In heavy machinery and vehicles, the engine is the main driving force that facilitates the function of the equipment. A clutch is a critical part of the engine- it makes or breaks the link between the engine and the gearbox. In other words, the clutch transfers power from the engine to the wheels of machinery through the gearbox.

While many people associate clutches with manual transmission vehicles, it is essential to note that even automatic transmission vehicles and industrial machinery use clutches. Part of the power of a modern engine comes from the clutch. To understand how a clutch works, you have to learn some basics.

What is a clutch?

A clutch is part of industrial machinery that transmits power from the engine to the wheels via the gearbox. It has several features, including a diaphragm spring, friction surface, hub, and coil spring. In mechanical equipment such as cranes, a clutch is part of the machinery that a driver engages when driving or disengages to cut power transmission from the driving shaft to a driven shaft.

The driving shaft is linked to the machine’s engine, while the driven shaft facilitates power output which the machine utilizes during work. In most cases, a clutch is handy for limiting the motion or amount of power transmission in the machine’s moving parts.

The working mechanism of a clutch

A clutch is used to control the movement or speed of a moving part or motor. When you engage the clutch in an industrial machine, it disengages the motor’s driveshaft slowing down the engine without turning it off.

According to machinery experts at Kor Pak, a clutch helps you slow down, change the speed or stop the machinery without turning off the engine. It achieves that by breaking the connection between the engine and wheels.

When working with industrial machinery, the clutch allows the user to make pauses, for instance, halt the movement of the conveyor belt while the machine is still operating.

Here are some of the functions of an industrial clutch:

  • You can disengage it, allowing engine cranking and running of the engine without delivering power to the transmission.
  • It enables you to shift the transmission into different gears depending on operating conditions while disengaging.
  • When you engage the clutch in industrial machinery, it skips momentarily to facilitate a smooth engagement. That reduces the shock on the shaft, gears, and other machinery
  • The clutch transfers power to the wheel without slipping when engaged in the right conditions.

There are many types of clutches in mechanical engineering used for different purposes. They include friction clutches, hydraulic clutches, centrifugal clutches, single plate clutches, multiple plate clutches, etc.

For instance, vehicle clutches are meant to facilitate gear change, while industrial clutches are designed to handle specific load types. Generally, the correct clutch is vital to get the job done.


Now that you know more about a clutch, you understand the importance of preventative maintenance. You learn of the potential problems that may prevent the clutch from working efficiently through preventive care, and you can address them early enough.