Retaining Rings Make Shaft-Sense

Cost Saving Fastening Method: Rotor Clip Retaining Rings

What Makes Retaining Rings the Right Solution?

In today’s mechanical motion systems, the vast majority of power transmission is rotational, and, as a result, shafts are omnipresent in everything from motors in UAV drones to 3-D printers. When shafts are assembled into final products, fasteners are placed at the ends or at fixed linear distances along the shaft where components need to be located. Traditional fasteners like screws, nuts, bolts, cotter pins, and washers require threading, tapping, drilling, and other machining operations. Retaining rings are metal fasteners installed into a groove on a shaft or in bore creating a shoulder that resists thrust loading and keeps the assembly together.

traditional method of fastening

Cost Saving Fastening Method: Rotor Clip Retaining Rings


There are three main types of retaining rings: Constant section retaining rings feature a uniform, constant section that provides three point contact with the groove. Tapered section rings grip the entire periphery of the groove along the ring’s edge. Spiral rings are wound from a single section of flat wire and provide 360 degree axial contact.

Retaining rings provide several advantages over traditional fasteners. They almost always provide a smaller finished design footprint with reduced weight. A single retaining ring can replace multiple pieces of hardware in an assembly. There is no need for complicated shaft or housing preparation such as threading, tapping, and drilling leading to lower fabrication time and costs. Lower cost hardware and reduced labor costs mean an economical fastening solution for the manufacturer.

Automotive air conditioning unit

Automotive air conditioning unit

Retaining rings are used industry wide and can be found throughout cars, trucks, and other rolling vehicles. Aerospace products are full of retaining rings from high bypass turbofan engines to fly-by-wire control surfaces. Other industries that rely heavily on retaining rings include wind power, power generation, oil and gas, power tools, motion systems, and HVAC to name just a few. Retaining rings’ light weight, simple, and fast assembly properties make them ideal candidates for product assembly simplification and cost reduction.


Spiral Retaining Ring’s Unique Assembly Proposition

spiral retaining ring

Spiral retaining rings are a simple, elegant solution for retaining ring applications that require 360 degree contact with the groove and shoulder of the part being assembled. They are designed not unlike a torsion spring and allow expansion (unwind) to slip over shafts and contraction (wind) to squeeze into bores. Spiral retaining rings require additional force to operate over taper and constant section rings, and, in return, offer a stronger fixing strength for the assembly. These rings are manufactured by coiling a single flat wire and can be single or multi-turn; depending on the application requirements giving spiral retaining rings a broad range of standard and custom sizes up to 25 inches in diameter.

flat wire coiling

Key advantages of this manufacturing technique are that there is no stamping waste or edge burrs and no concern about orientation of metal grain. Rolled flat wires have a natural radiused edge making them easier to slide into or onto position. Dedicated tooling is not necessary, making spiral retaining rings attractive for low-quantity custom applications. This manufacturing method avails itself to popular materials such as carbon and stainless steel as well as alloys such as Inconel, Hastelloy, and beryllium copper.

Rotor Clip Company—A Mechanical Assembly Resource

Rotor Clip manufactures a full line of tapered retaining rings, constant section rings, spiral retaining rings, and wave springs to world standards and supports its market with a full line of installation tools, including applicators, pliers, dispensers, and automated assembly equipment. They also offer self-compensating hose clamps featuring the latest innovations in engineering, R&D, and testing. Rotor Clip manufactures in the USA at a 238,000 square foot facility in Somerset, New Jersey, and also has operations in Sheffield, England, Idstein, Germany, The Czech Republic, and Shanghai, China—providing worldwide service to its customers. The company is certified to ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949, AS 9100, and ISO 14001 and has received numerous quality awards from major OEMs, automotive manufacturers, and distributors worldwide. To encourage designers and engineers to realize the benefits of using retaining rings in their designs, Rotor Clip offers a very responsive sample request service and provides support for the marketplace before and after the sale by providing technical assistance, product training, and cost-reduction programs, along with competitive pricing and JIT delivery.

The automotive industry offers an impressive though certainly not complete illustration of the many components and assemblies in a car that can be improved through the use of retaining rings.


EV Application with rotor clip parts

Retaining rings can be a solution for the cost and weight reduction goals you would like to achieve in your designs. Simplification of component machining and assembly as well as part count reduction could provide your business with additional labor and inventory cost savings. Rethinking assembly to incorporate retaining rings is a worthwhile investment for all engineering teams that produces results.


More than Parts. A True Partnership.

Our passion is creating the best rings, springs, and clamps. Our mission is to make your work a success. We are here for you.