A scaffolding coupler is a device used to hold two pieces of a scaffolding structure together. The size, shape, and function of a scaffolding coupler can vary depending on where on the structure it will be placed, though they are almost always placed in locations at which two or more pipes or bars come together. The coupler will clamp tight to ensure the two pieces being connected do not move or slip, and numerous couplers will be used throughout the structure to complete the finished scaffold.
The three major components of any scaffolding are standards, ledgers, and transoms. Standards are the vertical posts to which ledgers will be secured; ledgers are horizontal crosspieces that help create work platforms and lateral rigidity. Transoms are placed in between ledgers to create even more stability and rigidity. All of these pieces are secured to each other using various scaffolding coupler pieces. A corner scaffolding coupler is usually L-shaped, and it will connect two horizontal pieces that are perpendicular to each other; in many cases, this corner piece will also feature an insert for one or more vertical standards. The scaffolding coupler is tightened down with a bolt once it is positioned properly.
Sometimes the scaffolding coupler is designed to be more modular; it may feature a swivel or pivot point, allowing standards, ledgers, and transoms to be positioned at unique angles useful for a specific structure. These units will still feature a bolt system or other locking mechanism to ensure the standards, ledgers, and transoms do not work loose from their original positions, but a center point on the scaffolding coupler may pivot to allow the bars to be positioned more uniquely. The bolt systems may also allow the units to be moved after they have been initially positioned, allowing for more customization even after the structure has undergone initial construction.
Like the bars used for construction of a scaffold, the coupler units are usually made from steel for durability and strength. They are often secured using a wing nut, which is a specially designed nut that can be tightened or loosened by hand. Many other types of couplers use bolts and nuts that must be secured using a wrench of some sort; this adds extra security and reduces the likelihood of human error that can result in injuries or damage. Sometimes other materials such as aluminum can be used to construct the couplers, though this is less common than using steel.