It's easy to think of cars, trucks, and off-road heavy equipment when you think of caliper disc brakes. When in fact, this versatile type of braking system works well with something as light as a bicycle or as heavy as shipping dock or mining equipment. Other types of “vehicles” such as elevators also use caliper disc brakes.
Caliper disc brakes have the ability to slow, hold, and stop very heavy and/or fast-moving units, and quickly, if necessary. For this reason, they are well-suited to applications that require high torque, high energy stopping and/or tensioning. They absorb the energy generated by the braking process, then dissipate that energy as heat.
You can find caliper braking systems in a broad range of heavy-duty, non-vehicular industrial functions. Common examples include:
- CNC machinery
- Hose reels
- Manipulator arms
- Printing presses
- Web and wire tensioning
- Wind energy
- Paper and corrugated
W.C. Branham manufactures several different styles of brake calipers to fit different requirements. You may need active pneumatic or hydraulic braking, spring applied fail safe brakes, or dual function brakes that can be used for multiple purposes. All of our caliper disc brakes are manufactured from top-quality, hard-coated cast or machined aluminum. Each model offers different standard features and configuration options.
Which caliper is right for your application?
In an earlier blog article we talked about how to choose the right size caliper disc brakes, but there are other factors you need to consider in order to spec the right product. For static applications, ultimate tangential braking force is the only critical factor. However, in dynamic applications, you’ll need to know:
- Operating conditions: Indoors or outside, ambient temperature range, mounting orientation, and any environmental concerns such as exposure to seawater or humidity, contaminants, or wash-down atmosphere
- Required stop time, in seconds
- Number of stops per minute, hour, or day
- Required torque: Our caliper disc brakes can provide anywhere from 600 to 150,000 inch pounds of braking torque.
- Power source: Electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic (this affects compatibility of piston seals)
- Braking needs: Stopping or holding (or both), emergency stopping
- Braking on linear rail or rotor
- Rotor RPM
- Maximum allowable disc diameter and thickness
- The amount of energy that will be generated
You can vary the number of discs, disc diameter, number of calipers per disc, and actuating pressure to achieve your application’s specific stopping or holding requirements. Increasing caliper piston size increases clamping pressure, but overly-large pistons can cause the brakes to lock up.
You can mount calipers in a fixed position, in which case the caliper will operate using opposing inner and outer pistons to apply pressure equally from both sides. Calipers can also float, mounted on a pin that is attached to the spindle. In this case, there is just one piston, which applies pressure from the inside. The brake floats driving the non-pressure side (outside) brake pad to the opposite face of the rotor or linear plate.
Detailed specs for all our products are available on the W.C. Branham website, and we’re only a phone call away if you have questions or need recommendations about brake caliper options for your application.