This saga of Steep Rock Lake might never have materialized. People said the risk was too great installing a clutch apparatus on the great dredge and guaranteeing its operation in the removal of 60-million cu. yds. of overburden from the lake bottom so one of North America's greatest ore bodies could be mined.
Twice the 10" forged steel shaft had broken on the job causing costly delays. Time was vital and replacement parts were thousands of miles away.
Set up to limit the drive AUTOMATICALLY at 586 h.p., ruling out danger of overload on the 500 h.p. motor operating at 514 rpm, the clutch assembly connected the motor shaft to the input shaft of a speed reducer which cut the rotations of the slicer to 19 rpm. When the slicer, which churned up the mud and clay covering the lake bottom contacts solid rock, the clutch disengaged. INSTANTLY, preventing damage to drive shaft and eliminating danger of "burnout" to the costly motor.
The BLM automatic centrifigal clutch elimated any further mishaps. The performance of the BLM Automatic Clutch resulted in the installation of a similar clutch on a second dredging unit being used to speed up the tremendous project called "Operation Mudpack."