Electromagnetic Brakes operate electrically, but unlike eddy current brakes, transmit torque mechanically. This is why they also used to be referred to as Electromechanical Brakes. Electromagnetic brakes have been used as supplementary retardation equipment in addition to the regular friction brakes on heavy vehicles. Single face electromagnetic brakes make up approximately 80% of all of the power applied brake applications.

Electromagnetic brakes work in a relatively cool condition and satisfy all the energy requirements of braking at high speeds, completely without the use of friction. Due to its specific installation location (transmission line of rigid vehicles), electromagnetic brakes have better heat dissipation capability. Electromagnetic brakes use retarders to stop the vehicle. The practical location of the retarder within the vehicle prevents the direct impingement of air on the retarder caused by the motion of the vehicle.

Retarders are means of overcoming the above problems by augmenting a vehicle’s foundation brakes with a device capable of opposing vehicle motion at relatively low levels of power dissipation for long periods. There are several retarder technologies currently available. Two major kinds are the hydrokinetic brake and the exhaust brake. Hydrokinetic brake uses fluid as the working medium to oppose rotary motion and absorb energy. Exhaust brakes use a valve which is fitted into the exhaust pipe between the exhaust manifold and silencer.

Electromagnetic brakes
replace the conventional braking system, and are less cost with greater performance without the need for maintenance and/or replacement.

Another type of electrical braking system with electromagnetic principle is Eddy Current Braking system. An eddy current brake, like a conventional friction brake, is responsible for slowing an object, such as a train or a roller coaster. However, unlike electromechanical brakes, which apply mechanical pressure on two separate objects, eddy current brakes slow an object by creating eddy currents through electromagnetic induction which create resistance, and in turn either heat or electricity.