When a large quarry in Southeast Queensland was experiencing a major maintenance issue with their crusher due to the frequent replacement of belts, they called on CBC staff to come up with a solution. This involved replacing all belts with a set of premium Gates V-belts and ensuring they were correctly installed. The result: significant cost savings and more efficient on-site maintenance.
“The customer actually approached us with this particular issue and after a site visit, we recommended the Gates V-belt product and also a pulley change,” explains CBC Accounts Manager Kurt Nowotny. “After working with a Gates engineer to ensure the belts were set up with the proper tensioning and alignment, the customer went from having to replace their belts every 3 months to every 14 months. They were very happy with that outcome.”
Nowotny is based in Southeast Queensland region working closely with clients. He looks after all the quarry accounts in the area and after 15 years experience in the field, is very familiar with the common issues his customers encounter. One of those is the functioning of the belt drives.
“The belt drives are a big part of every quarry. And while the belts themselves are often the cheapest and most reliable part of the conveyor, they can become expensive if they are not set up correctly,” Nowotny points out.
In other words, the costs of the belts themselves is relatively minor, but the costs of having unplanned maintenance and downtime on an integral piece of machinery – such as a crusher – can be significant to a quarry operation. When the belts are being changed out too regularly, this ongoing task also monopolises the time of maintenance teams who could be focussing their efforts on making other improvements at the site. Which is why Nowotny underlines the importance of getting the set up right to begin with – because this is critical to how well the belt will function.
“The common issues we see with V-belts is in the tensioning and alignment – these are the big two. Often customers don’t have the time to set the belts up correctly, but of course this creates further problems down the line because they’re spending more time having to replace them,” he explains.
This is where the services provided by Nowotny and CBC engineers can prove invaluable to quarry customers.
“We provide the customers with training around the belt set up, which may also include a training handbook and resources from Gates. We also utilise a Gates computer programme that measures tensioning and alignment to give customers the precise measurements they need for belt set up,” says Nowotny. “Additionally, our engineers can provide an ongoing belt maintenance service to customers if they prefer – a full service on top of the product that includes set up and ongoing maintenance.”
It’s the combination of being able to provide both quality product and excellent service that Nowotny says keeps the customers happy.
“I will say that the Gates V-belt is the best belt in certain applications, such as that of the quarry customer I mentioned. The belts are so well-made and also have a patented curve on them which makes them more efficient in the pulley – I’d say they are the most efficient V-belt on the market,” he states. “We also have a great partnership with Gates. I always speak with the Gates team here about any product that I’m recommending to a customer and we collaborate to ensure that the belts are set up so that they will run at their optimum in that application.”
In terms of the process involved when looking at maintenance issues surrounding the belt drive, Nowotny says CBC always start with a site inspection and then make recommendations based on an individual customer’s needs.
“We will come to the site and look at the application. First, we start with an inspection of the grooves around the pulley and the belt. If the belt is sitting too low in the pulley it means the pully is worn and that decreases the belt life drastically. We’ll then have an engineer check the tensioning on the belt before we suggest an appropriate product.”