Proper V-belt Tensioning & why does it matter?


Proper belt tension is critical when installing a belt as it ensures long satisfactory operation and determines how long the belt will actually last. Here are potential problems you might encounter with improper belt tensioning:

If a belt has too little tension, it could result in a multitude of issues, including; slippage, excess heat, and premature belt and pulley wear. The excess heat can also affect bearing life.

If a belt has too much tension, it results in excessive stress on belts, bearings and shafts.

Have you ever seen someone in your workplace pluck a belt or touch it and claim they’ve just checked the tension? After 20 years of knowing a machine, some might feel confident enough to do that. However, it’s not the proper way. Not all belts feel the same when they are properly tensioned due to different tension cables or materials used in their manufacturing process*.

A belt will still operate satisfactorily within a wide range of tension. The importance is to find the proper range for any V-Belt drive. To check the tension of a v-belt, use a tensioning gauge in unison with a belt deflection table. Want to know how to do this? Watch the following video to learn how:

Read our blog post about installation of belts, belt storage, and why proper sheave alignment is important, The Fundamentals of Belts and Sheaves.