Pulleys play a vital role in conveyor systems used in various applications, including automated assembly, food processing, and medical manufacturing. Selecting the pulley best suited for your system, especially when using PureSteel® or other metal belts, is crucial to extending the belt’s lifespan and maximizing the system’s overall efficiency.
In any conveyor system, conveyor belt pulleys are the driving force behind the belt’s motion, generating torque and speed. Precision becomes paramount in pulley selection, as the performance of the entire belt system relies on it.
At Belt Technologies, we understand the importance of precision and offer a range of high-quality pulleys designed to optimize your conveyor system, including friction drive, timing and independently steerable designs. In addition, we have recently introduced the TruPulleysTM line of TruTrack, TruTension,and TruPace pulleys. All of our pulleys are designed by our engineering team and manufactured in the United States of America.
We craft our pulleys from anodized aluminum for its ideal friction coefficient, ensuring optimized belt propulsion. If a high degree of corrosion resistance is required or the pulley will be exposed to temperatures greater than 150 °F, stainless steel would be recommended as a suitable pulley material.
Friction Drive Pulleys
Friction drive pulleys are typically flat-faced without timing elements. A flat-faced pulley surface is typically recommended when steering of the idler pulley can be deployed in the application. If steering or other traditional methods of tracking cannot be utilized, then a crown-faced pulley or narrow-bodied pulley may be an adequate design alternative.
A crowned pulley is an alternative for belt thicknesses less than 0.010” thick. The crowned surface can induce high stresses on the stiff steel belt, causing the belt to fatigue sooner than if the pulley surface was flat. A narrow-bodied roll can be an effective method of tracking a steel belt when alternative tracking methods are unavailable. This pulley type is flat-faced and the overall width is narrower than the steel belt. This method can be utilized on a wider range of belt thicknesses than a crowned pulley.
To maximize belt life, metal belts should be used with friction drive pulleys whenever possible. This type of pulley is widely used in various applications where a reliable and efficient power transmission system is required.
Friction drive pulleys have been employed in conveyor systems, packaging machinery, food processing units, material handling systems, printing presses, textile machinery, papermaking machines and pulp processing equipment, packaging and labeling devices, and industrial automation equipment.
In a standard friction drive belt system in motion, there is a tight side and a loose side of tension as it transitions around the drive pulley. The differential force that occurs in the transition results in a loss of position in a standard friction drive system. Timing pulleys feature teeth or pockets encircling the outer diameter, engaging with corresponding holes in the metal belt or drive lugs on the belt’s inner circumference to achieve synchronization. Generally, a timed pulley/belt system can achieve a positional accuracy of 0.001” and be repeatable to within 0.002”.
The resilience of the pulley’s timing teeth is of utmost importance to withstand continuous belt and pulley engagements. At Belt Technologies, our patented timing pulley employs hardened ball bearings as teeth, offering enhanced resistance to continuous wear and smooth engagement and disengagement of the steel belt.
When precision and timing are crucial in an application, timing pulleys are employed at the driving end of the system. Typical applications for this pulley type include robotics, industrial automation and manufacturing, computer numerical control machines, packaging machinery, cleanroom operations, 3D printers, and material handling equipment. Among these end uses, our timing pulleys have been used in animatronics and robotics for the entertainment industry, and in robotic arm actuators for industrial automation purposes.
Independently Steerable Pulleys
We introduced the innovative Independently Steerable Pulley (ISP) to enhance the precision and speed of flat belt tracking. The ISP allows you to fine-tune the position of the metal belt by adjusting a steering collar. Exclusively available from Belt Technologies, the ISP steering technology can seamlessly integrate with traditional belt tracking designs.
The ISP can be used as a friction drive or timing pulley in various system designs. This pulley proves valuable for metal belt systems with long center distances between pulleys and in applications where the belt’s tracking is affected by particulate accumulation. The ISP can be conveniently retrofitted to existing idler pulleys with minimal system modifications, making it a practical and adaptable solution for various applications.
TruPulleys™ are available as standalone products or as components of a complete conveyor system designed by our engineers. These pulleys monitor or regulate the tension, pace or tracking of a metal belt in many different applications.
The TruTension™ pulley is a proprietary device that precisely measures steel belt tension on conveyor systems. The pulley is connected to a small, enclosed controller that uses sensors to measure belt tension and displays this information digitally. This allows users to optimize the belt’s performance and maximize its lifespan.
The TruTension™ pulley has applications in all industries and is compatible with any conveyor as long as both sides of the pulley are supported. For example, in mechanically timed systems, this pulley design continuously monitors belt tension to maximize system performance and extend belt life.
Our TruPace™ pulley offers lower inertia compared to standard pulleys of equivalent size, enabling the use of smaller motors and gearboxes. It features a thin-walled tube with end caps, providing rigidity and multiple mounting options. Its ability to accelerate rapidly with low power gives engineers more design options for rapid part placement. The TruPace pulley can be used as either a drive or idler pulley.
With its frictionless segmented roller design and edge guides, the TruTrack™ pulley optimizes belt tracking automation while enhancing belt durability. This innovative design significantly reduces side loads on the belt, preventing edge damage and extending its lifespan beyond the capabilities of standard edge guides or flanges. This design will maintain lateral position of the belt to within 0.008”.
Ready to Assist with Your Application
When selecting the appropriate pulley size and setup, it’s essential to consider both the conveyor belt’s durability and overall effectiveness. Our experienced engineers have the knowledge and skills to assist you in choosing the ideal pulley style, diameter and material, to perfectly match your metal belt. Contact our sales engineers today to learn how you can get started.