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Torque Limiters and Overload Clutches


Torque limiters or overload clutches are special industrial machinery components that are specifically designed to protect either the equipment itself or the equipment’s load from excessive torque.

Usually they will shut down a machine when excessive torque is detected and dissipate the unnecessary rotational energy so as not to cause damage to the load or the machine.

Dangers of Excessive Torque

When a large amount of torque is generated by a machine, often in equipment that operates at a low speed,  it can severely damage the machine or its load whenever there is a malfunction.

The machinery components most at risk from the damage caused by excessive torque are gears and couplings, as well as geared-motor units and drive shafts.

Torque limiting products enable the operator to assign a preset level of torque so that the machinery doesn’t create enough rotational energy to cause irreparable damage to the operating system.

Torque Limiter Designs

There are predominantly two types of torque limiter design, with the first employing a disconnecting action and the other a slipping action. There are also many modern electronic technologies which perform the same purpose as a torque limiter by simply limiting the motor’s current. There are a few operational issues with such electronic torque limiters though, which means the older analogue styles are still valuable additions to many different types of industrial machinery and equipment.

The disconnecting type of torque limiter disconnects the drive from the load when excessive torque is detected. There are different methods employed to create the disconnecting action, with one using a shear pin that destroys the pin connecting the load to the drive shaft. There are also multiple torque limiter designs that employ a magnetic disconnection method. Whichever disconnection method is used, these crucial machinery components create a permanent separation betwixt the drive and the driven shaft, resulting in re-engagement requiring manual instigation.

The slipping torque limiter design creates a temporary disconnection, allowing the drive shaft to continue running but preventing the driven shaft from being driven by ‘slipping’ it out of contact. The slipping action is engaged whenever a preset torque limit is exceeded, then reconnecting the shafts when it detects the torque level dropping back below the preset limit.

Torque limiters are sometimes referred to as overload clutches, although this is usually only when the torque limiting component is incorporated into a machine’s original design.

Enemac Torque Limiters

Torque limiters supplier, Yorkshire-based YB Components, offer several torque limiting products for fast and free delivery all over the UK and the rest of the world.

Torque limiter manufacturer Enemac only use specially selected high-quality materials for their products such as stainless steel, combined with an advanced testing process and precision manufacturing techniques. The Enemac torque limiters are designed to eliminate backlash and various models can operate at torque capacities of up to 23,000Nm.

If you require any torque limiter products such as Enemac torque limiters, then contact YB Components who are the UK’s leading torque limiters suppliers in Yorkshire.