Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Belt Drive Inspection and Replacement

We sometimes get questions about how often belt drives should be inspected or replaced. This does not have a simple answer because belt wear and life depends on a variety of factors. Belt life depends on the original drive design, the actual loads experienced vs. the design loads, the pulley alignment, the installation tension and maintenance, and environmental conditions such as heat and chemical exposure. As you can see, many of these factors are out of our control, so therefore it is nearly impossible for any manufacturer to give an accurate estimate of the belt life without testing the actual drive. There are also many things to consider when deciding how often to inspect the drive including: Critical nature of the equipment Drive operating cycle Accessibility of equipment Drive operating speed Environmental factors Temperature extremes in the environment Probably the most important factor is the critical nature of the equipment. A belt powering an integral process to a manufacturing line should be inspected much more frequently than a small, seldom used HVAC unit should be. If the belt were to fail and shut down the assembly line, it could cost the operator a lot of money in downtime. Our general recommendations are to do a quick visual and noise inspection every one to two weeks for critical drives and once a month for normal drives. A complete shutdown inspection should be completed every three to six months. These can be adjusted depending on the factors above. For more information about drive inspection, see our Belt Drive Preventive Maintenance Manual available here: www.Gates.com/Catalogs

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