How to Choose the Best Air Brakes and Clutches

An air brake is the main brake that offers E-stop braking and parking functions in various applications such as grinding mills, marine winches, draglines, and draws works for drilling rigs. They are designed to provide quick actuation and stop times needed in emergency situations or when industrial machines have to be stopped for routine maintenance. These brakes are actuated using compressed air instead of hydraulic fluid or oil.

Air clutches help in transferring torque between the transmission and engine instead of offering stopping power. An air clutch relies on compressed air for disengagement and engagement. When the air pressure applied to the clutch is controlled, you will achieve rapid stops and smooth, controlled deceleration. Additionally, they provide safe and quick disengagement.

Factors to consider before selecting the right brake and clutch

You need to conduct a comprehensive evaluation before choosing the correct air clutch and brake. To make a knowledgeable decision, factors such as torque, response time, energy consumption, longevity, cost, maintenance requirements and horsepower must be considered. Let’s take a look at some of these factors in detail:

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Response time

This is the time increment realized from the moment power gets turned off or on at the control valve to that time the brake or clutch responds with torque or disengages and torque starts to decay. Fast response time is essential for all automated machines as it preserves the equipment integrity and product quality.

Facing life

Brakes and clutches are subjected to friction while operating and must offer good wear life even when subjected to severe conditions. You need to know the wear rate of the friction material, the material usable volume and the energy absorbed by a friction lining every time the brake or clutch is engaged. Features like these help you know the ability of the brake to endure friction wear.

Energy consumption

Industry trends today keep moving towards reducing energy consumption and low operating costs. When you analyze the amount of energy a braking solution consumes, you will be able to determine the energy consumption. You’ll know if you are opting for a solution that needs less energy, improves the efficiency of the machine and decreases costs.

Benefits of air brakes and clutches

Air actuated clutches and brakes provide various advantages like safe operation and fast response rates. Because they are actuated pneumatically as opposed to being hydraulically actuated, risks like leaks, spills, and fire are eliminated. Spilled or leaked oils can easily create incidents that take days or hours of downtime before cleanup is done. This creates a dangerous working environment while putting the end user at a risk of paying hefty environmental fines.

Unlike electrical options, air brakes not only stop motion but can also be operated manually in the event of power failure. Electrical ones are often more complex and may need some kind of fail-safe brake to stop or slow motion when power outage occurs.

It’s clear that air actuated brakes and clutches are a clear choice and offer a better service as opposed to the electric ones. Just makes sure you choose the right solution for your machine. You can always contact us when you need more insights.

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