Industrial Air Clutches 101

Air clutches for industrial applications are incredibly efficient and provide a design capable of handling a wide variety of requirements and loads. Combined with air clutch brakes, these systems can be ideal components for the majority of industrial and heavy duty machinery and equipment. These parts function similarly to a power take off clutch, or PTO, by transferring the power from the flywheel to the transmission.

However, there is much more to air clutches and air clutch brakes than that. Here is a quick breakdown of everything you might need or want to know.

Design and function

Air clutches are designed to utilize compressed air to manage the interaction between two separate power shafts. However, pneumatic air clutches and air clutch brakes don’t necessarily have to use compressed air and can utilize other gases as well. The system typically operates in conjunction with pressure springs of some form which aid in engaging and disengaging of the clutch itself. This design operates in a multi-stage fashion, beginning with a sensory input when the shifter mechanism is activated. The compressed air flows through the magnetic valve assembly to the clutch, which then couples the two shafts. More air creates the ability to up-shift into higher gears, while less air allows for down-shifting into lower ones. Usually, the compressed air originates from a compressor tank or is routed through the engine’s exhaust.

Basic industrial air clutches

Due to the variety of designs and technologies used in creating air clutches, there are many different styles of operation and engagement, particularly in an industrial setting. Some designs rely on wrap springs to provide kinetic energy distribution via coiling and uncoiling. This system allows for the transfer of torque between the two shafts, more specifically from the input to the output. Other designs include ball or roller mechanisms that rely on the same principles but function in a different manner.

Because the global market for industrial clutches and brakes is expected to reach $1.7 billion in the next decade, these designs and technologies will continue to advance as more efficient methods are discovered.

If you’re in need of a PTO clutch, water cooled brakes, and more, then check out our line of products today.

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