What Is the Role of a Belt Drive in Industrial Machinery?

In 2018, manufacturing companies used more than 30% of the total American energy use. That energy is put to good use because manufacturing adds trillions of dollars to the U.S. economy.

The question is, how do manufacturers transform that energy into goods? Motors power industrial machines, but how do they turn that power into a product?

Read on to learn about the belt drive and why it’s a necessary part of manufacturing operations. 

What is a Belt Drive?

Belt drives are a type of power transmission system that’s been around for over 200 years. Early versions of this drive system used flat leather belts or ropes. Today, rubber is the most common material for belts.

It’s basically a pulley system. Two pulleys are connected by a belt that transmits power from one pulley shaft to the other. There is one driving pulley and one driven pulley. 

The belt’s movement is what transmits power from an engine to a mechanical device.

There are three general types of belts: flat belts, V-belts, and synchronous belts. V-belts are the most common because of their strong friction thanks to their trapezoid shape. Synchronous belts have teeth, so they’re good in slick environments.

How Are They Used in Industrial Machines? 

The transmission bridges the gap between the motor and the moving parts of industrial machinery. The most common transmission systems are belt drives, chain drives, and gear drives.

Belt systems are used in grain belt conveyors, sawmills, printing presses, punch presses, and more. They’re even used in exhaust fan systems and laundry machinery. 

They’re most commonly used when the two shafts (driving and driven) are very far apart, as in a grain belt conveyor. Rubber belts are useful in this situation because you can get them in any length you need.

Belt systems are also standard in industrial machines that deal with shock loads like crushers or hoists. The sudden change in force can damage the motor.

But, a flexible belt can slip backward. This can make the belt overheat, but it will protect the motor from more expensive damage. 

Benefits of a Belt Drive

Belt systems are the most affordable transmission product option. They’re simple to install, absorb shock and vibration, and are relatively quiet.

Belt systems need regular maintenance to make sure the belts are in alignment. But, the maintenance costs are cheaper with belt systems than they are with a chain or gear drives.

The other transmission options are chain drives and gear drives. Chain drives are more compact than belts, but they’re also more expensive. Gear drives are noisy and need regular lubrication. 

Because of the simple design of belt drives, these systems last longer. They can handle wear and tear, especially with routine skilled maintenance.

Choosing the Right Power Transmission for Your Operation

The belt drive has been a viable transmission option for hundreds of years. It’s a good choice if your shafts are far apart or you regularly deal with shock loads. 

It’s a quiet transmission option that’s also cost-effective. 

If you need help choosing the right transmission products, contact us today. Our knowledgeable staff will answer any questions you have. 

Posted in Industrial Equipment.