How to inspect your belts

Due to their continuous use, belts can wear out, deform, or break over time, which can lead to costly breakdowns. To avoid these unforeseen costs, checking the proper functioning of industrial belts is essential.

This maintenance method should be carried out during periodic inspections, which are fairly brief, as well as during in-depth checks with prolonged transmission downtime. Well-designed and properly maintained transmissions can thus operate for many years under normal circumstances.

This article presents the main best practices:

Safety Tips

It is imperative to maintain safe working conditions around your transmissions. On the one hand, maintenance will be facilitated, and on the other hand, the operator’s safety will be improved:

  • It is often necessary, for inspection purposes, to observe a machine while it is running. Never touch it before it comes to a complete stop.
  • To stop a machine, turn it off and lock it out. Keep the key in your pocket. For even more safety, remove the fuses, if possible.
  • All machine components must be in a safe position (neutral). Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe maintenance procedures.
  • Dress appropriately for the task (PPE). Never wear loose or flowing clothing when working on a belt drive. Wear gloves to inspect pulleys so as not to cut yourself on worn edges.
  • Clean your work environment and floor (oil spill, for example) and delimit your work area.
  • Remove the safety guard and make sure to securely replace it after work is completed.
  • After maintenance, always perform a test to ensure proper transmission operation. Check and adjust as necessary.

Periodically inspecting belts (intervention during operation)

A good way to start preventive maintenance is to plan for periodic inspection of your transmissions during your regular maintenance rounds.

  • Observe the transmission in operation, under a cover, and detect unusual noises or vibrations. A well-designed and well-maintained transmission will operate smoothly and quietly. (Failure modes: wear, vibration, abnormal noises, dirt, missing belt)
  • Observe the entire transmission with the help of a stroboscopic lamp. The stroboscopic lamp can help you evaluate the condition of the pulley grooves. (Failure modes: wear, vibration, abnormal noises, dirt, missing belt)
  • Check if the safety guard is properly and securely installed. (Failure modes: loose, non-existent, modification required)
  • Perform a comparative vibration test according to the pre-established frequency. (Failure modes: vibrations, abnormal noises, burning smells)

Periodically inspecting belts (intervention during downtime)

In addition to the periodic inspections, it is necessary to carry out in-depth checks while the transmission is stopped.

  • Inspect and clean any dirt that may have accumulated on the pulleys and in the safety guards. (Failure modes: dirt, damage)
  • Visually inspect the condition of the belts. (Failure modes: wear, cracking, cutting, shimmering)
  • Inspect the condition of the pulleys using a pulley gauge. (Failure modes: wear, shimmering)
  • Measure the belt flap and deflection of the pulleys using a dial gauge. Tolerances must be lower than the standard. (Failure modes: vibration, deflection)
  • Measure the applicable tension and deflection according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Always refer to the chart provided by the manufacturer. (Failure modes: wear, vibration, overheating, slipping)
Belt flutterBelt deflection
Max 0.002″ – 0.003″< 12″ 0.002″
12″ – 24″ 0.005″
> 24″ 0.010″

Note :
This information is given for reference only. It is based on the experience and know-how of Spartakus Technologies and assumes prior consultation of the manufacturer’s specifications.

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