The Challenge

SEPAC was asked to design and manufacture a spring-set, power off brake for a humanoid robot application, which was critical in enhancing its dexterity. This performance advantage allowed the robot to complete very realistic tasks in an emergency situation such as opening/closing doors and hatches as well as connecting a fire hose to a valve.

The Solution

The design had to be relatively thin with high torque holding capacity. It was understood from conversations with the customer that the lighter the brake design the better potential performance from the humanoid robotic arms. Hardware needed to be installed very early in the process so that the sophisticated control logic could be matched to the physical performance characteristics.


Working within a tight schedule and limited budgets, SEPAC made several iterations of the brake for different joints in the robotic arms. The pressure and complexity was high as the robot was part of a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) competition.

The Results

The brakes performed well in the application. Months later, the robot secured a high enough score in the competition to move on to another round with higher levels of government funding awaiting the winners. This robot may one day be able to help save lives while at the same time safeguarding the lives of first responders. SEPAC enjoyed being a part of the successful team atmosphere.


SEPAC has provided superior clutch and brake solutions for industrial applications since 1984, continually adapting and innovating our products to meet or exceed industry requirements. From enhancement of our tried-and-true industrial grade motion control products to the design and manufacture of custom industrial motion control solutions, to robotics solutions, we will customize to fit the needs of our customers.

Superior products for innovative solutions

1580 Lake Street, Elmira, NY 14901
(607) 732-2030