Elliott Manufacturing | Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

In 1879, Nelson Stow invented and patented flexible shafting, a method of transmitting power from a remote source to a controllable mechanism. After acquiring Stow Manufacturing in 1993, Elliott expanded the flex shaft product line to include a wide array of control cables specially designed for reliable and economical operation. We have manufactured valve actuation products for more than 50 years. Our product line is widely recognized as a benchmark solution for remote mechanical valve operation. Throughout our history, we have built all of our products with user safety and reliability as our top priorities.

Can’t find the answer to your question here or need more detail? Elliott’s customer service team is here to support you. Please contact us for assistance.

Flex shafts

A flex shaft is a complete mechanism capable of transmitting rotary power or motion between two points that need not be co-linear. Flex shafts are available in a wide range of configurations and materials to meet your needs. Flex shafts are very durable and can operate in demanding environments, even if continuous operation at very high speed is required. There are two primary types of flex shafts:

  • Power drive: Designed for continuous operation at speeds exceeding 100 RPM where torque is carried in one direction of rotation. It may also be used where intermittent operation is an application requirement.
  • Remote control: Designed for intermittent operation at speeds of 100 RPM or less. Remote Control Flex Shafts generally handle higher torque loads than Power Drive Flex Shafts and can rotate either clockwise or counterclockwise without adverse effects.

Generally, a flex shaft is made up of the following:

  • Core: Wire wound in layers in opposing directions around a center wire.
  • Casing: Flexible conduit that supports the core during operation. Many of Elliott’s flex shafts come with a casing comprised of a steel liner, steel and cloth reinforcing braids and an elastomer cover.
  • Motor connection: This is what attaches the flex shaft to a power source. There are many different motor connections ranging from the simple single fitting to a more complex multi-faceted system.
  • Fitting: A core fitting is attached directly to the core to mate to the power source.
  • Ferrule: A ferrule attaches to the casing to support it in a uniform bend and to keep it from rotating.

Some systems will have each of these components while others may only have a few.

We can help you determine if the torque, speed and environment of your application are appropriate for a flex shaft. Visit our Markets pages to learn more about how our products are used.

Our Core Specifications is a good place to start. You should know the power you need to transmit, operating speed, direction of rotation, minimum bend radius and torsional deflection. We can figure it out for you if you need help.

Control cables

Whether it’s a push-pull or control cable, the assembly allows you to transfer motion in a simple yet reliable manner. If you know your stroke (travel) length, overall length and application environment, we can help find the right cable for you.

  • Light load connector controls: Suited for less demanding applications and available with or without a protective nylon outer tube for corrosion resistance. These products can connect an existing lever with your device. They work well for dampeners, vents and valves. Cables can employ a loop on the end which may be centered on tangent or a specific orientation between loops.
  • Heavy load Duraglide connector controls: A more robust alternative to our light load line, these control cables are designed for long life in demanding environments. Many of our customers have employed these units in agricultural or heavy construction applications because they use a high-density polyethylene and stainless-steel liner to reduce the possibility of corrosion.
  • Push-pull cables: A wide variety of push-pull cable ends, fittings and accessories make Elliott the preferred supplier to many market leaders. Our products are rated between -70 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and function in the most demanding and rugged applications.

The more information you can provide the better, but the most helpful details are application, load, envelope, required bend, need for an end fitting, importance of backlash, operating environment (specifically vibration, temperature and corrosive/abrasive agents), cycle life and friction.

Remote valve operation

In general, we offer two system configurations:

  1. Standard flexible shaft system – Handles valve torque up to 80 foot pounds (109 Nm), up to a distance of 125 feet (38 m), with a minimum bend radius of 12 inches (47 cm).
  2. Integrated gear system – Handles valve torque up to 250 foot pounds (340 Nm), up to a distance of 89 feet (27 m), with a minimum bend radius of 8 inches (20 cm).

Elliott’s remote valve actuation systems (also known as Uniflex-Stow) can be used with or without a gearbox, connect directly to a valve or valve gearbox input shaft, or even connect to a valve handwheel, eliminating any valve topwork engineering. We offer many, many options to suit various projects.

Gather as much information about the type of valve (size, rating, etc.) you need. It’s also helpful to know maximum input torque to operate the valve or gearbox, distance from the valve to the point-of-operation, number of 90-degree bends and the preferred handwheel position (vertical/horizontal).

Have more questions? Contact our team who can help steer you in the right direction.