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Customizable Clutches for the Output Shafts of Critical Machine Applications

Aaron Rasmussen | May 31st, 2024
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Incorporating electromagntic clutches into industrial applications brings numerous advantages for enhancing system reliability, functionality, and safety. KEB’s Combinorm power on clutches provide a critical solution by ensuring parts of a machine can engage and disengage as needed, particularly in emergencies.


Permanent magnet Clutch - electromagentic


Combinorm C-series clutches come in 11 standard sizes with a torque range of 0.5 to 500 Nm, higher torque available upon request. It offers multiple output options (shaft coupling, pulley/sprocket output, and armature-only output), making them suitable for a wide range of machines and applications. These clutches enhance the functionality and efficiency of various systems by providing different ways to connect and transfer torque.


Mounting Options

KEB offers multiple clutch mounting options, making Combinorm clutches suitable for a wide range of machines. The three common output shaft styles in safety machinery are:


Shaft mounted clutch cutaway to show how it works
Shaft mounted clutch cutaway to show how it works


    • Shaft Coupling connects directly to a shaft, transferring rotational motion to other components in a mechanical system. It is ideal for applications requiring direct drive from the clutch to a secondary mechanism. Typical uses include industrial equipment such as lathes, milling machines, and presses, as well as packaging machines, compressors, pumps, and renewable energy systems like wind turbines.


KEB Combinorm clutch with pulley output
KEB clutch with a pulley output


    • Pulley/Sprocket Output connects with belts or chains, allowing motion transfer to various parts of a machine. It is commonly used in conveyor systems where movement needs to be distributed over a distance or to multiple points. Other applications include woodworking machinery (e.g., saws, planers, and sanders), textile machines (for controlling looms and spindles), and packaging equipment (for filling, sealing, and labeling).


  • Armature-only output provides the most flexibility. It allows customers to mount the armature directly to their desired output. It is typically used in medical devices (e.g., MRI machines), robotic arms, CNC machines, lathes, and entertainment and stage equipment (e.g., stage elements and lighting rigs).


Let’s take a look at the value of KEB Combinorm C clutches in different safety applications.


Clutches for Safety Applications

The clutch can be engaged and allow the safety device to operate electrically. In the event of power loss, the clutch will decouple the drive train and allow the safety device to freely move. This could mean the deployment of overhead fire suppression devices or free movement of access control devices (revolving doors, access gates, etc.). By decoupling the drive train there is no need to contend with back driving forces in the event of an emergency.


medical icon for KEB Brake applications

Medical Equipment

KEB’s Combinorm clutches prevent patient entrapment in medical machines during power loss.

In an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, the patient lies on a motorized table that moves slowly into the scanner. Using an electrical drive system, a medical technician controls the table from a control panel. This drive system is connected to the positioning mechanism through a clutch, which engages to allow the motor to control the movement of the table accurately.

However, imagine an unexpected power outage in the facility during the scan. Without the necessary safety measures, the patient could become trapped inside the narrow MRI tube.

When power loss occurs, KEB clutches automatically decouple the drive system from the positioning mechanism. This decoupling action means the drive train is no longer engaged, allowing the table to move freely without resistance. The technician can manually slide the table out, bringing the patient safely out of the machine.

Automatic decoupling not only prevents the patient from being trapped but also eliminates the need to overcome the resistance of the drive system, ensuring a smooth and quick extraction. Using KEB’s Combinorm clutches in the MRI machine’s positioning system provides a crucial safety feature, safeguarding patients during power failures and ensuring their well-being at all times.


Material Handling icon

Packaging Machine Conveyors

Packaging machines can process different products for distribution. A single machine can use multiple conveyor belts to handle various packaging sizes, shapes, and configurations. Clutches enable smooth operation by selectively engaging or disengaging conveyors. This optimizes throughput and accommodates diverse packaging requirements without the need for separate production lines.


textile machinery spindle icon

Winding Machines

In textile manufacturing facilities, winding machines are used to spool yarn onto reels for further processing. This machine incorporates multiple reels, each serving a different purpose or containing a different type of yarn. Clutches are integrated into the machine’s design, enabling operators to engage and disengage individual reels as needed during the winding process.

When winding yarn spools, the operator selects specific reels for the desired yarn type and color, engaging them with clutches to start the winding process. If a change is needed, the operator disengages the current reels and activates the clutches for the new reels to seamlessly transition to the desired yarn type. This allows the winding machine to accommodate a wide range of yarn types and colors on the same production line, maximizing efficiency and versatility.


Contact KEB for Customizable Clutches

Our clutches offer various output options, including shaft coupling, pulley/sprocket, and armature-only. Our flexibility provides unparalleled versatility and efficiency for a wide range of industrial applications. Whether you need precise control for medical devices, reliable power transmission for industrial machinery, or flexible solutions for packaging and textile systems, KEB has the right clutch to meet your needs.

For more information on how KEB can enhance your machine with customized clutch solutions, contact our application engineers today. We are ready to help you find the perfect clutch for your application.

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