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Did You Know? Holding Brakes on Step Motors

by Dennis Joyce

Hold on! No, it’s not an 80’s song. We receive calls on a frequent basis about applications requiring a holding brake. Typically in vertical applications, where the position of the load cannot be maintained when power is turned off, a spring-applied-power-off brake can be used to maintain the position of the load. Our NEMA 17, 23 and 34 frame stepping motors allow easy installation of NEMA frame size, modular, front-mounted brakes from Inertia Dynamics or Electroid. These brakes simply mount to the front face of the stepping motor of the same NEMA size. The installation is easy and requires no mechanical modification of the motor. The motor shaft simply slides into the bore of a split style, compression coupling which is tightened to a specification and you’re done. An added benefit of this style of brake is it typically has a larger output bearing that allows for greater axial and radial loading than the stepper motor alone.

Additionally, a large majority of our drives have dedicated brake outputs that can be wired to a relay to control operation of the brake. We even offer a delay time to either engage or disengage the brake. This is an important feature so that the motor does not interfere with the proper operation of the spring applied brake causing premature brake failure or damage to the motor. The brake output control function is simply found in the ST Configurator™ software in the I/O Configuration window.

For more information on wiring a holding brake to the output of an Applied Motion drive, download the Application Note: Wiring integral holding brakes. This application note was written for our servo motors and drives but the wiring information applies to stepper systems as well.

In volume applications Applied Motion can supply brakes to our stepping motors and provide complete solutions for your applications. In smaller quantities we suggest you contact Inertia Dynamics or Electroid directly for your brake requirements.

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