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6 Benefits of Converting Your Clutch-Driven Centrifuge to Direct Drive


Posted by: Richard Schildwachter on December 3, 2019 at 9:15 AM

Is your centrifuge currently driven by a fluid or friction clutch? While clutch-driven centrifuges used to be the standard, those days have come and gone. Now, direct drive systems are what everyone wants. They provide numerous benefits, which I’ll cover below. 

What I want you to know is that converting your centrifuge from clutch-drive to direct drive is a pretty quick and easy process. We’ve helped many customers switch their equipment over so they can reap the benefits of a direct drive system. 

Centrifugal Clutch Conversion into a Direct Drive System

Owners and operators with fluid or friction clutch-driven centrifuges stand to benefit in multiple ways by switching to direct drive. 

1. Cleaner Start Up

If you’re accustomed to a fluid or friction clutch centrifuge, you’re also accustomed to a somewhat messy start up. You know that burst of airborne particles that get released every time you start up your machine? That goes away when you convert to a direct drive. 

2. Wear-Free Power Transmission

All the wear and tear that’s generated by a clutch-driven centrifuge has to go somewhere. Unfortunately, it’s the transmission’s job to absorb it. By converting your separator to a direct drive system, you’re eliminating the cause of all that wear and tear, effectively extending the life of your transmission.  

3. Smooth and Quiet Bowl Acceleration

As you’ve likely noticed by now, centrifuge start up is the noisiest component of operation. When you make the switch from clutch-driven to direct drive, you’ll hear and feel the difference during startup. The process of bringing the bowl up to speed will become smoother and quieter. 

4. Reduced Motor Stress 

Anything you can do to reduce stress to the motor is going to extend motor life overall. A clutch-driven centrifuge puts more stress on the motor during startup than a direct drive. During operation, a direct drive is going to reduce the excessive motor heat that’s common when operating a clutch-driven machine. The combination of less stress and lower heat will effectively extend motor life. 

5. Zero maintenance

One of the most significant disadvantages of a clutch-driven centrifuge is the maintenance requirements. With the clutch, there are lots of moving parts, and you know as well as we do that more moving parts means more opportunities for things to go wrong. When you upgrade to a direct drive, those moving parts are no longer a part of the equation, meaning they no longer require maintenance. 

6. Easy Installation

Beyond the performance benefits, converting a separator from clutch-driven to a direct drive is easy. At Separators, we’ve designed direct drive couplers that fit a wide variety of clutch-driven Alfa Laval and Westfalia machines. These couplers provide a direct link between your centrifuge motor and the horizontal drive mechanism, effectively eliminating the centrifuge’s reliance on the clutch. 

Alongside the couplers, we also provide the variable frequency drive technology for proper start up and operation. We pre-program the terminals to communicate with your control panels with all the capabilities you require, including the ability to “restart on the fly,” which allows you to re-start the centrifuge without needing to wait for it to come to a complete stop.

Oftentimes, our customers find out just how easy it is to remove the clutch and install the couplers, we will provide assistance with the conversion if needed. To make it worth your while, it’s a great idea to combine the clutch conversion with a preventative maintenance service. Then, you’re getting even more bang for your buck. 

Contact A Separators Rep