Implementing a preventive maintenance program, including proper belt drive installation, tensioning procedures and best practices, will increase productivity, reduce downtime and yield the added benefit of improved workplace safety.
Most power transmission problems are the result of incorrect installation and maintenance. The purpose of this article is to provide guidance to avoid drive problems, extend the life of the drive and maximize performance while maintaining a safe work environment.
The cost of belts is relatively insignificant when compared to the cost of production downtime and the labor costs associated with belt failures. In general, 80% of the downtime associated with power transmission belts in any given production facility can be found on 20% of the plant's drives. In other words, 80% of the drives are good. The remaining 20% are "problem drives" that require frequent attention and replacement.
Power transmission products are potentially dangerous. Failure to install and maintain products according to recommended application information and procedures can result in serious bodily injury or death. Make sure that the product selected for any application is recommended for that service, always following the V-Belt Manufacturer's recommendations.
Always turn off the power and lock the drive before performing any maintenance work on the power drive. A label should be attached stating "Danger - Do Not Operate".
One should always attempt to operate the unit after shutdown to ensure that you have locked out the proper switchgear and that the switchgear is operating properly while also releasing any stored energy.
Use belt guards to provide protection for personnel from contact with drive components. Do not test or operate the belt machine without guards.
Always wear gloves to protect against sharp edges and hot surfaces.
Never wear loose or bulky clothing when approaching an unguarded drive that could become entangled in the drive and cause injury to personnel.
Always be aware of pinch points where hands and fingers can be injured, especially where belts enter wheels or sprockets.
Always keep the area around the drive free of debris and debris.
Do not reuse a damaged pulley. If they cannot be repaired, they should be replaced.
Always use static dissipative belts on drives used in hazardous environments in conjunction with industry-approved methods to dissipate electrical charges.
Longer belt life
Lower maintenance costs
Longer drive component life
More efficient drive systems
After the pulleys are properly installed and aligned, you can install the belt. Always move the drive, usually an electric motor mounted on an adjustable base, to reduce the distance between drive centers and create slack so you can easily slide the belt onto the pulleys without force. Never use a tool such as a screwdriver or pry bar to force the belt onto the drive. Doing so can crack the fabric covering or break the load rope inside the belt.
Proper belt tension is critical for maximum belt life and efficiency. Improper belt tension is a major cause of premature belt failure and increased costs. Under-tensioned belts can lead to slippage, overheating, excessive pulley wear, rollover and noise, all of which lead to higher maintenance costs and inefficient power transmission. In addition, over-tightened belts can lead to premature wear of bearings, shafts and pulleys. The result is more frequent replacement of drive components and expensive downtime. Proper tension is the minimum tension at which the belt will not slip or skip teeth under peak conditions.
Matching V-belts. When using multiple pulleys with grooves, make sure all belts are the same brand. Always replace the entire set of v-belts, even if only one is worn or damaged.
Proper alignment is critical to extend belt life. Check belt alignment whenever you maintain or replace a belt or whenever you remove or install a pulley.
Choose the correct V-Belt to match the pulley groove
Don't mix and match belt brands; stick with one manufacturer
Don't mix old and new belts
To check for a loose belt, place your fingertip in the pulley groove. If the pulley is very hot and you can't comfortably hold it there, the belt may have slipped
The ideal tension is the minimum tension at which the belt will not slip under peak load.
Over-tensioning will shorten the life of the belt and bearings.
Check the drive regularly. If it slips, re-tension the belt.
If the belt slips, check that the belt is sufficiently tensioned and/or the pulleys are not worn.
Do not use "belt dressings" on the belt. These compounds are usually made from petroleum derivatives and can have a damaging effect on the rubber compound and other parts of the belt.
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