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10 Myths of Belt-Drive Maintenance

IMC Presentation (53:08 minutes)

by Richard Wurzbach, MRG Labs

Belt-driven machinery makes up a significant portion of mechanical systems, particularly in air handling applications and certain food production environments. Buildings that house manufacturing, research, office, or living space all include integrated systems for comfort, air supply, and removal, most of which are belt driven. Food processing facilities additionally employ belt-driven or chain-driven components in handling and packaging operations.

The maintenance of these systems is sometimes overlooked, as the replacement of belts is sometimes seen as the “easier” of maintenance tasks; overlooking the impact that poorly maintained belt drives and chain drives have on bearings, drive motors, product quality, and uptime. Many institutions now recognize the criticality of certain belt-driven machines, and at the overall cost of maintaining even low-criticality equipment.

Through the application of technologies such as vibration, infrared thermography, ultrasound, and grease analysis, an optimized maintenance approach can be applied that improves the reliability of belt-driven equipment, optimizes maintenance activities, and reduces the costs of operating these systems.

This presentation will begin with an introduction of commonly held misconceptions regarding belt-drive maintenance, where a posting of this on LinkedIn garnered nearly 30,000 views and 500 comments in just a few days, underscoring the resonance of this topic in the maintenance community. The technical issues behind these “myths” will be shared, along with strategies for precision maintenance and condition monitoring techniques that can achieve the trouble-free, long life of these installations. Case studies and challenges in food processing and agriculture applications will be shared to reinforce these principles.

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