How Water-Cooled Brakes Work in Your Industrial Equipment

You need brakes that work for your machine.

The problem is that traditional disc brakes experience a great deal of pressure which can overwhelm the system.

This is where water-cooled brakes can make all the difference between a job done right and a bevy of technical difficulties.

Here’s what water-cooled brakes are, how they work, and when you need to use them in your industrial machinery.

What are Water-Cooled Brakes?

Water-cooled brakes consist of a central and stationary cooling plate. This plate has an internal chamber responsible for circulating coolant. There are also multiple cast-iron sectors mounted on opposite sides of the disc. The plate and iron sectors are typically divided by insulation layers.

They’re similar in principle to wet brakes, which use oil to keep the machine cool (especially in heaving braking applications).

The alternative is dry brakes, which are typically a single drum system which heats up once put under pressure.

How Do They Work?

Let’s say you’re using a machine and press down on the brake. There are different cooling systems your machine might use, but it generally works like this.

When you press down on the brake, this generates heat from friction. If left alone, the heat buildup from friction could put the whole system under extreme pressure and cause a mechanical breakdown.

The cast-iron sectors have enough thermal capacity to retain some of the heat generated by braking for a while. The task of conducting it out of the brake system lies with the water, which is used as a coolant liquid.

The heat is transferred to the water at a rate determined by the thermal conductivity of the insulative layers.

When Water-Cooled Brakes are Necessary

Knowing how brakes work, the question becomes when you might need water-cooled brakes over dry brakes.

Water-cooled brakes are most helpful when there isn’t enough space to create sufficient airflow needed for dry brakes to function optimally. They’re also useful in machinery that needs better heat conduction than air can offer.

This is most often seen in industrial machinery.

Within heavy machinery, these brakes are used in a variety of industries, such as drillers, tensioners for unwind stands, winches and mooring systems, and in yarders in the forestry industry.

Do You Need Water-Cooled Brakes?

The advantage of water-cooled brakes comes down to physics.

Air is ultimately a poor cooling medium–its density is too low, and the rate of heat transfer is too slow to work for heavy machinery, which generates too much heat and force in the course of normal use to make dry brakes practical.

Water-cooled brakes overcome this limitation. This way, you can stop worrying about mechanical failures and focus on the job at hand with a fully functional machine.

If you need to upgrade your machinery to make the most of your work time, we can help. We offer comprehensive services for industrial machinery, including modernizations, upgrades, repairs, and custom machining and fabrication.

If you need to request a quote, use our contact page to get in touch.

Posted in Industrial Brakes and Clutches.