Archive: Apr 2013

Getting a Grasp on the Different Types of Clutches and their Applications

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Centrifugal clutches are available for a wide variety of applications. But, they may not always be the right type of clutch for the job. The type of clutch you need is determined by the job at hand and other factors, and depending on your application, you may require any one of these three types of clutches:

  • Electromagnetic clutch
  • Hydraulic clutch
  • Centrifugal clutch

An electromagnetic clutch uses electricity to engage and disengage. If you want to switch the clutch on and off at various times throughout the drive, this is the type of clutch you need. But, remember: If you don’t have an electricity supply, such as in instances of power failure, you’re in trouble, and the electromagnetic clutch won’t do its job.

Hydraulic clutches use fluid to engage and disengage. A valve system pumps the fluid and the clutch relies on the flow of the system to work. Your environment usually helps determine if you can and if you should use a hydraulic clutch. For instance: If  there is a perferation in the hydraulic line the fluid will leak out disabling the clutch and thus the machine it is on.

Centrifugal clutches rely on centrifugal force – a “natural force” explained by the laws of physics – to engage and disengage. (In case you need a physics lesson reminder, centrifugal force is defined as the outward pressure that’s exhibited around an object rotating around a central point.) Designed and manufactured for specific applications, centrifugal clutches are relied on for their independence and ability to function on their own, without the need for fluids or electricity. They can also be customized for single use products or one-of-a-kind specialized applications.

If your application requires starting assistance and/or overload protection, a clutch is exactly what you need. Just be sure to select the right type of clutch for the job!

Why It’s Critical to Keep Today’s Water Treatment Systems Running Smoothly

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Water: It’s fundamental to all life, and the need for water treatment systems has become increasingly more critical as the population around the world continues to grow. From the “people perspective,” our reliance on clean water is obvious: We rely on water for drinking, bathing and cooking. Rivers and lakes are sources for our drinking-water systems, where pollutants need to be removed and then safe, clean water can be distributed to the population. Our wastewater systems collect sewage and used water, remove contaminants, and eventually discharge clean water back into lakes and rivers. Or, more recently, the “cleaned” wastewater is used for other commercial purposes, such as the ski resort in Arizona using wastewater to make snow.

From an industrial perspective, our reliance on water and water treatment facilities is deep-rooted and affects just about every industry out there: Farms need clean water for crop irrigation. Chemical and food manufacturing facilities need clean water as components of their products. Power plants rely on water for cooling and other industrial processes. Hospitals, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses and industries simply cannot operate without clean water. Overall, the need for clean water is widespread around the world.

A report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (Failure to Act) says, “Although new pipes are being added to expand service areas, drinking-water systems degrade over time, with the useful life of component parts ranging from 15 to 95 years. Particularly in the country’s older cities, much of the drinking-water infrastructure is old and in need of replacement. Failures in drinking-water infrastructure can result in water disruptions, impediments to emergency response, and damage to other types of essential infrastructure. In extreme situations caused by failing infrastructure or drought, water shortages may result in unsanitary conditions, increasing the likelihood of public health issues.”

To safeguard our water supply, the smooth operation of water treatment facilities is critical. BLM is dedicated to providing the clutches necessary for the back up systems that ensure that when electrical failures occur they do not impact water treatment delivery. BLM has been providing clutches for this application around the world, and we’ve been doing this for more than 80 years. In fact, many of the automatic centrifugal clutches in place and working at water treatment facilities today were made by us. There are only a few companies around the world that design and manufacture a wide range of centrifugal clutches. Clutches with a modular design allows for easy inspection, maintenance and service.