GDI Awarded Patent for Innovative Clutch Controller

GDI SoftStart Clutch ControllerGlobal Digital Instruments’s Engineering Manager Awarded Patent for Innovative Clutch Controller

 Sean Harnett has been awarded a US Patent for his design of a clutch controller that softens the engagement of electromagnetic clutches.

Global Digital Instruments is taking their tradition of innovative product design and development to a new market. GDI is a recognized industry leader in digital instrumentation but this patent marks new territory for the company. The technology for which the patent was awarded is designed to soften the engagement of electromagnetic clutches, which will ultimately reduce wear and tear on the equipment.

GDI’s “Soft Start” technology can be applied to any application and it has the benefit of reducing impact on the equipment as well as the equipments operator. The “Soft Start” is achieved by modulating the amount of current that is being sent to the coil in the clutch. Rather than apply 100% of the required current upon engagement, the controller increases current gradually to achieve a smooth start. GDI’s controller is unique in that it recognizes and adjusts for different clutch variables. The ramp-up point is a percentage of the current required for full engagement, not a preset point. This means the controller sees the amount of current being sent to the clutch and it selects a ramp-up point accordingly. This aspect of the controller design also allows it to adjust for clutch wear as well. As electromagnetic clutches wear, they require more current to be fully engaged. The controller recognizes this and adjusts the ramp-up point to reach full engagement smoothly.

Electromagnetic clutches are commonly used on equipment with small engines and in the past clutch controllers had been cost prohibitive for these manufacturers. GDI’s unique combination of hardware design and manufacturing processes allow GDI to make this controller a viable option for small equipment manufacturers.

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