Dusty environments do not generally present serious problems to synchronous drives as long as the particulates are fine and dry. Note, though, that particulate matter can act as an abrasive resulting in more rapid belt and sprocket wear. Damp or sticky particulate matter deposited and packed into sprocket grooves can cause belt tension to increase significantly. This increased tension can impact shafting, bearings and framework and can even result in belt tensile failure. Static electrical charges within drive systems can sometimes attract particulate matter, so may need to be dissipated to ground.
Debris should be prevented from falling into any synchronous belt drives by using screens or guards. Debris caught in belt drives is generally either forced through the belt or may result in a stalling of the system. In either case, serious damage will occur to the belt and related drive hardware.