How Do Electric Brakes Work in Industrial Vehicles

If you were not aware, industrial vehicles use a different type of braking system known as electric brakes. They are typically standard in cranes and trailers. An electronic brake is similar to hydraulic brakes in cars. 

Keep reading to learn more about how electric brakes work in industrial vehicles.

Brake Controller

Every electric brake has and needs a brake controller. The controller is what modulates the electrical current that is sent to the electric trailer brake anytime the brake pedal is pressed. 

The controller is connected to the stoplight switch and the vehicle battery. When you depress the brake pedal, the controller is energized.

You have two options when it comes to a brake controller:

Proportional Controllers

This type of controller is also known as an inertia controller. Proportional controllers have a mechanism that determines how quickly the tow vehicle is stopping, and it modulates the power to the brakes in proportion to how fast the vehicle is stopping. The brakes are applied at the same rate and at the same time as the tow vehicle brakes. 

Time Delay Controller

This controller option is not automatic, like proportional controllers. The controls have to be adjusted to compensate for the weight of the vehicle the moment the brakes are pressed.

If a time delay controller is not adjusted correctly it can lead to too much stopping assistance or too little. Either way, it can cause an accident or hurt the driver.

The Mechanics Explained

Now that you know that there is always a controller present with electric brakes, let’s go over how exactly they work. There is an electromagnet in the backing plate that has two conductor wires that tap directly into the trailer wiring. 

When the electricity is on, the brake magnet magnetizes, and it is attracted to the drum face. Once it makes contact, the friction makes it rotate, which causes the actuating arm to move, which then pushes the shoes out against the drum. Once those shoes come in contact with the inside of the drum and press on them, it prevents the hub and wheel from spinning.

How Does Electricity Reach the Brakes?

There is an electrical connection on the industrial vehicle (crane, trailer, etc) that plugs into the connector on the vehicle. There are electrical wires that run from the trailer connector to each brake on the axle and the trailer lights to complete the circuit.

As soon as the driver hits the brakes, a current of electricity goes from the brake control to the vehicle. Then the brake control sends a current back to the vehicle and activates the electrical brakes.

Feeling Like an Electric Brake Pro?

Now that you are aware of how an electric brake works in industrial vehicles, you can ensure that you are safe next time you are using a vehicle with an electric brake. Electric brakes might sound more complicated than regular vehicle brakes, but now that we have explained in further detail, we hope you are feeling confident next time you are handling any industrial vehicle that is equipped with electric brakes.

If you need electric brake parts, we can help you find what you need. Please contact us today we are ready to help you!

Posted in Industrial Brakes and Clutches.