V-belts are cheap, right? That’s what most people in industry think, but a dumpster full of worn-out belts represents a good amount of money. Not only that, but the time required to change belts, along with any downtime, can be significant.

Make Belt Drives Efficient

Belt drives need four things to make them efficient:

  1. Proper sizing
  2. Alignment
  3. Tension
  4. Ventilation

When belts or sheaves are worn, they should be replaced.

The Importance of V-Belt Sheave & Groove Gauges

V-Belt sheave and groove gauges are an important addition to any maintenance mechanic’s precision tool set. They are sold by many different companies and most of them are graduated for light-duty, classical, or heavy-duty v-belts and sheaves.

They can be used for checking:

  • Sheave wear
  • Belt wear
  • Proper belt and sheave sizing

Browning v-belt gauge

Photo courtesy of Browning

Groove gauge for sheave wear

Checking for Sheave Wear

Sheave wear is most often caused by sheave misalignment. Using the proper size of groove gauge (along with a flashlight), mechanics can check for sheave wear. If wear is present (see photo), the sheaves should be replaced, and properly aligned.

Belt gauges can be used to check for wear on the belts, but most often they are great for determining the size of a belt when the belt has been damaged, and the numbers can no longer be read.

V-belts are cheap, but V-belt sheave groove gauges are too; and they may help you reduce the amount of belts you have to change.

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