Criteria for Selecting Heavy Industry Brakes and Clutches

Marland Clutch

Marland Clutch

Often you find yourself in a challenging MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) quagmire with regard to repairing or replacing your heavy industry (i.e. crane) brakes or clutches.

I am the first to admit there are many, many brake and clutch manufacturers out there. And there are numerous options to choose from within those manufacturers.

You might say to yourself “Where do I start?” when looking for a solution to your brake and clutch challenge.

At face value you might consider a brake is a brake. But please don’t. When considering the best safety factor in selecting the correct brake for your application, you must remember brakes are not an interchangeable commodity.

There are in fact several variables to consider in the proper selection. These include:

Function: stopping, tensioning, emergency, cyclical, redundancy, wind protection, parking-static…

Requirements: torque and speed, safety factor, actuation, duty cycle, minimum and maximum friction, impact mitigation…

Control: automatic and over speed, open vs. closed look, response time, manual override…

Features: mounting, DIN, AISE, materials…

Environment: ambient conditions, seasonal variations, corrosive, dusty or abrasive, hazardous, etc…

Different Types of Heavy Industry Brakes and Clutches

In addition, there are so many different types of brakes: thruster drum or disc brakes, magnet drum or disc brakes, water-cooled brakes, tensioning brakes, air brakes, storm and parking brakes, hydraulic brakes, etc.

There are also numerous different types of friction materials with different formulations and coefficients: woven friction materials, flexible friction materials, rigid friction materials, phenolic wear materials, etc. Coefficients can range from less than 0.1 upwards of .72 and greater.

Brakes take on various forms in terms of their mechanical functionality. Of course, actuation is a major component of this.

Often times, applications do require fail-safe brakes so the brakes apply in the event of a power loss. These brakes are typically spring-set and released by a magnetic coil, AC or DC 3-phase thruster, hydraulic, air, or manual.

Brakes can also be hydraulic or air applied and thus non fail-safe.

There are several different options to choose from in terms of brake styles, mounting, controls, actuation, and accessories (i.e. discs, drums, power units, etc).

Selecting The Right Brake For Your System

How does one make an educated decision in both a timely and cost-effective manner with all these different features and options to choose from?

As with other significant capital business expenditures, the least expensive option is not necessarily the best one. Taking a few more hours, days or even weeks to make an informed decision about your investment may prove to save a great deal of time and money in the long-run.

The best way to approach this is by working with application engineers who possess brake, clutch and friction expertise. Of course, everyone has their own inherent bias.

However a good application engineer and technical salesperson will put safety and quality first. They do so because helping their client obtain a high-quality and long-lasting product is their ultimate motivation.

Considering competition is not a bad thing. In fact, it is extremely important to obtain a second or third opinion in most cases.

Hearing differing perspectives often times compels one to think about the questions at hand as well as other questions you might not have even considered. Ultimately, doing your homework and analysis will lead you to a better, more informed decision.

At Kor-Pak we try to educate our prospects and customers. Our engineers and consultants are motivated to provide exceptional customer service. You are never merely a sale to us, you are a partner in a hopefully long lasting relationship.

Learn more about our Industrial Brake and Clutch Services  as well as our Industrial Brake and Clutch Accessories and Spare Parts.

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