Slip Clutch Applications

When you think about mechanical slip clutches, you may first think about using them for overload protection or limiting torque. While these are valuable applications, slip clutches can be used in a surprising variety of design applications. For example, they can be used for:

  • Increasing machine speeds
  • Applying constant tension on paper, film, wire, threads, etc.
  • Indexing a conveyor, table, or any mechanism
  • Holding in position a lid, cover, screen, door, window, etc.
  • Controlling torque for bottle capping, automatic screw assembly, closing valves, etc.
  • Achieving a soft start or cushioned stop

Design Applications

overload protection

Overload Protection: Intended to protect motor, machinery, and/or operator. Clutch will slip when mechanism is jammed. Motion will continue when impediment is removed.

torque control

Torque Control: Screw bottle caps, screws, controls, etc., to correct torque setting. Combine with one way clutch to slip at rated torque in one direction and freewheel or positive drive in other direction. Allows repeatable, accurate torque for capping machines, automatic screw driving, valve control, etc.

tension control

Tension Control: Maintain constant tension while winding or unwinding wire, paper, film, thread, etc. Slip clutch automatically compensates for changes in speed and diameter. Pneumatic clutch can change tension during operation.

Force Control: Push product against gate with constant force. Remove gate and move to next position. No damage to product or conveyor – clutch does all the slipping. Also used for overload protection when jammed and for indexing the conveyor.

Position Retention and Brake: Hold lid, cover, door, screen, etc., at any position. Fingertip control. Combine with one way clutch for free movement in one direction. Ideal for friction hinges when smooth movement of lids, doors, screens, covers, etc., is required

slip clutch indexing

Indexing: Hold index wheel with solenoid operated pin. Motor runs continuously with clutch slipping. Pin pulls back to index to next station. Can be single or partial revolution. Can index tables, conveyors, vending machines, controls, etc.

slip clutch application soft starts cushioned stops

Soft Starts/Cushioned Stops: Inertia makes clutch slip when starting and/or stopping. Results in less shock throughout the system. Ideal for slip at the end of stroke.

Field Examples

Conveyers
Polyclutch slip clutches offer an added level of safety and protection to both the machine and its operators.

MRI Beds
Polyclutch adds a mechanical safety for moving MRI beds as seen in this picture.

Military & Law Enforcement Inspection Robots
The Machine Lab, Inc., an industry leader in defense robotics, uses two Polyclutch slip clutches in each robot arm for overload protection.

Label Printers
Polyclutch slip clutches are the perfect solution for adding just the right amount of tension to any reel or spool without having to worry about the tension varying over time or wearing out prematurely.

polyclutch label printer application

Retail Vending Kiosks
A Polyclutch protects this machine against any type of overload or jamming during the process of dispensing a DVD.

Ice-Dispensing Machines
Hidden deep inside of this ice-making machine, a Polyclutch slip clutch prevents overload to the drive mechanism during the forming and dispensing of ice cubes.

Automated Kiosks
Polyclutch slip clutches are an integral part of many retail kiosks.  As shown in this photo, a slip clutch is used to protect the sensitive drive mechanisms of these automated machines.

Disabled Access Systems
A Polyclutch slip clutch provides safety in many disabled access systems. In this automated door opener, a clutch is used for overload protection.

Constant Torque for Printing Applications
A slip clutch acts as a continuous drag brake to meet specific torque requirements for an unwind/rewind system application in a bar code printer. Other applications apply constant tension to film, wire, thread, paper, etc.

Bottle Capping Applications
Adjustable slip clutches control the precise amount of torque to tighten bottle caps without wear or breakage in this capping line application. All the slippage is in the clutch, with no appreciable wear.

Relevant Resources

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