C1020 and C1045 Shaft Material Difference for Pulleys

May 15, 2019

Conveyor shafts are viewed as process-essential pulley backbones. They’re the hard but ductile cylindrical cores that absorb impact while keeping their loads moving. Frankly, these key system components sometimes experience unmanageable amounts of back-breaking kinetic energy. Because of that fact, lesser shaft alloys cannot endure for long. Only resilient, carbon-strengthened steel can survive here, and we have just the right two candidates for the job.

Installing C1020 and C1045 Shafts

Rotating at hundreds of revolutions per minute, spinning pulley shafts bend momentarily while absorbing loading stresses. Then they experience shearing forces, thanks this time to the tensions propagating through the power transmission chain. Like waves of pivot-impacting stress, all of those energies accumulate in and around the pulley shaft. To deal with those extreme loading factors, we’re calling upon the stress-mitigating capacities of C1020 and C1045, which are both classed as carbon steels.

Low-Carbon C1020 Machinability

There are keyways and tapered edges to cut into pulley shafts. All of these design elements benefit from the presence of low carbon steel gauges that are machinable. Thanks to a carbon content of 0.20%, C1020 steel is the perfect machine shop candidate. It’s formable but not intended as a high tensile metal. Hence, if a shaft made from this steel experienced deflection problems, system performance issues would multiply until the equipment-associated conveyor belt could no longer function efficiently. Heat treatment procedures can further harden C1020, but that action would then attenuate the steel’s machinability attributes.

Medium-Carbon C1045 Deflection Strength

By taking a shaft’s carbon content up to 0.43%, a heavy-duty conveyor pulley gains a few beneficial application perks. For one thing, shafts made from this medium carbon metal are harder and more deflection-resilient. Further heat treatment operations can take C1045 shafts up to their austenitizing temperatures, where they become even harder and more durable. However, this type of carbon steel doesn’t machine readily. That doesn’t mean the metal can’t be formed, but some planning will be required if the steel is to be cut and profiled so that it satisfies the kind of dimensional standards that are used when fabricating keyed conveyor pulley shafts.

C1020 is a formable, weldable low carbon steel. It can accept complex geometrical profiles, but that benefit is offset by a low-to-moderate tensile strength feature. For harder exterior surfaces, flame heating adds extra load-handling toughness. All the same, C1045 is a superior load handling alloy, for this is a medium carbon steel. More durable and fatigue-resistant by design, deflection problems diminish when this metal is substituted in place of C1020. However, medium carbon steels are harder to form and machine. That’s a major drawback if a machine shop requires lots of geometry on a C1045 pulley shaft.

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