Centrifugal clutches and brakes

Centrifugal clutches and brakes use centrifugal forces to transmit power (clutch) or to limit speed (brake).

As the brakes are based on a physical principle, centrifugal clutches or brakes do not require any additional external power supply, which makes them a perfect solution for safety applications.

The main difference between a centrifugal clutch and a centrifugal brake is in the drum: At a centrifugal clutch, the drum is not fixed and will begin to turn when the engagement speed / operating speed is reached. At a centrifugal brake, the outer drum is fix and cannot turn. This causes a braking force when the friction pads touch the drum. When designing and operating centrifugal brakes, there must be a special focus on braking time and the maximum heat.

Centrifugal clutches are mainly used as a start up clutch. A centrifugal clutch allows the usage of a smaller motor, because the motor can start load free until it has reached its optimum operating speed, at which the load is smoothly added by the centrifugal clutch.

The main application for centrifugal brakes is limiting the speed of e.g

  • descending weight or persons
  • safety- and fire doors – industrial applications
  • leisure applications – Go Kart to a safe level.

Centrifugal clutches and brakes consist of a driving shaft with flyweights mounted around it. Flyweights are kept on the shaft by springs, on the outer side of the flyweights there are friction pads. 

Watch the video below to learn more about the design and the function principle of centrifugal elements.

Variants of centrifugal elements

To accommodate the variety of transmission requirements, SUCO offers a wide and flexible product range.

Both axial and radial drives can be supplied.

All centrifugal brakes and clutches must only be used in conjunction with a suitable drum or belt pulley. The operation of a clutch or brake without a suitable drum or belt pulley is forbidden. Non-compliance can result in injury to persons.

Model K

Rotor version –K

This version without a drum is supplied when a clutch or brake drum already exists in the customer's set up, or a suitable component for this purpose is available on the output side. The drum must be accurately centred and securely mounted. For higher torque transmission, a clutch can be equipped with several rows of flyweights. The shaft diameter can be varied and tapered mountings are possible.

Model G

Rotor version with drum –G

This version can be used to connect two shaft ends. It is important that the installation has the lowest possible misalignment in both radial and angular directions. Excessive misalignment can result in premature wear of the linings or complete failure of the clutch.

Model E

Unit version –E

Where it is not practical to locate both shaft ends or one shaft end and the drum, a bearing can be used between hub and drum. The output drive can be through a tolerance ring on to which a belt pulley, a timing-belt pulley, or a mounting flange can be pressed.


Model A

Unit version with flexible coupling A

The easiest way of compensating for radial and angular misalignment between two shafts is to use a flexible shaft coupling. The flexible coupling can be installed and located either radially or axially.



Model R

Belt-pulley version –R

Where torque is transmitted through a V-belt, the belt groove or grooves can be machined in the drum. Single, duplex or multiple groove pulleys can be produced in this way. Depending on the clutch size, effective pulley diameters from ca. 80 to 270 mm can be incorporated. Common groove forms are: SPA, SPB, SPZ, and Poly-V to DIN/EN.