Did you know that Edvard V. Hartford is credited with inventing brakes?

However, there are many brake variants, each of which credits a different engineer for their invention. Mechanical drum brakes were invented by Louis Renault, whereas Malcolm Lockheed conceptualized the idea for hydraulic brakes. 

So, when and where did electromagnetic brakes come from? And what’s the story behind their evolution?

This article takes a look at the origin and history of these brakes. However, before we get into the story, let’s start with the basics. 

What Are Electromagnetic Brakes?

Electromagnetic brakes go by a few other names including electro-mechanical brakes, and EM brakes. These types of brakes use electromagnetic forces to generate friction or resistance, allowing objects to stop or slow down their movements. 

These are not to be confused with eddy current brakes which use the direct application of magnetic force to create resistance. 

The Origin and Invention

Granville Tailor Woods was a self-taught engineer and the first African-American inventor after the American Civil War. Woods worked largely in the transport industry and held more than sixty patents in the United States of America.

One of his most noteworthy inventions was the electromagnetic brake. Originally, these were called electro-mechanical brakes, but over time the name changed to electromagnetic brakes, with reference to the way they functioned. 

Evolution and Applications

Electromagnetic brakes have a wide variety of uses in the locomotive industry, particularly for trains and trams. However, they have plenty of use in robotics, power tools, engineering industries and other transport industries.

In the early twentieth centuries, trains and trams would use electromagnetic brakes to ensure safety and efficiency on their tracks. They are widely used as emergency braking systems and can offer protection when electronic brakes fail to function. 

Due to modern-day innovation, these brakes have now also found applications in the aircraft industry.

Types of Electromagnetic Brakes

Over time these brakes have become more varied in their forms. Here are a few types of electromagnetic brakes that are in use today:

  • Single-face brakes
  • Power-off brakes, with spring type and permanent magnetic type variants
  • Particle brakes
  • Hysteresis power brakes
  • Multiple disk brakes

While the type and form may vary, the basic application in these brakes remains the same. They offer the advantages of being quick, cleaner, convenient and controllable. 

Looking for Electromagnetic Brakes?

Well, there you have it – a simple overview of the origin, applications and evolution of electromagnetic brakes. These brakes have served as indispensable to the auto, motor, engineering, robotics and aircraft industries over the years. There is no doubt that as innovation in this field continues, their applications will continue to grow and evolve. 

At Ambi-Tech Brakes, we specialize we offer a wide range of electric and electromagnetic brakes to our customers. Do browse through our product catalogue to find exactly what you need for your motors and machinery!