Thanks to clutches and brakes, many industrial machines can work significantly more quickly, precisely, and safely than with just a motor. These parts have developed over time, becoming capable of closely monitoring high-inertia systems, unlike the early days when rudimentary setups relied on friction to resist or impart movement.

    Although they appear interchangeable, a clutch and a brake serve two purposes. A clutch is a tool for transmission and control that moves energy from the driver shaft to the driven shaft. Conversely, a brake is a device that uses heat to transform kinetic energy into stopping, controlling, or maintaining a moving load at rest. 

    Different technologies, such as hydraulic, mechanical, electromagnetic, and pneumatic, are used in clutches and brakes. But there are a few things to consider when choosing Kor Pak clutch and brake systems for your needs. Continue reading to discover more about these essential pieces of equipment.

    What is the mechanism of clutch and brake?

    A clutch connects and disconnects two spinning bodies. A primary mover, a motor, shafts, gears, bearings, or any combination of the parts above could be these separate entities. No matter the application, a clutch’s job is to move torque from a spinning drive system to a stationary or non-spinning system.

    A brake is a friction device that can hold a component in place or stop a moving inertial load. Usually, the inertia load is caused by several rotating pieces that need to halt. 

    A piston and thrust plate apply force against the clutch or brake static in hydraulic or pneumatic brakes. They come in two varieties: spring-set-pressure-release and pressure-set. Retraction of the thrust plate causes the electromagnet to energize, releasing the brake stack. Conversely, static torque is produced when the spring force is pushed back after the brake’s power is released. Electric release and spring-set brakes make up the great majority of electric brakes.


    Engagement or actuation is compressing or decompressing a friction stack by moving a piston or thrust plate. There are multiple ways to activate friction clutches and brakes: mechanical force, hydraulic or pneumatic fluid pressure, and electromagnetic. Mechanical units may rely on raw force or spring pressure when engaging. 

    Electromagnetic clutches and brakes are often the quickest to engage. In packaging and indexing applications, these devices can reach rates of more than 200 cycles per minute. That’s not possible for hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Electromagnetic devices also feature a wear-adjustment mechanism to ensure accurate and constant engagement times throughout the unit’s life. 

    On the other hand, the increased pressure-tube expansion is how pneumatic and hydraulic devices compensate. Longer engagement times during the wear life may result from this. High-inertia systems are best suited for pneumatic and hydraulic units because of their enormous torque output. Therefore, it is uncommon to find electronic clutches and brakes in applications requiring more than 100 horsepower.

    Where are they located?

    The most common location for brakes and clutches is between the motor and the load. This arrangement is typical of many industrial plant devices, including packing, material handling, conveying, and processing equipment.

    Final word

    Brakes and friction clutches remain essential components in industrial machines’ ever-more-complex motion management process.