DENVER—Gates Industrial Corp. P.L.C. is moving to ethylene elastomer for the next generation of its high-torque synchronous belt for industrial markets, the PowerGrip GT4.
The new construction, a change from the previous versions made with chloroprene, gives the belt unique performance characteristics, said Taylor Jung, director, synchronous drives, global product line management.
"It is a more capable belt because of the materials and the components that are brought together both from a materials standpoint and the process that's required to manage those new materials," Jung said.
He said the GT4 differs from other belts in two major ways: power-carrying capacity and temperature range. He thinks of power-carrying capacity in terms of "power density," or how much power a belt can carry for a given width.
"The advantage to having a belt with high power density is that you, for a given application, can apply a narrower belt," Jung said.
That's a really valuable characteristic for users, because a narrower belt is generally more cost-effective, he said. And as a drive gets narrower, all of the accompanying materials around it get narrower as well. Companies also are always trying to build and install equipment in tighter spaces, and any ability to bring a belt into a smaller space can give designers more options to work around power transmission drives.
Moving from chloroprene to the EE formulation allows the new belt to carry required power across a greater temperature range, Jung said. While Gates still is in the process of testing the specific range of temperatures the GT4 can withstand, it has increased on both the high and low end compared to previous chloroprene belts.
"It does end up performing well when it's in the field in those spaces," Jung said.
Gates originally started using EE formulations with its Micro-V belts in automotive markets, Jung said.
"We've brought those types of materials into our V belts in that space," he said. "This is really the first time we've brought it into our high torque synchronous range. We're excited to do that in a really big way: Not by making it a special or custom construction as needed, but by bringing it to our standard range, the one we offer on the shelves in inventory on a consistent basis."