A Cam Clutch is a mechanical device designed to transmit torque only in the direction of rotation of a camshaft. It consists of an inner and outer race, a cage ring, a pair of springs, cage rings, rollers, and cams.
The camshaft has three primary applications, Indexing, Overrunning, and Backstopping. Indexing is the forward stroke driven by the cam clutch when a reciprocating motion is applied to it. The reciprocating motion is provided by a crank mechanism.
Backstopping applications use cam clutches to prevent the reverse rotation of drive shafts
. In backstopping, the inner race is allowed to overrun freely. However, the clutch is automatically engaged to prevent reverse rotation on detection. Reverse rotation can cause extensive damage to sensitive machine components.
Overrunning cam clutch applications allow the clutch to spin freely and engage it to lock up and drive the mechanism occasionally. It can be operated by an electric or geared motor. In a geared motor setting, the clutch is only engaged at low speed, yet in electric motor drives, it is engaged automatically at both high and low speeds. Contact our experts at MRO Supply if you have any questions about the cam clutch application you should use.