The industrial revolution brought about the development of industries which was geared by the transition from hand production methods to the use of machinery. With the constant growth of the industry, it was key that the safety of the production process was kept to a maximum to prevent losses that would cripple these up-and-coming industries. Therefore, emphasis has been placed on the equipment used in production. Today we shall discuss a key element in any industrial equipment, the industrial clutches, the different types, and uses. A clutch is a mechanical device used to transmit power and motion from the engine to a rotating shaft.
- Friction clutches
A clutch that uses friction force to transmit the drive. When the clutch is engaged it drives the shaft from its current speed to the required new speed. Friction clutch consists of three main components which are; clutch plate, pressure plate, and flywheel. The clutch plate is a plate or a disc that consists of frictional surfaces on both sides. The flywheel is used to connect to the engine output. So, for this system to work, the pressure plate applies pressure on the clutch plate, engaging the flywheel. If no pressure is exerted on the clutch plate, then the flywheel is disengaged. This type of clutches is mainly used in industrial equipment and the automobile industry.
- Hydraulic clutch
A type of clutch that uses a hydraulic fluid in its transmission. The hydraulic fluid is stored in the clutch master cylinder and is often referred to as the clutch fluid. The hydraulic clutch is most commonly used for industrial equipment as it is self-lubricating and hence requires no maintenance of its lubricating clutch. It also gives an easier feeling when engaging and disengaging the clutch. Most modern equipment and major car manufacturers are opting for hydraulic clutches. Mainly because they take various forms and can be fitted in any equipment and as no cables are required the clutch is safer and very reliable.
- Centrifugal clutch
Transmission is done through the use of centrifugal force. The engine revolution forces create the centrifugal force that is used to transmit the torque from the engine to the equipment being driven. The main components of a centrifugal clutch include; flyweights, the hub lining, springs, and housing. This type of clutches is mainly used in equipment with high starting inertia as they give a soft start with no load engagement. Its main advantage is that the engine can be started under a no-load situation. This makes it energy efficient as it disengages when the engine is idling and only when the engine’s power is increased will the transmission occur. The semi-centrifugal clutch is similar in the operating principle but uses a pedal-assist to free the clutch. Mostly used in racing cars.
- Single plate and multi-plate clutch
A multi-plate uses multiple clutch plates and a single plate uses one clutch plate to make contact for the transmission of power between the engine and the rotating shaft. A multi-plate clutch is used in heavy industrial equipment and racing cars. The reason being, due to several plates being used, the weight is reducing and increases the amount of torque being transmitted. The single plate is used where large circular space is available ensuring that connection and disconnection are very smooth.