Scalable coupling part machined from one workpiece

Sensoren, Geräte und Komponenten : Komponenten

Ref.-Nr.: 0704-5610-BC

The invention describes an easy and cheap to produce, compact coupling part, manufactured out of one workpiece. This part, scalable for shaft diameters as low as 1 mm upwards, enables a quick and secure, backlash-free one- or two-sided engagement of shafts without the need for working space or additional tools (like a screwdriver). If requested, torque limited coupling (in one or both rotation directions) is possible. The production methods comprise a variety of materials and manufacturing processes. In addition, the invention allows automated coupling operations for production lines. Already low-volume productions or even individual constructions make sense from an economic perspective. One embodiment of the invention reliably operates on the scientific satellite “Solar Orbiter”.


The demand for coupling components, which are applicable in extremely tight conditions, is enormous. Apart from the objective for usage in tight conditions, space-saving, high precision assembly and easy handling realized in a single engagement component is a challenging task. The wide range of electronic, optical and precision mechanical requirements are currently often met by (highly) customized multi part solutions. In addition, these current solutions require free access, working space and tools for connecting/mounting the engagement.


The invented coupling part includes flexible elements (marked as (FE) in Fig. 1b), which are carved out of the workpiece. The shafts/axes can be moved into these elements from one (Fig. 1b) or both (Fig. 1a) sides in an easy and reusable manner. Shaft diameters/dimensions can be scaled from about 1 mm upwards. The flat edges of the shaft are coupled to the flexible elements mentioned above, and the contact pressure of the flexible elements results in a transmittable torque. Thus, the thickness, width, and material of the flexible element determines the stiffness and therefore the backlash-free transmittable torque. The “cross section” of the elements’ design (elongation) shown in Fig. 1a has several degrees of freedom and the cross section can be designed according to the application (cf. Fig. 1a and Fig. 1b).

Fig. 1: (a and b) 3D models of possible embodiments of the invented coupling part for coupling (a) two or (b) one shaft(s). The flexible element is visible in all images, and it is explicitly marked with (FE) in image (b). Image (c) shows a photograph of a 1:1 model of a device operated on the “Solar Orbiter” satellite which was launched in February 2020 and successfully supplies images of the sun since June 2020. Fig. 2 shows the integration of this element into the satellites’ device.

Detailed technical information can be found in the patent applications cited below.

Fig 2. Integration of the coupling part shown in Fig. 1c into the scientific satellite “Solar Orbiter”.


  • Fabrication out of one workpiece, allowing an extremely precise, cheap, easy, fast and scalable production
  • Can be used to connect one or two shafts
  • Secure coupling via insertion of axis with no need for screws, other tools, work space…
  • Variable connecting length
  • Usable for rigid and flexible systems
  • Connecting mechanism on one or both sides, shaft/axis optionally as part of the element
  • Non-abrasive and maintenance-free
  • Optional (mechanical) torque limitation
  • Scalable for axes from 1 mm upwards
  • Low-volume production is possible and makes sense from an economic perspective (on-demand production)


The invention offers a wide range of applications including

  • the automotive industry
  • the sensor technology
  • the coupling technology
  • the space (already successfully working on the “Solar Orbiter”)

Patent Information

DPMA DE102018110987A1
PCT WO2019215171A1
US US20210048074A1

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