It’s pretty hard to hold something together without using a few handy items like nails, screws, rings, pins, and bolts, which are all fasteners that join two things together. So, for example, when you staple a piece of paper or hang up a painting in your house, you get to use these fasteners to do so.
However, when you’re trying to choose a fastener, it’s good to keep in mind that different kinds have different uses. As you probably know, figuring out and deciding on which fasteners to use almost always comes down to the application and your needs. You may also need to consider the environment in which the pin will be used, how easy it will be to install, material and weight limitations, cost, and aesthetics.
Considering all factors, sometimes, it can be of good use to use a particular type of fasteners called retaining rings that have specific purposes and are one of the most reliable fasteners on the market right now. So, if you are wondering what precisely is a retaining ring and when you should use it, here’s a brief overview of what retaining rings are and their most common applications.
What Is A Retaining Ring?
Retaining rings are small, circular pieces of metal or steel with a groove on the inside, and their most common use is to hold two objects together. The grooved side of the ring is placed against one of the objects and then forced over the other object until it can be pushed no further. This creates a tight fit between both objects, making them extremely difficult to separate.
Depending on its thread configurations, a retaining ring can be either internal or external. For example, an internal retaining ring is placed in a housing groove, and an external retaining ring is placed in a shaft groove. Likewise, inner rings are sometimes called housing rings, and equivalently, outer rings are called shaft rings.
Why Would You Use Retaining Rings?
Retaining rings are straightforward enough that most people can get the hang of them quickly but complex enough that you can use one for a lifetime without mastering all their details. Moreover, using a single retaining ring in place of multiple bolts saves time and money by eliminating the need for drilling and tapping additional holes and is much easier to install.
How Are Retaining Rings Made?
Most retaining rings nowadays are made by edge winding, a manufacturing method of circle coiling rectangular section flat wire on edge. On the other hand, traditional retaining rings, widely known as snap rings, are stamped out of sheet metal.
However, edge winding is a more economical way of producing a retaining ring because, unlike the edge winding process, which causes no material waste, stamping a ring can make a surplus of scrap from the center and squander a lot of good expensive material.
Applications of Retaining Rings
Retaining rings are applied in almost every industry, even though you’ve probably never even noticed them before. So let’s look at some of the most frequent applications of retaining rings across the sectors.
The most common use for retaining rings is in the manufacturing of automobiles. In the automotive sector, retaining rings are used to secure different parts of the cars together. An excellent example of this is the coil springs used in car suspensions, where the springs are held together by a retainer ring that allows them to move up and down smoothly while the car is being driven.
Retaining rings are also found in engine assemblies, for the production of pistons, valves, and cylinder head covers. The large outer diameter of the ring keeps these parts from coming loose, even under extreme conditions such as high heat or sudden acceleration.
Another retaining ring usage is found in bearings to retain the balls or rollers on a shaft. That means that they hold the balls or rollers in place. If the bearing is subjected to a very high load, it will shear instead of pulling the shaft out of the housing.
With every type of retaining ring having its unique application requirements, retaining rings can also be found in many other types of machinery and equipment, such as boilers, pumps and turbines, and many other types of industrial equipment that can’t function daily without the essential retaining rings.
Retaining rings are a wonderfully simple and effective key component to ensure the integrity of an object or machine, from retaining walls and dams to jet engines. Moreover, they can be simple and easy to install while still being highly effective in their service, and with so many potential applications for them, there’s no reason that you can’t find a way to use them as well.