referred to as circlip rings or snap rings. Retaining rings are commonly used in fitness equipment, storage brackets, wind turbines, bicycles, gas pumps, doorknobs, office equipment, and many other applications.
In the past, threaded rings, nuts, bolts, screws, cotter pins, and washers were primarily used for holding parts of equipment or machines together. However, the past few years have seen a rise in the use of retaining rings as they eliminate many redundant operations, like tapping, threading, and drilling, all of which are associated with conventional fasteners.
Manufacturing costs are also reduced with retaining rings, as grooves can be established with the help of other manufacturing processes. According to experts, retaining rings are generally designed based on factors such as installation and removal requirements, operating conditions and environments, rotational speed, the expected force load on the ring, and cost. Retaining rings come in multiple sizes, styles, shapes, materials, and combinations to accommodate their various requirements, and different specifications and designs are suitable for a broad range of applications and industries.
Benefits of Using Retaining Rings
Apart from eliminating redundant processes like threading and drilling, retaining rings also significantly help in lowering labor and raw material costs. For instance, the reduced use of raw materials is seen in various degrees with the use of retaining rings. In addition to ushc benefits, they have a compact design, and are quite easy to assemble. Moreover, as they are easy to install, no special training is needed for assembly purposes.
Types of Retaining Rings
Depending on your needs and applications, there are 4 types of retaining rings available in the market.
Tapered section retaining rings are typically installed horizontally from the center of the part’s axis. They can also be externally installed along the radius of circular components. These rings decrease symmetrically from the center and toward the free ends, remaining circular when expanded or contracted within the limits of usual usage. There are various types of rings within the category of tapered section retaining rings, including axially assembled, beveled, inverted, bowed, self-locking, and radially-assembled retaining rings.
Constant section retaining rings feature a constant and uniform section. In simpler terms, the width of the material of the ring is the same at any point with respect to the circumference of the component. They are made up of either round or flat wire, and constant section retaining rings take on an elliptical deformation when they contract or expand. Ultimately, they come in contact with the groove at 3 or more isolated points. However, this never happens continuously around the periphery.
Spiral retaining rings feature flat wire that is coiled spirally to obtain a finished design. These rings are installed axially in bores, housings, or shafts to make complete contact with the groove. Spiral rings do not interfere with the assembly at all, as they do not have any lugs or ears. To make the removal process simpler, these rings typically come with a removal notch. To produce spiral retaining rings in an economic manner, they can also be produced with special alloys, such as stainless steel, as the manufacturing process avoids the production of scrap.
Circular push-on retaining rings are commonly made from metals. These rings are like toothed washers and can be installed by simply pressing the end of the grooved shaft till the inner teeth of the nut snap into the groove. Using push nuts eliminates the cost of threading nuts on the ends of shafts at the time of manufacturing.
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