Retaining rings, also known as circlips or snap rings, are often used to secure components on shafts or inside bores. They offer advantages such as simplicity, ease of installation, cost-effectiveness, and space efficiency compared to traditional industrial fasteners like nuts, bolts, screws, and threaded fasteners. Their small stature and fewer tool requirements make them an ideal replacement in industrial applications. Snap rings are a common type of retaining ring in the market. They are also called circlips, designed to fit into a groove or recess in a shaft or housing to keep the assembly in place.
Applications of Snap Rings
The applications of snap rings cut across the divide. It’s almost impossible to think of an industry that doesn’t rely on snap rings to keep their assemblies together. Some of the common examples of the applications of snap rings include;
- In the automotive industry, snap rings feature in vehicle transmissions and engines. They also help to keep the bearings and other smaller components in place.
- The rings are also extensively used in aerospace, mostly in aircraft engines and landing gears. They also feature in other vital components and play the same role of ensuring parts hold their position.
- Snap rings are extensively used in the medical field, particularly in medical equipment like surgical instruments, to secure blades and other components.
- Industrial machinery is the most reliable on snap rings. They are used in various machines, including compressors, pumps and other power tools. In these applications, the rings are used to hold shafts and bearings, among others, in place.
- Snap rings also feature in more common household products like bicycles, power tools and lawnmowers.
Types of Snap Rings
Snap rings come in different configurations to suit their extensive applications. But these variations can be classified into two main categories;
Internal snap rings
These are rings that fit inside the bore or cylinder. They expand outward to hold the assembly in place. The sub-types of internal snap rings include;
- Tapered section internal snap rings – These are conically shaped snap rings that have a smaller diameter at one than the other. During installation, the ring’s larger end sits against the groove’s bottom to provide a secure hold.
- Constant section internal snap rings – They have a uniform cross-section and can be used in grooves of varying diameters.
- Spiral internal snap rings – These unique-looking rings have a spiral shape. They can be used in grooves that have different widths and diameters.
External snap rings
While internal snap rings fit on the inside of the shaft, external ones fit on the outside and contract to hold the parts in place. Some of the types of external snap rings include;
- Constant section external snap rings – Like their internal counterparts, this range of snap rings has a uniform cross-section. They can be used in grooves with various diameters.
- Tapered section external snap rings – They have a conical shape. When installed, the larger part of the ring faces outwards. The entire ring then contracts to secure the component.
- Spiral external snap rings – As you can guess from the name, this type of snap ring has a spiral shape and fits in grooves with varying widths and diameters.
Besides the extensive designs and sizes of snap rings that we carry, our selection is further diversified by the range of materials from which we make our snap rings. We make them from stainless steel and brass to match the project specification and stress requirements.
Advantages of Snap Rings
Snap rings have made their mark in different industries and fields because of the unique benefits they offer courtesy of their engineering and design. Some of the reasons engineers prefer to use snap rings include the following;
- Snap rings provide secure retention of components ensuring they don’t come loose during operation.
- Snap rings are more cost-effective than other fastening methods because they don’t require additional installation parts, tools or labour.
- The rings are easy and quick to install.
- They take up less space than other industrial fasteners allowing for more compact and smaller assemblies.
- They are reusable, making them cost-saving during maintenance and repair.