What Is An Electric Clutch?

What Is An Electric Clutch?

What is an Electric clutch?

When we speak of innovative technological marvels, the humble yet critical electric clutch often goes unmentioned. Its role in seamlessly transmitting torque, by converting electrical power into mechanical motion, has revolutionized various industries, from automation to transportation. This piece aims to uncover the intricate details of electric clutches, elaborating on their types, features, and a myriad of applications.

Here’s what we’ll explore:

  • Understanding electric clutches and their operating principle
  • Key specifications to consider when choosing an electric clutch
  • Various types of clutches based on magnetic field generation techniques
  • Concluding thoughts and recommendations

Unveiling the Magic of Electric Clutches

Also known as electromagnetic clutches, electric clutches blend the power of electricity with the robustness of mechanical systems to control torque transmission. Essentially, when a clutch is actuated, an electric current flows through an electromagnet, creating a magnetic field.

The rotor part of the clutch becomes magnetised, attracting the armature towards it. Depending on the clutch setup, this motion either engages or disengages the clutch, producing a frictional force at the point of contact that allows torque to be transferred from the motor to the driven components.

However, when the clutch is engaged, the activation energy manifests as heat in the electromagnetic actuator, posing a risk of overheating clutch components. Thus, it’s imperative to ensure that the clutch’s operating temperature remains within the electromagnet’s insulation temperature rating and other heat-sensitive components.

Decoding Key Specifications of Electric Clutches

Choosing the right electric clutch can be a daunting task, given the myriad of options available. Here are some critical specifications to consider:

  • Torque Rating: The clutch’s maximum torque rating should match or exceed the application’s requirement.
  • Power: The maximum power rating for the clutch.
  • Operating Voltage: The acceptable input voltage range for an electrically-operated clutch.
  • Speed: The maximum rotary speed rating, a specification that only applies to rotary clutches.
  • Shaft Configuration: The clutch can be mounted in-line, parallel, or at a right angle.
  • Drive/Load Connection: There are various ways to connect the drive and the load, including in-line shafts, through shafts, and flange connections, among others.

Peeling Back the Layers: Types of Electric Clutches

There’s a diverse assortment of electric clutches, differentiated by their magnetic field generation techniques:

  1. Permanent Magnet Clutches: These clutches utilise permanent magnets to provide engagement or disengagement actuation force, or to generate a magnetic field for hysteresis. Owing to their no-power-usage, they’re ideal for safety-demanding situations.
  2. Electromagnetic Clutches: These clutches employ a coil that, upon energising, creates a magnetic field to pull the armature towards the rotor. When unpowered, the armature retreats back to an air gap from the rotor.
  3. Eddy Current Clutches: These clutches induce eddy currents in the load using a magnetic field. The engagement—whether actuation (clutch) or slowing (brake)—can be precisely controlled by manipulating the magnetic field.
  4. Hysteresis Clutches: These clutches apply resistance or engage load rotation through non-contact magnetic fields. The magnetic torque is frictionless and operates in the air gap between the rotor and the stationary poles.


In today’s world, where efficiency and reliability are paramount, electric clutches have proven to be an invaluable asset. Understanding their intricacies and applications can help in selecting the right clutch for your needs. At 258 Engineering Supplies, we boast an in-depth knowledge and extensive experience in this field, making us your trusted partner in sourcing electric clutches.

The world of clutches is vast, and the types discussed here only scratch the surface. For more insights, check out our other blogs on magnetic field generation techniques and different drive components.

Ready to find the perfect clutch for your needs? Contact us today, and our team of experts will guide you through the process. Because at 258 Engineering Supplies, we believe in powering your progress.

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