Patented Clutch Controller Design Softens the Engagement of Electromagnetic Clutches
Benefits Include Reduced Wear and Tear on Equipment, Less Impact on Operators
FAIRPORT, N.Y.--Two key members of the technical team at SenDEC's Products Group (now API Technologies) have been awarded a U.S. Patent for their design of a clutch controller that is said to reduce wear and tear on equipment by softening the engagement of electromagnetic clutches. SenDEC announced in mid-January that the general manager of its Products Group, David Sestito, and its head of engineering, Sean Harnett, were awarded the patent, which the company says will allow SenDEC to "take its tradition of innovative product design and development to a whole new market."
SenDEC's patented "Soft Start" technology is designed to soften the engagement of electromagnetic clutches and, by doing so, is expected to ultimately reduce wear and tear on the equipment. The technology "can be applied to any application," according to SenDEC, and it also reduces the impact on the equipment operator, as well as on the equipment.
The "Soft Start" is achieved by modulating the amount of current that is sent to the coil in the clutch. Rather than applying 100% of the required current upon engagement, the controller increases current gradually to achieve a smooth start. SenDEC's controller is said to be unique in that it recognizes and adjusts for different clutch models. The ramp-up point is a percentage of the current required for full engagement, not a preset point. This means that the controller sees the amount of current being sent to the clutch and selects a ramp-up point accordingly. This aspect of the controller design allows it to adjust for clutch wear as well. As electromagnetic clutches wear, they require more current to be fully engaged. The controller recognizes this and adjusts the ramp-up point to reach full engagement smoothly, the company says.
Electromagnetic clutches are commonly used on equipment with small engines. In the past, clutch controllers had been cost prohibitive for these manufacturers. According to SenDEC, its unique combination of hardware design and manufacturing processes allows the company to make the electromagnetic clutch controller a viable option for small equipment manufacturers.
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