8 Practical Slip Clutch Applications in Manufacturing and Other Industries

metal gears

Many kinds of clutches are intended to achieve something very close to full mechanical lockup when engaged. That can be a key to making certain types of machinery and equipment as reliable and efficient as possible.

There are also clutches, though, that are specifically designed to slip and to do so quite predictably and precisely. An appropriate type and model of a slip clutch can enable controlled amounts of torque and motion that suit particular applications very well.

In fact, high-quality slip clutches quite often appear in machines found in manufacturing facilities and other settings. A look at eight of the most common and useful slip clutch applications should make it clear that such parts quite often have a great deal to offer.

As those who see more information here will recognize, slip clutches with precisely designed operational characteristics can be obtained quite easily. Companies all across the $2.38 trillion American manufacturing industry rely heavily on slip clutches in a wide variety of ways. This is really only the beginning, with applications like the following making slip clutches shine quite consistently:

Bottle capping.

Product bottling lines are typically designed to turn out many thousands of securely capped bottles per hour. Slip clutches can be used to provide the consistent torque needed to tighten bottle caps exactly the right amount. Because a slip clutch will automatically stop transmitting torque when a targeted level is reached, broken bottles become a lot less common.

Jam protection.

 Whether with conveyor belts or automatic packaging machines, jams can be destructive and costly. Slip clutches attached to drive mechanisms will disengage when torque levels rise high enough to signify any such kind of problem. Even where it requires additional investment to add slip clutches to a machine, the protection the parts provide can repay that commitment easily.

Cable spooling.

Products like cables and wire rope need to be wound onto spools before being put on the market. When slip clutches are attached to winding mechanisms, consistent, reliable amounts of tension can be imparted. That will often reduce wastage while producing higher-quality results than could be achieved by other means.

The lid and cover positioning.

When lids, covers, or doors need to be held in intermediate, freely selectable positions, slip clutches often help out. Adding enough pressure to overcome the slip clutch’s specified level of the bite will allow for repositioning while removing it fixes the assembly back in place.

Wheel-based indexing.

Slip clutches are found in many radial indexing mechanisms that allow machines to accurately perform discrete operations. A slip clutch can hold an indexing wheel steady until it needs to be advanced, at which time the application of additional torque will allow it to rotate to the next stage.

Product positioning.

Even delicate products and packages can be safely positioned on assembly lines and conveyor belts using slip clutches. The built-in protection that a slip clutch provides will make costly damage less likely.

Safety systems.

Workers who spend time near machines inevitably end up being exposed to a significant danger. Judicious use of slip clutches can halt moving parts when operational limits get exceeded, potentially sparing a person from grave injury or worse.


Many robotic machines feature slip clutches that allow them to apply carefully calibrated amounts of torque. The presence of a slip clutch can prevent an automated machine from doing damage should any of its subsystems fail.

Applications like these eight and many others regularly show how versatile and functional slip clutches can be. When specified, controlled amounts of torque need to be applied consistently, a slip clutch will quite often fit the bill.