Add products to your shopping cart

Ten Ways to Ruin an Electric Clutch or Brake

When installed properly, many electric brakes and crutches can run for thousands of cycles delivering optimal productivity. However, overlooking some basic aspects could cause them to suddenly breakdown and compromise your system’s efficiency.


Many clutch problems that show up are related to overheating, coil failure, or torque loss. Therefore, you need to dig deeper to know what exactly the problem is about. Here are ten ways that can easily accelerate damage to your electric clutch or brake.


1. Not Reading the Instructions Well

When clutches or brakes fail, one of the common calls is to read the instructions. The truth is that electric clutches and brakes are precision devices with very close tolerances. Therefore, you cannot afford to overlook when troubleshooting, installing or making adjustments. Though you might not ruin the clutch immediately, not reading the instructions is a sure way of shortening its life. Even if you have a clutch that looks familiar, make sure to read the instructions carefully.


2. Misaligning the Clutch


Many clutches and brakes are installed using direct-drive configuration. Therefore, alignment is very important. If the shafts and bearings are not properly aligned, extra vibrations and stresses can ultimately become serious issues. Because many industrial brakes and clutches feature small air gaps between magnet body and armature, effects of misalignment are easily magnified. This can result in the loss of torque and more vibrations.


3. Misassembling the Clutch


Even as you follow the instructions, replacement or repairs presents multiple risks of misassembly. For example, the setscrews are often overlooked. Depending on the clutch size, some components could be simply keyed or fastened using setscrews. Therefore, failing to read about them well on the maintenance guide could set your clutch for failure. Misassembly often results in different friction coefficient that shortens the clutch lifespan. Other important components that are often misassembled include plated fasteners and friction discs.


4. Shake and Break


If your clutch is exposed to operating vibrations especially from poor alignment, uneven loads, and misassembly, it is likely to suffer serious damages. The problem with the above conditions is that they are cumulative. Therefore, the wearing or loosening of the mountings keeps intensifying and could cause false brinelling that ultimately breaks down the system.


5. Forgetting Storage


If you neglect caring your clutch or brake, the chances are that you will be forced to replace most of its components or simply install a new one. If the clutch or brake system is not properly protected, moisture could easily corrode the metallic parts. Though it might still be possible to use a corroded clutch, the armature is likely to deteriorate and cause uneven push and pull that could compromise the system’s torque.


6. Using the wrong Voltage


The torque generated by a clutch largely depends on the friction coefficient of the plates and pull force between magnetic body, coil assembly, and the armature plate. Because the pull of the clutch is a function of the supplied voltage, reducing or increasing voltage could greatly affect the torque. Using the wrong voltage could also damage the system's troubleshooting capability. If lower torque is needed, the right way is using a rectifier for the system's coils.


7. Using the Wrong Clutch Size


This problem is common when equipment designers and repair technicians think that a clutch of a different size might work better than the recommended model. If a new unit that is too small for the needed torque is installed, the chances are that it will work well at first and then exceed the thermal capacity. The heat buildup arises from high inertia load, friction, and rapid operations.


8. Burnish Badly


Many clutches and brakes are engineered to burnish or run-in fast in normal operations. In other cases, some clutches and brakes may be factory set with optimal burnishing. If the burnishing is done poorly, the chances are that the friction material will not be seated well and it will not deliver the required torque.


9. Using Friction Clutch as a Slip Clutch


Friction clutches are not created to operate as slip load the way slip clutches operate. Instead, they operate by developing limited torque to maintain the input and output shafts locked together. Therefore, the more they slip, the higher the quantity of heat they generate. This accelerates the wearing of the clutch.


10. Failing to Factor the Work Environment


If lubricating material gets into the clutch or brake system, the friction coefficient could go down and over 70% of torque lost. Contaminants such as dampness, oil mist, gritty dust, and chemical fumes should be prevented from getting into the clutch system.


Failing to Recheck Before Calling for Assistance


When you make a call to the manufacturer without rechecking the clutch problem, the chances are that you will suffer longer downtime as the diagnosis is done. It is estimated that about 20% of calls to the manufacturers could be avoided by simply following instructions.


The clutch or brake system is central to your system’s production. Therefore, you should use every opportunity to ensure it is running well. One of the methods is ensuring to avoid the above ten ways that can ruin the clutch and brake.