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

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!

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