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There are two types of braking systems: disc brakes and drum brakes. Wherein disk brakes serve to put the moving machine to an almost immediate halt, the drum brakes system works with a little delay but in a steady and assuring fashion. Application of Disk brakes may require some considerable expertise and experience to be applied as a sudden halting mechanism of a moving forklift. Especially for a two wheeler, it can lead to some serious accidents if not applied and installed correctly.
Forklift Drum Brake System is the more popular of the two options as it is generally easier to work with and comparatively risk free. The other factors that support installation and application of drum brake systems are its lower costs and ability to serve both as a brake and parking brake. Principle of workings of a drum brake is much similar as that of a disk brake since both involve pressing of the brake shoes against a moving surface. The difference is in this system, the surface is called brake drums.
Many vehicles these days have drum brakes installed on their hind wheels and the disk brakes used in the front wheels instead. Provision of Drum Brakes in the hind wheels provide additional and surer safety measures, as they prevent the vehicle car from slipping away, had it only been stopped by the application of disk brakes to the front wheels.
Drum brakes incorporate more number of parts. As the name implies, the drum brake systems are designed to look like a drum, utilizing a wide cylinder with an open back. There are two large and curved brake pads inside of the drum, the shoes. As the forklift operator presses on the brake pedal, the curved shoes are forced outwards by the piston and wheel cylinders to strike with the spinning walls inside of the drum. The process henceforth is a simple principle of physics, where the force of friction implies retardation effect. Hence, the brake shoes create frictional force inside of the drum, which translates to slowing down the rotation of the wheel and ultimately putting it to a halt.
Besides working as a progressive halting mechanism, the Drum brake system in a forklift has the much needed emergency halting mechanism installed as well. This is carried out by the presence of the adjustor mechanism, an emergency brake supported with a number of springs. When the emergency brake mechanism is put in to action, the shoes that spread out to halt the spinning drum come out even more forcefully. This is called a wedging action. The adjustor mechanism and the springs actuate to perform this operation when the shoes strike the walls of drum and creates a wedging effect. The springs keep the shoes attached to the drum to help create the wedging effect, till the time the pressure on brake pedal is released and vehicle ceases to move. The other set of springs then pulls back the shoes in place and return the adjuster to a normal position.
It is imperative that in a drum brake system, the brake shoes should remain near the drum, keeping a marginal distance to prevent touching the walls of the former by the later. The close proximity is important and is a sign of better state of functioning of the brake system. However, if the shoes are further away from the drum, the piston will need more fluid for traveling near to the drum, which will be experienced with the brake pedal pushed closer to the walls of floor as the brakes are applied. This is where the adjustor comes into play. The adjustor assesses the required distance maintenance and tends to keep it uniform. It acts to keep the shoes to drum distance uniform, making the system work efficiently until the brake shoes are too worn out to fulfill the requirement.
As described earlier, the brake shoes collide with the walls of fast spinning drum and create the force of friction for braking purposes. The process, therefore, innately involves wear and tear of the Brake shoes, which needs to be serviced or replaced, as the case may be, after a particular distance or time. The most usual service is the replacement of brake shoes. The issue that creeps to one’s mind is that how will the driver get to know when it is the right time to service or replace the brake shoes. The answer is simple and is mostly built in many Drum Brake systems. It is with the provision of an inspection hole on the back side from where the brake shoes can be seen and examined for the left over friction material on it. The standard for changing the brake shoes has been set; the replacement is imperative when the friction material is worn down to less than or equal to 0.8mm of its rivets. In case there are no rivets and the friction material is glued to the braking plate, the thickness of friction material should not be allowed to fall down below 1.6mm before the Brake shoes are replaced.
Other than the replacement of brake shoes, the drum might need servicing itself. The situation may arise when the brake shoes could not be replaced in time, and the worn out brake shoes are put to use for a prolonged period. In that case, the rivets would have scratched the surface of drum creating scores on its inner surface. A badly scored drum would then demand repair without which only changing of the brake shoes won’t help at that stage. Refinishing is the process employed to repair a much scored drum as a usual means of repair. The process involves polishing and adding additional material to the surface of drum to maintain a particular diameter and several techniques are used to perform this particular action.
If the forklift brake drums are not repairable, they need to be replaced immediately. Solid Lift Parts Inc. provides parts for all forklift makes and models at inexpensive prices with quick delivery time. Contact your parts specialist today to find you the drum brake parts for your forklift!
Forklift Brake Drums Photos
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