Genuine parts key to safe and reliable performance

Wichita Clutch Bedford UK facility.

Wichita Clutch is one of Altra Industrial Motion’s leading global designers and manufacturers of heavy-duty clutches and brakes. Wichita Clutch has a strong focus on the importance of buying genuine spare parts.

When investing in Wichita Clutch’s range of assemblies and parts, mining companies are guaranteed with heavy-duty clutches and brakes that are designed to withstand the rigours of industrial environments in Australia and around the world.

By purchasing a product that will receive expert support and uses the latest design technologies and materials to provide innovative clutch and brake solutions, the end user has a safer and more reliable experience. 

Founded in 1949, Wichita Clutch provides a full range of solutions, including hydraulic clutches and brakes, air clutches, air brakes, water-cooled clutches and brakes, and fluid couplings. 

It also provides ancillary equipment packages, which stock air hose kits, heat exchanges (brakes) and closed loop water systems. 

Backed by extensive application experience, Wichita Clutch’s engineers are always evolving their practices to provide innovative and safe clutch and brake solutions that meet customer requirements.

With a strong focus on safety and longevity, the genuine original equipment manufacturer (OEM) provides reliable performance on ball and sag mills and blast hole drills, as well as soft starting and overload protection on feeder breakers and sizers.

Compared with its clutch and brake assemblies, Wichita has found that some organic friction materials manufactured in countries that operate outside of its strict quality assurance standards and ISO 9001 guidelines contain traces of asbestos. 

In some instances, Altra Motion has found that up to 3 per cent inclusion is considered to be asbestos-free. 

Wichita Clutch sales manager and product specialist Daemon Flack takes pride in knowing that Altra Motion and its OEM manufacturers are all accredited to ISO 9001 guidelines.

“Altra has 50-plus manufacturing plants around the world with 27 OEM brands,” Flack tells Australian Mining.

“Every one of those companies has their own design and engineering team that are all accredited. 

“As part of the accreditation, we have quality insurance and policy procedures in place, and when we design something, we also have in-house testing and research and development (R&D) facilities.”

If customers are unsure about the supply of an organic friction material, Wichita Clutch reinforces that a material safety data sheet should be available from the manufacturer, guaranteeing it is asbestos-free and fit for purpose

Non-genuine organic friction materials have even been known to create excessive thermals on start-up to the point they have caused a fire. 

Fires can result from the coefficient of friction (CoF) imbalance by the tangential force applied between the mating of Wichita Centre and floating plates and the non-genuine organic friction material(s). 

In one case, at a large grinding mill where non-genuine 48-inch friction discs replaced genuine items to cut costs, the mill caught on fire and suffered excessive damage. 

With a promise to supply reliable and safe products, Wichita Clutch also offers its customers on-site support 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Wichita Clutch Texas USA Facility.


“If there is a breakdown on site we will go there, assess the situation and then come up with a resolution quickly,” Flack explains. 

“We have a standard range of products that in most applications will suffice. 

“However, if we come across something that is a little bit left of field, Wichita then has the ability to take that on board, re-design, implement other equipment to get an engineered solution.” 

Altra Motion caters for its customers’ needs through a National Stocking Program and distribution centres in Sydney (New South Wales), Mackay (Queensland) and Perth (Western Australia), where it has critical spare parts on hand for trouble shooting and breakdown services. 

Wichita Clutch also offers its customers customised clutch and brake solutions on request. 

“Our R&D teams are constantly evaluating new designs and materials to make our genuine products safe, high quality, reliable and longstanding,” Flack says.

Through continuous investment in new features and ensuring its engineers are constantly kept up to date, Wichita Clutch maximises value through a genuine range of products and services that are second to none.  

This article also appears in the March edition of Australian Mining.

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