V-Belt vs Synchronous Belt — 5 Reasons To Upgrade Your Belt Drive

V-Belt vs Synchronous Belt — 5 Reasons To Upgrade Your Belt Drive

Upgrading Your V-belt To A Maintenance-Free Synchronous Belt Could Be The Energy-Conserving Solution You’ve Been Looking For To Improve Your PT Operations

synchronous belt drive

V-belts are the oldest, most commonly used power transmission belt style in the industry, and therefore, are often referred to as “classicals.” Whereas, synchronous belts, also known as timing belts, positive-drive belts or high-torque drive belts, were later designed to incorporate a toothed function that requires the installation of a sprocket. This positive engagement results in exact shaft synchronization while eliminating slippage.

Synchronous belts offer various advantages that you can’t get from a standard v-belt. To determine whether or not a synchronous belt could improve your belt drive system, consider the following top five benefits, weighing them against both your business’ power transmission capabilities and overall operational objectives.

Five Reasons To Upgrade Your V-Belt To A Synchronous Belt

You could benefit from an upgrade to a synchronous belt if you want to…

1. Eliminate Maintenance Hassles

V-belt performance hinges on frequent and precise tensioning. “Each time you put a new v-belt on, you have to go back and re-tension it after 24-48 hours, once it seats itself into the v-groove,” says Tim West, IBT Business Group Director of Industrial Rubber Products, “With synchronous belts, on the other hand, you tension them one time and you’re done.”

For facilities with multiple belt drive systems, time spent maintaining perfect belt tension can add up. The synchronous belt’s self-sufficient performance not only eliminates this hassle, but it also minimizes the potential for human error.

2. Increase Efficiency

Additionally, while a v-belt’s efficiency can deteriorate over time due to slippage, the synchronous belt was engineered to run slip-free. Its notched design, paired with flanged sprockets as opposed to v-groove sheaves, guarantees it stays in-place and on-track. As a result, “studies show that the synchronous belt maintains a 98% efficiency rating,” West says.

3. Increase Energy Savings

On the same note, a more efficient performance equates to a greater conservation of energy. With thicker cross-section and a larger bend radius, v-belts require more energy than synchronous belts to operate under the same load. While synchronous belts rely on the grip of the sprocket to move them forward, the “wedged” nature of the v-belt within the sheave’s grooves creates a dependence on friction for functionality, generating more heat.

Although v-belts are often selected for their inexpensive, face-value cost, they can end up costing your business more overall when you factor in operational costs. According to West, the initial product cost could be paid for in energy savings in the first month.

4. Accommodate For Space Constraints

Another factor to take into the consideration of a power transmission belt upgrade is the spatial capacity of your facility.

Many assume that because v-belts are more narrow than synchronous belts, they take up less space in your power transmission systems. While this holds true for lighter load applications, belt drives with heavier loads demand additional support: “Up to four v-belts are required to handle the amount of horsepower that a single synchronous belt can take on alone,” says West, “therefore, occupying MORE space.”

Additionally, the teeth in the synchronous belt allow it to wrap around a smaller diameter pulley, which allows for further flexibility in systems with space constraints.

5. Switch To A Higher Horsepower Application

Finally, upgrading to a synchronous belt, like Timken Belts’ Panther® XT, is also recommended when switching to an application with higher horsepower.

With every added unit of horsepower, the friction-dependent function of the V-belt further limits its load capacity and heightens its susceptibility to wear. If the increase in torque is not accommodated for with a multi-belt system, as mentioned, there’ll be a sharp decrease in performance, due to slippage, as soon as that capacity is reached.

Synchronous belts, however, maintain their high-efficiency performance over a wide range of loads. Engineered for higher horsepower ratings, with advanced polymer compounds to withstand wear, high torque levels are no match for the tooth-in-sprocket combo.


Synchronous Belt vs Chain ━ An Upgrade Could Also Improve Your Chain Drive

Timken belt experts offer additional insight for applications powered by chain drives

The Timken Belts Applications Engineering Team states “Synchronous belts should also be considered as a chain replacement. Chain drives with slightly higher RPMs are good candidates for an upgrade because they tend to have lubrication issues. Compared to chain, synchronous belt drives are low maintenance, with less noise and no lubrication is required.” And additionally, “For any belt drive, proper tension and alignment are essential for optimum performance and life.”

Our staff’s wealth of product knowledge, together with our vast network of partnership with names like Timken, means you can trust you’re always getting the best product solution in the business for your application.

About IBT’s Industrial Rubber Products Group

As your experts for power transmission belting, we want to help you find the best belt for your application━but that’s not all. IBT’s IRPG team partners with a variety of industries, offering a wide selection of heavyweight and lightweight conveyor belting and custom-fabrication services. Their service capabilities also include the cutting and crimping of a wide variety of industrial hydraulic and pneumatic hose in IBT’s STAR-certified KC Hose Shop facility. We’ve got both the inventory and expertise to service all your belting and hose needs. For more information, contact IBT’s Industrial Rubber Product Expert,  Tim West, or give us a call at 913-677-3151 today!

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