Belt Width in Pulleys: Why is This Important in Pulley Design?

February 14, 2019

In an ideal world, conveyor system designers wouldn’t worry about belt width. They’d make the flexible ribbon as wide as needed, then it would carry tons of product. That’s just not a realistic way of handling pulley design problems. To begin with, overly wide belts undermine system performance. The equipment becomes sluggish and unmanageable when a wide conveyor ribbon grows too broad. 

Minimising Inclination Attenuation

A narrow belt matches the width of its pulley. A predetermined batch load flows on an inclined conveyor belt section because a pulley design issue has been properly resolved. If the belt width expands, that load would increase exponentially, so much so that the power transmission system would balk at the stress. By incorporating a suitably planned pulley design strategy, the load-to-stress ratio remains correctly balanced. 

A Pulley Design Caveat

The failure analysis models employed here do impact packaging and product transport systems. More pertinently, however, the load factors addressed here spillover onto high-volume, high-capacity material conveyance solutions. Therefore, for more context, picture the belt widths described in this post as load-heavy transportation solutions, which specifically tackle industrial applications, including those seen in the mining and quarrying sector. 

Belt Loading Balance

Let’s approach this issue from the opposite direction. A thin conveyor system belt takes up less space. If it isn’t transporting enough items, the engineer can simply up the equipment’s linear velocity. Those are true statements, but there are limits to be weighed. First of all, with a pulley design engineer opting for a thinner, lighter drum, there’s less material being distributed on the flexible belt. The stress of the denser load pushes down and attenuates the drive system’s performance. Sure, by upping the drive velocity, the materials move faster, but now there are items spilling off the belt edges. 

A Proportionately Applied Design Approach

As with all other things, balance is found by using a design moderating influence. The pulley design principles applied should opt for belt width configurations that balance linear velocity against a capacity for transporting manageable rows of product. The items on the malleable strip must sit stationary and must not jounce all over the moving surface. Meanwhile, optimal load conditions should assure a perfectly distributed lateral burden, as determined by the weight and number of carried items. 

To simplify matters, there are belt width tables. They regulate the design practices that moderate pulley form and function. Within those tables, there are lateral loading factors listed, belt rigidity and thickness constants to assess, and there are drive system variables to adjust. At the end of the day, however, the commonest belt widths lay somewhere between 750mm and 2400mm. Wider variants are available, of course.

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