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Power Generation Problems & Solutions

Rebuilding Holdback Clutch


A processing plant runs a large inclined conveyor to feed the entire operation. A large holdback clutch prohibits the loaded belt from reversing which would be disastrous. Because of the critical nature of this installation, they have two units on the head shaft, though one would carry the load.

After an extended life, they found it was time to replace these units. They had a spare but delivery on a second new unit was three months, due to availability of large forgings. This was not an acceptable situation.


We double checked accelerated production of a new assembly and were unable to significantly improve the original time frame. We scoured the country to see if we could find another existing unit with no luck.

Since the holdback clutch was critical to their whole operation, without it, everything must be shut down. Running without a spare was not an option.

At that point, we suggested considering re-building one of their existing units. We could probably re-use the races, eliminating the need for long lead forgings. After detailing the parts required, it was determined the holdback could be turned around in two to three weeks.

Not only would the rebuilt assembly be less expensive and include a new warranty, but the quicker delivery was the real key and solution to this situation.

Conditioned Based Maintenance


Power generating stations are particularly sensitive about outages. Being able to properly schedule equipment maintenance is the key to successful operation.


A public utility installed counters and hour meters on every piece of rotating equipment. They were then able to track every start and length of operation.

This information has been very valuable in establishing maintenance cycles.

As a result, the utility has reduced both power outages and maintenance costs. If you have critical equipment, let us help you keep it running.

Fan Backstop


A power plant had several large fans in their system. Unfortunately, the idle fans pin-wheeled in the reverse direction due to ambient airflow, even when the dampers were closed. When the idle fans were started, a significant chock load resulted in rolled keyways and broken shafts.


The operating and installation procedures were reviewed. Options were discussed including several spring set brake designs. One of the challenging problems was identifying the actual reversing torque—which is much less than normal motor torque. The question was: how much less?

Ultimately, the simplest and best answer was an over-running clutch. This device free wheels (over-runs) in one direction and locks up in the opposite direction. It is automatic and instantaneous, eliminating controls. The load is never allowed to reverse.

Our customer was able to mount the backstop on an extended shaft with a reaction arm hanging down between two stops. The large torque capacity in a small envelope guaranteed we had adequate torque. If you have something reversing that shouldn't-give us a call!