A quarry or mining plant potentially has hundreds of different belt drives. How can a site or reliability manager ensure belts are achieving their life expectancy and that drives are working at optimal efficiency? According to Steve Hittmann, the Gates® Design Flex™ Pro™ free software tool is designed exactly for this purpose, providing real cost savings and benefits to customers.
“We supply this software as a free issue to our customers – for example, if they’re having an issue with a belt drive, they can enter the particulars of that belt drive and the software will analyse the efficiency of the drive for their application,” explains Steve, who is the National Product Manager for Mechanical Drive Systems with CBC Australia. “It is an incredibly useful tool that can be used to design new belt drives, confirm the suitability of existing drives and obtain correct maintenance procedures and tension details.”
Steve reflects on one particular quarry customer who was not achieving the estimated manufacturer’s life expectancy out of their belt products.
“In this case, the customer contacted us to get a quick answer and resolution. We used this Design Flex™ Pro™ tool to confirm the existing drive information and suitability to the applications. By keying in the relative details, we had visibility on all the previous drives used, and were able to reduce the set of 12 belt drives to the one type,” Steve expands. “What did this mean for the customer? First of all, we switched to a Gates® product, which is a premium product that provides better performance and longevity. Secondly, by consolidating the belt drives the customer realised significant cost savings.”
Moreover, Steve says CBC often uses the Design Flex™ Pro™ tool when performing site surveys.
“Whilst the software serves as a belt drive selection tool, it is also used to determine proper belt installation tension, calculate belt pull and determine the rated belt capacity,” Steve furthers. “It can also estimate the energy savings of a synchronous belt drive compared to a V-belt drive, estimate the cost savings of replacing roller chain with a Poly Chain® GT™ Carbon™ belt drive and can compare noise levels of different Gates® synchronous belt drives.”
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