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    Industrial Caliper Brakes 101: Which Works Best for My Application?

    Posted by Troy Branham on Feb 7 ,2018

    WebBrakeMH47Dual080312102238.jpgAll industrial caliper brakes are designed to slow, hold, and/or stop fast-moving or very heavy loads. And they can do it very quickly, if necessary. However, the type of caliper brake you use depends on the application. Some are best suited for heavy-duty off-road vehicles such as Utility Trucks, Road Construction, Turf Vehicles, Lift Trucks, Aircraft Ground Support Equipment, Military Ordnance Trailers, Agricultural Tractors, Mining, whereas others are more fit for different types of industrial applications like Manipulator arms, Hose Reels, Web and Wire Tensioning, Packaging, Printing Presses, CNC Machinery, Conveyor Belts, Wind Energy, Indexers, and more.

    So, which industrial caliper brake should you use?

    Mechanical Brakes for Small Wind Turbines

    Mechanical brakes operate with a simple lever and require no external power source. Your car’s parking brake is a good example. For industrial purposes, we recommend this style caliper brake as a safe stopping mechanism for turbine blades on smaller wind turbines in the 5-10kw class.

    Pneumatic Brakes Slow or Stop Rotating Parts, Position Hold

    Pneumatic brakes are powered by compressed air. This style is popular because the power source is readily available, as many industrial facilities have existing pneumatic compressors used for other purposes. Pneumatic industrial caliper brakes are often used to slow or stop rotating parts. They usually operate around 70-120 PSI, as opposed to hydraulic brakes which operate at higher pressures.

    Hydraulic Brakes for Heavy or Fast-Moving Units

    Hydraulic brakes are powered by compressed fluid. In the case of industrial equipment, that would be hydraulic oil. Note: you’ll want to specify that when placing your order, so the brake(s) will be outfitted with the appropriate seals. These industrial caliper brakes operate at the highest pressures, so they are the best choice when you need to stop, hold, or tension extremely heavy units or very fast-moving units.

    Good examples are heavy machinery that require high torque braking such as mining and oil field equipment and also larger, 50kw or more wind turbines.

    Pneumatic or Hydraulic Spring Applied Brakes for Emergency Stop Applications

    Pneumatic spring applied brakes and hydraulic spring applied brakes work differently. Instead of directly-applied pressure, these systems use a spring to apply braking pressure. The brake maintains tension until the spring is released by actuating the power source (hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical). Spring applied brakes are also called “fail-safe” brakes and are quite common in industrial settings.

    Dual Function Mechanical/Hydraulic Brakes

    Dual function mechanical/hydraulic brakes offer dual performance in a single component. Either there is a separate bore for each mechanical and hydraulic service, or both bores use both service types to double the torque.

    You can also purchase air/oil intensifiers that convert shop air into hydraulic pressure. This cost-friendly solution allows you to use hydraulic industrial caliper brakes even if you have no hydraulic pressure source.

    At W.C. Branham, we understand your need for a variety of brakes options depending on your application, which is why we make six different types of industrial caliper brakes.

    Despite this wealth of choices, we know you still may not find the perfect match. We can modify any of our standard products to fit your specs, or if you need an entirely custom design, we can do that, too. We’re known for our dedication to innovation, so we welcome special requests and unusual challenges.

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