To aid in the selection of the proper belt for each application, manufacturers provide technical and performance data about their belts.

In addition, the Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (RMA) and the Mechanical Power Transmission Association (MPTA) have worked together to publish engineering standards and bulletins for most types of belts and drive hardware (see Bibliography).These publications contain information that supplements design catalogs.

There are four basic questions that need to be answered in the drive design:
1. What horsepower is required of the drive?
2. What is the speed (rpm) of the driver shaft?
3. What is the speed (rpm) of the driven shaft?
4. What is the approximate desired center distance?

In addition to the basic elements, there are a number of special drive characteristics that may require consideration. These might include:

● Special environmental conditions such as abrasives, chemicals, and so on.
● Overhung load (OHL) considerations for gear motors and reducers
● Driven pulley inertia (WR2) requirements for equipment such as piston compressors, crushers, and so on.
● Special drive characteristics such as shock loads, inherent misalignment, clutching requirements, and so on.

Also, while selecting and evaluating the drive, consider the following points:

● Selecting larger diameter pulleys will keep drive face width to a minimum.
● Selecting larger diameter pulleys will keep drive tensions and shaft load at a minimum.
● Larger diameter pulleys will often give a more economical drive, but should not be so large that multiple V-belt capability is sacrificed.
● If space is limited, consider using the smallest diameter drive. However, pulleys on electric motors must be at least as large as the National Electric Manufacturers Association (NEMA) minimum recommended standards.
● When the drive is between two belt cross-section sizes, the larger section will usually be more economical.

However, it is always recommended to check drives in both cross sections. Selecting an optimum belt drive involves many factors, but drive selection can be readily accomplished using manufacturers’ design literature. Many manufacturers also offer computer programs for drive design selection.

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