The overview of Power Take-Off Clutch

A power take-off clutch provides a mechanical disconnect between the power created by gas and diesel engines or electric motors to another piece of equipment. The power take-off clutch enables the transmission of that energy to auxiliary equipment that does not generate its power.

Within the industrial sector, there are three actuations: hydraulic, pneumatic, and mechanical for PTO clutches. Mechanical and hydraulic types are the most frequently utilized method across various industries and applications.

Types of Industrial Power Take-off Clutches

Listed are three common power take-off clutches used in most industrial equipment applications. Several more standard and unique varieties are available, but these are the styles generally utilized in service.

  • PilotlessTM Mechanical PTO clutch assemblies are often used in applications requiring in-line or side loading. These PTO clutches have no direct loading to the engine crankshaft reducing wear on the main bearings. It is also available in an Over-the-Shaft model with air or hydraulic actuation.
  • Type 2 PTO clutches offer a high sideload capacity in a small footprint. They offer a range of benefits for heavy-duty operations. Characteristics include a self-adjusting clutch, remote engagement, and air or hydraulic actuation.
  • Type 1 PTO clutches are ideal for heavy operation because their large roller bearings have a sheave mounted between them. This makes it easier to realize the maximum potential of the equipment. They are mechanically, hydraulically or pneumatically actuated. Type 1 PTO clutches feature sideload capacities up to 4 times greater than Type 2 PTOs.

Common Operational PTO Clutch Problems and Solutions

There is a range of common problems that operations personnel may experience with a power take-off clutch. Fortunately, many are easy to identify and solve. Here are some common issues you may come across and how to resolve them:

  • The PTO clutch will not engage or disengage

In most cases, this is due to excessive clutch slipping and overheating. It’s a relatively simple issue to remedy but may involve purchasing replacement components if not addressed. You’ll need to disassemble and inspect the clutch to see what’s wrong and replace parts as needed. To prevent this from happening, only slip the clutch for 3 seconds without allowing the clutch to fully cool and frequently check and adjust engagement torque.

  • The PTO clutch will not remain engaged.

This issue can often be traced back to improper adjustments. The geared friction discs wear over time. To compensate for this wear, operators should check the engagement torque and adjust as necessary. The frequency of adjustments varies and can be impacted by environment, number of engagements, and type of machine.

  • The PTO clutch is running hot.

PTO clutches generally overheat because of improper lubrication/greasing (too much and too little can cause problems), excessive sideload, or a new installation. Operators are advised to reduce sideload and inspect grease levels first. If the PTO is new, consider that it will run hot for the first 10-20 hours of operation. Take temperature measurements at the bearing carrier using an infrared thermometer.

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