Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Design Flex® Pro™ Drive Noise Estimates Really Mean

Gates Design Flex® Pro software is the premier belt drive design software available, and can be downloaded for free at http://www.gates.com/designflex/.  Of the wealth of information available on Design Flex Pro printouts, drive noise estimates for PowerGrip® GT®2 and Poly Chain® GT® Carbon belt drives are an option that can be included.  It is important, though, to have a correct understanding of what these noise estimates actually represent.

While it is often assumed that the noise estimate represents the total environmental noise level with the belt drive operating, this is not the case.  Noise emissions from all sources within an environment all combine for a total environmental noise level.  Belt drives are only one of many sources of noise in specific  environments.

It may also be assumed that the noise estimates represent the noise level that synchronous belt drives are expected to contribute to the total environmental noise level, and this is also not the case.  The noise level generated by synchronous belt drive systems is dependent upon many factors including individual belt drive components, actual drive loading, the belt drive design including belt width, belt tension levels, drive alignment, possible reflection or echoing effects, the distance from the noise source and more.  It is unfortunately not possible to consider the effects of so many factors in a simple noise estimate.

The calculation for belt drive noise estimates is really quite simple, as is their intended use.  Individual drive noise estimates are intended to be compared with one another so the lowest noise options can be selected.  Drive design options within Design Flex Pro can be sorted by decibels (dB) or frequency (hz) or a combination.  This allows users to select drives with either the lowest sound pressure level (dB) or the lowest frequency or the lowest overall noise level. 

While Gates belt drive noise estimates are not intended to represent environmental noise levels or actual noise levels generated by belt drive candidates, they do allow users to compare and select belt drives with the lowest noise levels expected.  Selecting quiet drive candidates will reduce total environmental noise levels, and this is the ultimate objective in the end.

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