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How Caliper Brakes Work

Caliper brakes are essential components in applications beyond what most associate with the automotive world. Drawworks on both land and off-shore operations, well servicing rigs, forestry equipment and others all rely on heavy duty brakes. Depending on the operating conditions, caliper brakes are used in straightforward applications such as static holding, stopping, and include tensioning. Whatever the purpose, caliper brakes all function in a similar manner.

The caliper works as a clamp, squeezing the brake pads to tighten down onto the disc to slow or stop the rotations. In a caliper system, the caliper provides the control by either squeezing or releasing the brake pads from the rotor. The brake pads then slow or stop the rotations by causing friction, of which they were designed to create and handle. The discs are attached to the rotating mechanism of the machine, which can be an axle, wheel or drum. The brake pads are more durable and can range in size depending on the application in question.

When the caliper needs to release the brake pads from the disc, it will require a separate action to do so. Often, release functions are controlled via spring action. Disc brake calipers can come in a variety of types depending on the application they’re being used for. An air applied, spring release caliper braking system works for most applications requiring large amounts of torque, but still delivering a large amount of control over the system. A spring applied, air release system is great for delivering light to medium duty torque, but with an emergency or parking brake function.

In applications where stopping and starting occur frequently, or stopping requires high amounts of force, there should be deep consideration about which caliper brake system to choose. Poor quality calipers won’t be able to deliver the stopping power required and will result in reduced performance and become compromised.

For your industrial clutch and brake needs in the forestry, marine, or oil and gas industries, call us today.

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