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Electromagnetic (E.M.) Clutches

Electromagnetic clutches, also referred to as ‘electromechanical’ or ‘E.M.’ clutches, actuate electrically but transmit torque mechanically. The basic design of an E.M. clutch consists of an electromagnetic coil within a metal housing (stator), a rotor connecting to the input source, and an armature that connects to the output source.  To engage an E.M. clutch, the coil is energized creating a magnetic field which pulls the armature friction plate to the rotor friction plate, establishing a frictional mechanical connection.  The force between the friction surfaces transmits torque from the input rotor to the output armature.  A variation to the friction disc design is a toothed design for timing / position control and for higher torque applications.

To disengage the EM clutch, the electrical power source is shut off.  With no magnetic field present, the armature is pulled back into its default position by a recessed flat spring.   This action creates a small air gap between rotor and armature plates, effectively disengaging the output armature and ceasing torque transmission.