Five Minute Facts  

Seven Signs Your V-Belts and Sheaves are Misaligned

Mike Olszewski | President, Reliability Concepts

Misalignment is a major problem when it comes to premature wear and failure of your machines’ V-Belts and sheaves.

Regardless of the severity of the problem or the type – angular or parallel – misalignment will increase wear and fatigue on a belt – possibly destroying it within hours or days. To save yourself time and money down the road, look for these signs of misalignment:

  1. Premature belt failure: Misalignment is one of the most common reasons for belts to fail prematurely. By increasing wear and fatigue, misalignment puts undue stress on the belt and may cause it to tear.

  2. Excessive vibration: If the belts or sheaves are misaligned, excess machine vibration can be a common symptom, or it could be a sign of a larger issue.

  3. Premature and uneven sheave wear: Both angular and parallel misalignment can lead to sheaves wearing prematurely.

  4. Belt dust: If you see visual clues of something amiss, such as belt shavings at the foot of the machine, you know to check for significant misalignment.

  5. Belts unequally stretched: A misaligned drive may be the culprit. This can overload some belts and result in premature wear. Realigning and resetting the tension again can solve the problem.

  6. Unexpected noise: A squealing noise often indicates slippage between the belts and the pulleys. A chirping sound could stem from misalignment of a pulley or drive belt, as well as a host of other issues.

  7. Tensile failure: A common indicator of misalignment, tensile failure may be due to uneven cord loading.

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5 years ago

Want to know belt flex frequency’s signficance in high vibration and how to get rid of it.

5 years ago

Wanted to know significance of belt flex frequency in high vibration. How to eliminate high vibration being casued by belt flex frequency

About the Author

Mike Olszewski President, Reliability Concepts

During my many years as a vibration analyst and reliability expert & have witnessed belt driven machines that are “Bad Actors” which are unreliable and have chronic failures.  Misalignment issues like this case are why the B.A.T. Belt Alignment Tool® was invented. 

This blower has a base mounted the motor on the fan pedestal and it was a chronic “Bad Actor” which frequently tore up belts & showed high vibration readings indicating that there were belt problems. When the alignment was checked with a single laser belt alignment tool it did not show a misalignment condition. However, the blower still mysteriously destroyed belts & other system components. Over 8 years it destroyed 28 sets of Belts (84 Belts), 3 Sets of Bearings & 2 Drive Shafts. When the alignment was finally checked with a B.A.T. Belt Alignment Tool® it showed the “TRUE” severe misalignment. It was so far out of alignment that it required .200” shims on the outboard motor feet for the correction. After shims were installed, Vibration was reduced to acceptable levels, efficiency and reliability were restored. The B.A.T. Belt Alignment Tool® showed the true misalignment and made the correction moves obvious, fast and easy the first time.