Brakes and clutches are often the defining element in the operation and productivity of driven machinery. However, they are frequently taken for granted, so here, Mike Hemming, Engineering Manager at Matrix International in Scotland redresses the balance.
A single brake or clutch failure on a heavily laden conveyor in a mine or quarry could easily stop all production until it is fixed. A misbehaving brake on a remote wind turbine could reduce grid power for months until it is fixed. A paper mill will grind to a halt if its servo motor brakes are anything less than perfect. Breakdowns on marine equipment are never welcome. And, if an aerial access platform gets stuck in an extended position, someone might miss their tea.
Matrix International has been delivering high technology and cost-effective engineered brake and clutch solutions for over 65 years including electromechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic units to industries as diverse as forklift trucks, off-highway vehicles, printers and papermakers, mining, materials handling, marine, wind turbines and renewables, farm equipment, escalators and elevators.
Many projects in which we are involved are bespoke and require carefully designed and precision-made solutions. For this reason, the heart and soul of Matrix is a dedicated team of talented design and production engineers, who pride themselves on their problem solving ability, technical knowledge and creative thinking. Our parent company, Altra Industrial Motion, has invested to make sure that we have all the facilities necessary to stay at the forefront of our industry, including a wide range of test rigs with which we can simulate operating conditions under the control of computerised systems with data recording facilities.
Manufacturing is also a core activity for Matrix, one where only the highest standards are acceptable. For this reason the company is accredited to ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, and uses fully integrated 3D CAD/CAM and FEA (finite element analysis) systems alongside the latest scheduling and production management systems.
Should customers require, each Matrix product can be supplied with performance certification either on a batch or individual basis, because each is tested during the assembly process.
The underlying principle is that we have to be able to go from initial discussions, to a design scheme, to a virtual model, to a real prototype, to lab tests, to field trials, to a finalised design and into production in a time frame dictated by our customers. We also provide servicing, maintenance, repairs and modifications to the same standard of customer service.
We recognise that flexibility and adaptability, coupled with an ethos of engineering and manufacturing excellence and quality concern, are what keeps Matrix at the forefront of the international field of brake and clutch technology. We also understand that we are only as good as our last job and that customer expectations are only ever going to go up. They constantly set new standards and we simply have to meet or surpass them.
For this reason we have to be a fast, progressive company that is committed to investment in the latest technology, systems and people. Matrix International is a 'can do' organisation – no challenge is insurmountable.