Best Solution for Constant Tensioning? Water Cooled Brakes

Water-cooled brake advantage

Constant tensioning brakes are critical in heavy equipment applications such as uncoilers, paper converting, and marine winches. Their function quickly dissipates a large amount of heat using water as the coolant. Traditional air-cooled brake systems often fail to meet the demands of these applications, leading to significant performance concerns. To address this issue, WPT engineers developed the Water Cooled Brake line to handle tension control applications.

What is a Water-Cooled Brake?

Since high temperatures negatively impact a brake’s performance, traditional brakes that rely on friction engaged with iron plates perform poorly in these applications. Water-cooled brakes, however, use internal water flow to absorb and dissipate large amounts of thermal energy generated during braking. In conjunction with the coolant, it takes advantage of the copper wear plate’s ability to provide excellent heat transfer. This makes them ideal for heavy-duty equipment applications where traditional brakes would fail due to the high temperatures generated.

How Do Water-Cooled Brakes Work?

Slipping torque is the chief characteristic of the water-cooled brake’s unique design. The brake is either pneumatically or hydraulically actuated, engaging the drive plate (brake pads) and then applying pressure to the disc. The pressure used for constant tensioning generates a vast amount of heat. The water source is directed through a series of channels within the brake to cool copper alloy discs. The heat is then transferred from the disc to flowing water in the channels, which absorb the energy and move it externally.  

Supposing a closed-loop cooling system versus an open one, the heated water is pumped into a heat exchanger for cooling. The cooled water is then circulated back through the brake system. This provides continuous cooling and allows the brakes to dissipate large thermal energy loads without overheating.

Water cooled brake diagram

Dissipate large thermal energy loads with WPT Water Cooled Brake in a closed-loop cooling system.

What are the Advantages of Constant Tensioning with Water-Cooled Brakes?

Tensioning with water-cooled brakes offer several advantages in heavy machinery applications, including:

Easy Maintenance: The brake design enables easy wear inspection, serviceability, and maintenance, which minimizes downtime.

Longer Lifespan: Combined with proper maintenance, the water cooling design characteristics reduce wear and tear of high heat demands on the brake unit, increasing its lifespan.

Better performance: Water cooled brakes are optimized for better heat transfer capacity by using water or a coolant. This ensures maximum heat transfer within the brake, resulting in better overall braking performance and increased application control.

What Types of Heavy Machinery Use Water-Cooled Brakes?

Water-cooled brakes are used in a wide range of heavy machinery applications, including:

  • Uncoilers: Water-cooled brakes are commonly used on coilers in metal processing plants for precision tension control. They provide controlled unwinding, slitting, and rewinding tension. The stability of tension control directly impacts the quality of metal products produced.
  • Mooring Winches: This marine application uses water-cooled brakes for heavy-duty tension control and continuous slip braking. Other marine winch applications include anchor handling and towing winches.
  • Paper Converting: Similar to metal processing, web tension is so important because, to wind or unwind rolls of material, you must have accurate, constant tension in the system. Water-cooled brakes provide a measured material tension in winding, converting, paper manufacturing, and coatings.

Water-cooled Brake tension applications

Water-cooled brakes in Metal Forming, Paper Converting, and Marine applications.


Water-cooled brakes are a highly effective solution for applications needing constant tensioning. Using water as a cooling medium, these brakes can operate in applications producing extremely high heat. Whether it is overheating, efficiency, and/or overall performance, the WPT Water Cooled Brake is the ultimate resolve for your constant tensioning needs.

For application assistance, technical support, or more information on your WPT Water Cooled Brake, please visit our website at or give us a call at 940-761-1971.