Transmission belts have been a thing of much convenience for some time now. Their applications extend far and beyond, and their contribution in enhancing productivity and better utilizing human resources are not unheard of. In this transmission belt guide, we will take a look at the how-s and why-s of this engineering wunderkind.
What Are Transmission Belts Used For?
One of the most common applications of belts is in the automotive industry- cars tend to have ribbed belts to sync the movements of their main engine components like the pistons and the valves during the numerous operating phases.
A ribbed belt drives numerous peripheral components, from power steering pumps and alternators, to water pumps. In the transportation industry, bicycles and motorcycles are also mention-worthy. Belts are employed in a wide array of industrial applications that call for motion or power transmission, especially in conveyors.
Pros of Having a Belt Drive
When compared to other transmission systems such as chains and gears, belts offer numerous advantages. Here are some of the absolute win-wins when it comes to transmission belts:
- More flexible
- Don’t require lubricant
- No need for parallel shaft
- Clutch action can be activated by simply releasing the belt tension
- Shielded against overload and obstruction
- 95 to 98% efficiency
- Easy to install and maintain
- Machine life is increased as load fluctuations are absorbed
- Less total installation and maintenance cost
- Best option when the distance between the shafts is too large
Cons of Having a Belt Drive
When pitted against other alternatives, belts have a few let-downs that are better known beforehand than after getting your hands on one. While these cons are not to be ignored, the fact of the matter remains that very few alternatives can actually match up to its pros.
Here are some of the cons posed by belts:
- Only replacement, no repair possibilities
- Exposure to lubricants or chemicals expediting deterioration
- Limited operating temperatures from -35 to 85°C
- Not compact
- Needs tightening
- Speed ratio varies because of belt slippage
- Limited speed of about 35 m/s
- Fluctuating angular velocity of belt drives
- Power transmission limited to 370 kW, increasing heat accumulation
- Tends to place heavy load on shafts and bearings
- Needs a deflection pulley or center distance adjustment to compensate for wear and stretching.
How to Choose the Right Transmission Belt?
Want to choose the right transmission belt for your business or company needs? There are quite a few factors that decide which transmission belt will be the best for your specific need. Here’s a look at the various factors determining the best belt for you:
- torque to be transmitted
- center distance
- rotational speed
- reduction ratio
- lubrication conditions
Which is the Most Commonly Sought-After Transmission Belt?
V-belts happen to be the most commonly used belts for the purpose of power transmissions. They transmit higher power as compared to flat belts even at the same level of tension. They are utilized in variable-speed drives, offering the best combination of speed, traction, service life, and bearing load.
Here are some advantages of V-belts:
- The V-shaped sections of these belts follow a groove in the pulley, preventing the belt from slipping while improving torque transmission
- Narrower than a flat belt, thus taking up less space
- No need for tautness
- An optimal speed range of 300 to 2,130 m/min
- 2 or more of these can be assembled side by side in a “multi-belt drive” arrangement to address higher power requirements.
Also known as trapezoidal belts, V-belts can be made of either rubber or polymer minus the reinforcement, or they can include the fibers incorporated in the rubber or polymer to improve strength. These fibers can consist of textile material like cotton, or polyamide like nylon, polyester or steel and aramid for greater strength.
If a seamless belt does not meet the necessary requirements of the application, you can deploy articulated V-belts. Most models provide the same power and speed as the endless belts of the same size, without calling for special pulleys to function. They are much easier to install and boast a higher environmental resistance as compared to rubber belts. If you choose to do away with the links, they are adjustable in length as well.
The bottomline is, know what you want and have a talk with an engineering products and services provider to help you make up your mind!