MRO Magazine

Handy belt maintenance tips

Problem: Power transmission belts are giving us headaches. Are there any shortcuts to reducing the problems?...

September 1, 2005
By MRO Magazine
MRO Magazine

Problem: Power transmission belts are giving us headaches. Are there any shortcuts to reducing the problems?

Solution: It’s usually the shortcuts that cause the problems, so take a careful look at your belts and determine the origin of the fault. Then make the time to eliminate the cause of the problem for less trouble down the road. Here are some tips from engineers at Gates Corp. on what to look for.

* The belt is often blamed for excessive drive noise. To eliminate the belt as the noise problem, spray it with soapy water while it is running. If the noise goes away or decreases, then the belt is part of the problem. If the noise is still evident, then the problem is likely due to other drive components.

* A V-belt that is falling apart in layers could be a victim of oil, which weakens the compound’s bonds, making the belt soft, spongy and considerably weaker.

* Proper belt installation tension is important to the optimum performance and longevity of a synchronous drive system. Unfortunately, about 90% of synchronous drives are not tensioned properly. For synchronous drive systems, the ideal tension is the lowest tension that properly seats the belt in the driveN sprocket on the slack side.

* When removing old belts or installing new ones, loosen the motor mount bolts and move the motor until the belt is slack and it can be removed without prying. Belts should never be pried on, rolled on, powered on or otherwise forced onto a drive. Belt tensile members can be damaged by such action. This will lead to shortened belt life.

* One of the most frequent causes of V-belt drive trouble is worn pulley grooves. Short belt life, caused by belt wear, differential tension, and bottoming-out and slip, is the result of excessively worn grooves. Extreme cases can cause belt instability. Sheave gauges make it easy to check for worn V-belt pulleys

Do you have a solution for a maintenance problem? Send it in and if it’s published, we’ll send you a free Mr. O Problem Solver T-shirt. Include your address, telephone number, print complete details and, if possible, add a sketch to help explain your tip. Send your ideas to Mr. O, Machinery & Equipment MRO, 12 Concorde Place,

Suite 800, Toronto, ON M3C 4J2.