The answer to misalignment on belt-driven machinery

misalignment belt

When properly maintained, belts are the most cost-effective and reliable means of power transmission in an industrial application. However, drive problems can occur if belts are not installed or maintained correctly, with one of the most common sources of these being misalignment. 

Which is why Gates® – who is recognised as a global leader in belts and power transmission technology – created the EZ Align® laser alignment tool. 

“Pulley misalignment is often the culprit behind premature belt failure. Even a small misalignment of less than one degree can cause the belt to wear out unevenly and eventually fail,” explains bearing and power transmission specialist, Steve Madden. “The traditional methods of checking alignment were to use a straight line or string, but they’re simply not reliable enough and take too much time. Whereas the Gates® EZ Align™ laser alignment tool is accurate, fast and safe.”

Steve recently utilised the tool with a customer up in Darwin, Northern Territory, where he is based.

“I received a call from a customer who was having belt issues on their new crusher – basically they were burning out belts in just a couple of hours work and had already gone through two new sets,” elaborates the CBC Account Manager. “So, I went out to do a drive inspection together with a technician from Gates®.”

From the outset, Steve could see the drive was considerably out of alignment. 

“It was so far out that the laser was not even visible off the reflective surface!” he says. “We offered to lend the customer the alignment tool for the day because it’s straight forward to use and we knew it would provide reliable measurements for the replacement belts. The very next day we received an order for both the alignment tool and a new set of Gates® Super HC™ v-belts.”

Gates® EZ Align™ laser system uses patented and proven reflected laser beam technology.

“This dramatically helps to reduce drive installation time, manpower and potential errors associated with pulley alignment and installation,” adds Steve. “The system uses a return beam angle that is twice the angle of incidence, so the reflected beam travels twice the distance, significantly enhancing accuracy. Having this type of precision results in increased uptime and labour savings.”

The system consists of two units, the laser transmitter and the reflector. Each unit is equipped with powerful magnet brackets.

“The Gates® EZ Align™ units mount magnetically to the face of most pulleys or sprockets. The transmitter unit projects a laser line onto the reflector unit, which is magnetically attached to the other pulley or sprocket face,” explains Steve. “This helps the technician ensure that the transmitted and reflected laser lines match with the respective reference lines.”

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