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V-Belt Maintenance “TOOL BOX TRAINING”

Reference: Belt Drive Preventive Maintenance Manual by Gates Corporation.

GPAllied Fig 2

V-Belt Maintenance is a requirement if you want to insure optimum belt drive performance. This process requires proper maintenance and discipline in order to insure effective belt operation and a long service life. When coupled with a regularly scheduled maintenance program, belt drives will run relatively trouble-free for a long time.

General Rules: (if you want to stop V-Belt failures)

1. Insure proper alignment of sheaves both parallel and angular using a sheave laser alignment tool. Do not use a straight edge or string if one expects optimal life from your V-Belts.

2. Use a span sonic tension meter to measure deflection and tension of a V-Belt. To determine defection and tension required go to the following link:
WARNING: Over-tension of belts is the number one cause of V-Belt Failure. 10% over-tension of V-Belts result in a reduction of bearing life by 10%.

3. Use Infrared for identifying over tension. Use vibration analysis for loose or damaged belts and strobe-lights for operator or maintenance craft inspections.

4. Upon installation, new belts should be checked for proper tension after 24 hours of operation using a strobe light or tachometer. Failure to execute this process on critical assets could result in V-Belts not meeting expectations of the end user.

5. Tighten all bolts using a torque wrench and proper torque specifications.

Failure Modes experienced on V-Belt Drives:

Tension Loss, Caused by:

  • Weak support structure
  • Lubricant on belts
  • Excessive sheave wear
  • Excessive load

Tensile Break, Caused by:

  • Excessive shock load
  • Sub-minimal diameter (see chart at top)

GPAllied Fig 1

Improper belt handling and storage prior to installation (crimping)

  • Belts should be stored in a cool and dry environment with no direct sunlight. Ideally, less than 85˚ F and 70% relative humidity.
  • V-belts may be stored by hanging on a wall rack if they are hung on a saddle or diameter at least as large as the minimum diameter sheave recommended for the belt cross sec-tion.
  • When the belts are stored, they must not be bent to diameters smaller than the minimum recommended sheave diameter for that cross section. (see chart above)
  • Belts may be stored up to six years if properly stored at temperatures less than 85˚F and relative humidity less than 70%.
  • If the storage temperature is higher than 85˚ F, the storage limit for normal service performance is reduced by one half for each 15˚F increase in temperature. Belts should never be stored above 115˚F.
  • Extreme sheave run-out

Belt Cracking, Caused by: 

  • Sub-minimal diameter (see chart above)
  • Extreme low temperature at start-up
  • Extended exposure to chemicals or lubricants

Tip Provided by:

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4360 Corporate Road
Suite 110
Charleston, SC 29405
Office (843) 414-5760
Fax (843) 414-5779

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