An Engineer’s Conundrum: Do You Use Drum Brakes, Disc Brakes, or Storm and Rail Brakes?

When choosing which types of drum brakes to use, you want to be informed. Your safety and investments depend on it. The importance of brakes doesn’t need to be overstated.

From storm and rail to disc and drum brakes, read on to learn which set of brakes fit your current situation. You’ll thank yourself later.

The Difference Between Types of Drum Brakes, Disc Brakes, and Storm and Rail Brakes

When trying to stop a train, truck, or other forms of heavy machinery, you want to be sure that your brakes are dependable. I mean, think of the sort of friction created by a 7000 horsepower piece of machinery trying to stop.

  • Drum Brakes- Brakes that utilize friction by pressing a group of pads outwardly against a cylindrical rotating part called a brake drum.
  • Disc Brakes-Similar to a bike brake except brake pads squeeze rotating disc inside wheel. Force is transmitted hydraulically instead of through a cable.
  • Storm and Rail Brakes-Similar to drum and disc brakes, only these brakes are not usually used for stopping or slowing down. They are primarily used for locking things.

Industrial brakes should be tailored to your specific application.

Why Choose Drum Brakes?

I know what you may be thinking, why wouldn’t I just go with disc brakes? They’re better. You wouldn’t be wrong in stating that disc brakes perform better and last longer on average.

However, in the case of industrial brakes for heavy machinery, you don’t need the most hi-tech option. You need something dependable and cost-efficient. Different types of drum brakes offer you just that.

After all, you’re already spending a ton of money on the machinery itself.

You’re not cutting corners with drum brakes, either. Five years, ago federal authorities updated stopping-distance restrictions for heavy tractors. There was talk that this would finally initiate the conversion from drum brakes to disc.

Not the case.

Drum brakes have drastically improved their performance and dependability by expanding their size.

In 2015, 90% of heavy truck buyers opted for drum brakes.

There’s also an added expense to disc brake maintenance that adds to the appeal of drum brakes.

If you’re looking at a standard operation, drum brakes are your best bet. But you have to buy the right set. If you are dealing with operations that require higher safety precautions, I would consider disc brakes.

Why Choose Disc Brakes?  

Drum brakes are great for the average operation because of their cost-effectiveness. Disc brakes are still superior in performance and maintenance.

Disc brakes last longer than drum brakes. They are also easier to repair. Because of this, they offer a viable option for companies who know they are transporting large amounts of goods over long periods.

They are perfect for tankers, freighters, and heavy-duty vehicles transporting hazardous materials.   

Certain industrial applications require a little more assurance and thus, a bit more expense than drum brakes.

Why Choose Storm and Rail Brakes?

While drum brakes and disc brakes are industry standards and have a wide range of applicability, storm, and rail brakes have a niche position. Their place is just as important.

These brakes are ideal for large cranes and other equipment that needs to be locked in position for long periods.

The Type of Brake You Use Depends on the Job you Do

Choosing a brake system is no easy task. You have to weigh in the potential long term and short term effects of your decision.

Certain types of drum brakes are great if you’re dealing with a standard operation in which the risks aren’t too high. Disc brakes are great for the long haul. Storm and rail breaks have a specific job.

Make sure your decision is an informed one!


Posted in Industrial Brakes and Clutches.