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The drive brake assembly plays the pivotal role in safe driving of a forklift or any automobile. Without an efficient braking system, no automobile can be regarded as the best of its own kind. Forklifts drive brake assembly usually incorporates both the disk and drum braking system. Both of the systems virtually are similar with the difference of a few parts and their metallurgical compositions. Disk brakes are meant to put the moving vehicle at an immediate halt, while drum braking system works progressively and halts the vehicle gradually. Some forklifts incorporate both of the systems by using disk braking system for the front wheels and drum braking system for the rear ones. Both systems have their own particular pros and cons. Drum brakes are usually installed in the rear wheels because of heat dissipation, which is normally more in the front wheels. Parking brakes are invariably drum brakes installed in all heavy-duty vehicles, including forklift trucks. Studying of these systems is beneficial for the forklift operators for smooth functioning and longevity of the braking system.
The Drive Brake Assembly components includes the brake drum, brake shoes, wheel cylinder, backing plate and multiple springs and pins. During normal braking, when pressure on the brake pedals are applied, hydraulic fluid flows from the master cylinder down to the wheel cylinder. The wheel cylinders then exerts force into the brake shoes, pushing into the interior lining of the brake drums. This creates frictional force, reducing the rotation of the drums connected directly to the wheels, which in turn slows down or stops the vehicle.
As the name implies, the drum brake systems are designed to look like a drum, utilizing a wide cylinder with an open back. It is made from a special type of cast iron, which is heavy duty material and gets worn out only after a prolonged use. The brake drums conduct heat and is resistant to wear. During regular braking, the shoes are pressed against the surface of the drums creating friction that slows down or stops the wheels from rotating.
Drum brake also serves as parking brake and emergency brake. The application of the emergency brake is carried out by the presence of the adjustor mechanism, which refers to the emergency brake being supported with a number of springs. When the emergency brake mechanism is put to action, the shoes that spread out to halt the spinning drum come out even more forcefully and the phenomenon is called wedging action. The adjustor mechanism and the springs actuate to perform this operation when the shoes strike the walls of drum and create a wedging effect. The springs keep the shoes attached to the drum to help create the wedging effect, until 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.
The brake shoes is made typically from two pieces of steel. The frictional material (brake lining) is usually riveted to the lining table and is sometimes attached via strong adhesive materials. The brake lining must be heat and wear resistant with a relatively high COF (coefficient of friction). Asbestos is the material usually used in preparation of friction material for the brake shoes. However, with the advancement of technology, other more effective materials are also being utilized with better coefficient of friction and a longer life span. As the forklift operator presses on the brake pedal, the curved brake shoes are forced outwards by the piston/ wheel cylinders to strike with spinning walls inside of the drum. The process henceforth is a simple principle of physics, where the force of the friction creates a retardation effect. The brake shoes, hence, creates frictional force inside of the drum, which translates to slowing down the rotation of the wheel and ultimately putting it to halt.
It is imperative in this system that the brake shoes should remain near to the drum, keeping a marginal distance as to prevent touching the walls. The close proximity is important and is a sign of better state of functioning of the Brake system. However, if brake shoes are far away from the drum, the piston will need more fluid for traveling near the drum, which will be experienced with the brake pedal pushed closer to the walls of the floor.
Adjustor mechanism helps carrying out the adjustment of the brakes shoes by assessing the required distance and tends to keep it uniform. The braking process in the drum brake system innately involves wear and tear of the brake shoes, which needs to be serviced or replaced, after a particular distance or time. Usually the servicing involves cleaning of brake shoes and checking the friction material on the brake shoes. However, in case the brake shoes are quite worn out, the only possible servicing is the replacement of the brake shoes. The condition of brake shoes can be inspected through inspection hole provided in the brake drum which helps the forklift operator to determine the right time for replacement of brake shoes.
Simple hydraulically powered component operates the brakes on each wheel. Dual pistons apply mechanical force on the shoes, forcing it to press onto the surface of the drums, which then generates friction that stops the wheels from turning. Once the pressure is relieved from the brake pedals, the shoes are pulled back to its original position by a series of springs within the brake drive system. The brake wheel cylinders are part of the drum braking system and are normally fitted into each wheel of the machine and usually at the top, above the shoes. The wheel cylinder is connected to the shoes with the help of small rods, which usually resemble a bird’s beak. The wheel cylinder has two pistons attached to it one on each side. Pistons are served with rubber seals and are attached to the break shoe with the help of a shaft. The main role of the cylinders is compressing the brake fluid, forcing the brake shoes outwards, against the wheels. In other words, it provides force into the shoes to connect with the drum and in the process help making the forklift stop via friction.
Forklift Brake Assembly Photos
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