Behind every great piece of equipment is a good belt. The humble belt is the understated essential worker of industry, says CBC’s power transmission expert Steve Hittmann.
In a refinery or processing plant, failure of a belt can cause unnecessary downtime. This is precisely why manufacturers like Gates® invest their efforts into the research and development of increasingly high-performance belt technology.
Gates® is a premium partner in distribution with CBC, so innovations in belt technology are Steve’s business. The Gates® PowerGrip™ GT4™ is the latest in materials science for belt design.
Steve explains, “The chemical composition of the GT4™ belt is excellent for torque and tension. The belt is made from ethylene-propylene elastomer rubber (EPR) which is resistant to heat, oxidation, weather, brake fluids, oils and greases. In addition to this, it has a fiberglass layer with tensile cords to reduce the amount of stretch.”
“The GT4™ belts are designed around 25,000 hours of life which is the premium standard Gates® maintains with their products. This means a minimum of 3 years of service life. However, I have seen these belts last up to 4 or 5 years on particular applications,” says Steve.
“They don’t require any lubrication or tensioning which means once installed, they are relatively hands-free on the maintenance side,” he adds.
CBC Senior Account Manager of more than 43 years, Brian Crouch, recently identified an opportunity to put the belts into action at the Viva Energy Geelong Refinery near his branch in Geelong, Victoria.
“I’ve looked after the Viva Energy site for 28 years, supplying all the power transmissions componentry there,” says Brian. “I’ve worked on many projects over the years for them. But more recently, I upgraded all their fin fan belt drives.”
“The plant had a high-heat area where there was a large bank of fin fans operating continuously that kept breaking down,” Brian explains. “Fin fans are a critical part of an operating plant because they are cooling high-heat conditions where chemicals are being used.”
Brian continues, “Fin fans can often require daily maintenance to ensure they are working at their peak performance level. Fin fan failures can sometimes pose safety risks for maintenance workers because the banks they are located on are often difficult to manoeuvre. So, the idea is to try to install components that have as much longevity as possible.”
For the Viva Energy fin fan upgrade, CBC Geelong supplied 16-Sets of Gates® GT4™ belts, along with bearings, pulleys, and taper locks, as a complete solution package.
“Gates’ new GT4™ range provides a greater power capacity and reduces the amount of friction and heat build-up under shock loads,” explains Brian. “The fiberglass tensile cords reduce the amount of stretch by 50%. This is truly an upgraded belt design that Gates® have introduced into the market. Customers have given us a lot of positive feedback because they can see the benefits of upgrading to the Gates® GT4™, rather than running on traditional belts.”
Another major point of difference, according to Steve Hittmann, is that the GT4™ belts employ a much greener and more sustainable manufacturing method due to the new material compound.
“The ethylene-propylene is a chlorine-free compound body making it a little safer to use under high temperature conditions,” says Steve. “This makes them an optimum choice for a wide range of applications in heavy industry. The 8MGT and 14MGT pitch options are ideal for high-performance drives in factories and plants where durability and low maintenance are required.”
CBC technical specialists often visit sites on joint calls with Account Managers, combining knowledge and expertise on advanced material science and process engineering, as well as cost efficiency on specific applications.
Brian Crouch and his team at CBC Geelong aim to provide on-site support to mining, quarrying and processing plants in their area by getting out to site as often as possible.
“With the constant advancement of materials technology, there is always an upgrade available for equipment on site. It is my job to identity ways to boost uptime and reliability on my customer’s equipment. Premium partnerships with suppliers like Gates® allow me to have the insider information on the latest innovations,” concludes Brian.
Features and Benefits:
The Gates® PowerGrip™ GT4™ Belts
- Standard widths of 20, 30, 50, 85 mm (8MGT) or 40, 55, 85, 115, 170 mm(14MGT)
- Fully operational in a wide range of temperatures: 40°C to +140°C
- Static conductive (ISO9563) and for conditions described in the Directive 2014/34/EU-ATEX
- Higher power capacity
- Improved chemical resistance
- Increased uptime
- Improved safety
- Improved ergonomics
- Reduced environmental risk
- No lubrication required
- High tooth jump resistance