Choosing Between a Pneumatic Brake and an Electromagnetic Brake

How do you know when to use an air clutch brake and when to use an electric brake or electric industrial clutch? Both are forms of torque control for any equipment that needs heavy duty brakes. Both can be used in some similar machines and operations, so how do you know which is best for a particular need?

Air Clutch Brake

The air clutch brake, pneumatic brakes, and pneumatic or air clutches use cylinders of air to transmit torque. Friction normally helps in the transmission of torque, and the air clutch brake usually has a higher torque capacity when compared with electro brakes and clutches. However, the air clutch break needs 30 to 80 PSI of compressed, clean air to work.
Many machines do not have this kind of air supply readily available, so they need a separate air compressor to run the air clutch brake, and in some cases even extra piping and plumbing.

Electric Brakes and Clutches

Electromagnetic brakes use electric coils surrounded by an electromagnetic field created by a magnetic circuit. This provides the force for torque transmission, and they are available in both DC and AC voltages, though DC is by far the more common. While many have a lower torque capacity than the air clutch brake, they can be used with faster cycling rates. They are also convenient in that most machines in the modern world are controlled by electric-powered control commands; however, they do have the disadvantage that it can take longer to engage a clutch or brake of this type due to the need for the magnetic field to build up.

When to Choose Which

In order to make an intelligent choice about an air clutch brake versus an electric brake when contacting clutch manufacturing companies, important information should be considered. This includes knowing the air supply situation and available voltage, the diameter and length of the job, the speed and responsiveness involved, and, crucially the cycle rate and torque needs since some industrial clutch and brake are clearly superior at meeting one or the other of these needs. It is also important to evaluate the system mover and to understand the difference between dynamic and static executions.

Selecting the right clutch and brake are crucial to ensuring the best performance, the most reliable operation, and the longest life for heavy machinery and engines. Actuation methods, applications, space and power needs, and cycle rates and torque capacity all have to be considered to find the right clutch and brake for the right job.