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Your Industrial Machine Disc Brake Questions Answered: How They Work

Today, most industrial machines and modern-day vehicles operate with a disc brake system.

This revolutionary braking system combines the use of a circular disk made of either cast iron, steel, or carbon ceramic with a piston and caliper system.

When compared to drum brakes, disc brakes have a longer wear-and-tear value and provide a much more powerful braking power.

While drum brakes are still relatively standard in certain models of industrial equipment and cars, the disc brake has changed the face of braking efficiency.

If you’re looking to learn more about how disc brakes work, then keep on reading…

A Basic Guide on How Disc Brakes Work

There are several working parts which comprise a basic disc braking system.

The key to understanding how disc brakes work is understanding the role each part plays within this system.

The key components of a disc brake system include:

When a disc brake system is engaged, it should work to stop a moving part immediately. The above components all work together to ensure this braking system works in an instant.

In short, when the brake pedal of an industrial machine is pressed, the hydraulic fluid becomes pressurized in the brake lines, engaging the pistons, and pushing the brake pads onto the rotor.

The speed at which a moving machine or vehicle stops is dependent on how hard a driver pushes the brake pedal – this goes without saying.

The pressure inside the brake lines increases the harder a brake pedal is pushed, which works to squeeze the brake pads onto the moving rotor.

Now that the basics have been outlined, let’s delve deeper into how disc brakes work by understanding the function of each component:

Rotor Function

This is one of the most important parts of a disc brake system and is attached to the wheel hub of a machine or vehicle.

This rotor is manufactured from three common materials: cast iron, steel or carbon ceramic and is made to move naturally with the wheel.

The rotor is essentially what the brake pads press onto, slowing down the wheel of a moving machine or vehicle.

Brake Pad Function

This is undoubtedly a key component in how disc brakes work. Brake pads are used to create friction between the pads and the wheel rotor, slowing down movement.

The brake pad is manufactured in two parts – the metal shoe and the inner lining, found within the shoe.

This lining is the component which comes into contact with the wheel rotor and is made from a variety of materials. The quality of this material can greatly impact the longevity of your braking system.

Piston Function

This is comprised of a cylinder which is connected to the braking system via a set of hydraulics.

Essentially, the piston works to move the brake pads onto the rotor when the brake pedal of a machine or vehicle is pressed.

In general, most brake systems use only one piston to move both brake pads. However, 2, 4, 6, and 8 piston systems are used for stronger braking power – depending on the machinery.

Caliper Function

The caliper system primarily provides housing for the most important components of the braking system: the piston, brake pads, and rotor.

It is also host to a ducting system which contains the brake fluid used to control the movement of the brake pads.

There are two prominent caliper systems – floating or fixed calipers. Fixed calipers are set in place and include two pistons, whereas floating calipers work with only one piston.

A fixed caliper system is known to apply brake pressure more evenly, however floating calipers work just as effectively.

Increase Your Machinery Uptime with Kor-Pak

At Kor-Park we understand the devastating effects of machinery downtime.

As such, our business is focused on offering a speedy and efficient replacement part, refitting and repairs service.

Looking for machinery parts, accessories or custom fabrication for your business, then get in touch with Kor-Pak.

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