Information on Industrial Mechanically Actuated Brakes & Clutches

Mechanically Engaged Clutches and Brakes
Type Engagement Disengagement
Mechanically Disengaged Shifter moved to engaged Shifter moved to disengaged
Overload Disengaged Shifter moved to engaged Shifter moved or torque overload

Mechanically Engaged and Disengaged Clutches & Brakes

Mechanically engaged and disengaged clutches or brakes are activated when a part of the unit (a 'shifter sleeve') is physically moved from the disengaged position to the engaged position (or vice-versa). This is accomplished when a force is placed against the shifter sleeve through a bearing or a set of shifter shoes and a shifter yoke. The shifter sleeve, acting through a lever mechanism, squeezes a set of friction discs together allowing the unit to transmit or arrest torque.

Mechanical clutches and brakes generally have a locking mechanism built in such that once the unit is engaged, it will remain engaged even after the shifter is released or the force against the shifter sleeve is removed. A force in the opposite direction must be supplied to disengage the unit, and it will remain disengaged even if the disengagement force is removed.

Carlyle Johnson offers several engagement variations in these clutch and brake lines. Some models, for example, do not lock and require that the engagement force must remain 'on' in order for the unit to stay engaged.

Mechanically Engaged / Overload Disengaged Clutches & Brakes

Mechanically engaged / overload disengaged clutches can be engaged and disengaged manually in the same manner described above. An additional disengagement mode is also present.

This additional mode occurs when the clutch is subjected to an overload, for example when the clutch is subjected to a torque that is greater than that of the static torque capability of the clutch, and slippage occurs. The clutch will then fully disengage until it is re-engaged by a force on the shifter sleeve. Generally, these types of devices have an adjustment capability so that the overload torque level can be accurately set for each application, and changed if necessary.

In addition we offer several other variations in this clutch line including single or multiple position engagement for timing or registration of input to output.

If you have a question about mechanically actuated brakes and clutches, our experts can help. Fill out our contact form or reach out and a member of our team will be in touch.



  • No bearings to fail
  • Units do not rely on a separate power source for operation
  • Capable of torque sensing
  • Capable of indexing
  • Low heat generation

Advantages of Mechanically Engaged Overload Release Clutches

  • Automatic disengagement for personnel/equipment protection
  • Do not rely on a power source for operation
  • Capable of torque sensing
  • Capable of indexing
  • Low heat generation


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