There are a number of features that all couplings have in common. One is the need for a spacer. API 671 calls for an 18-inch spacer minimum. This is reasonable for smaller units, say to 5,000 hp; however, as the size of train increases to 15,000 to 20,000 hp, a 24-inch spacer should be considered. Above that size, longer spacers, 30 to 36 inches, are in order. The spacer first of all provides for unit separation and maintenance space. Secondly, the longer the spacer, the less the angular deflection of the coupling at its flexure point for a given offset. This makes absolute equipment alignment less critical.

For the smaller units, under 200 hp, this requirement may be relaxed. Space for service is not as critical, but a minimum of 5 inches should be used.

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