Machine Design

Low-inertia disc clutch

Today's manufacturing processes often rely on quick stops and starts to boost productivity.

 

But that can be hard on machinery, especially clutches. Engineers at Wichita Clutch, Wichita Falls, Tex. (wichitaclutch.com), ensure the durability of their LI Series of devices by using components with inherently low inertia. This cuts power consumption and heat buildup, and lets them start and stop on a dime. They also use segmented and grooved friction discs, which increase heat dissipation and disc life. To activate the unit, compressed air in a full-circle tube applies axial force. This is the simplest and most maintenance-free method, according to the company, and helps make torque directly proportional to air pressure. The air-tube design also requires only a small volume of air, which lets the clutch engage and disengage quickly. The design incorporates a centrifugal blower to help eliminate heat. If heat loads are too high, copper disc clutches and water cooling are available.

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