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Demystifying the V-Belt Sheave Groove Wear

Worn sheave grooves can pull down the efficiency of a drive by 8% and accelerate wearing of belts. Sheave grooves can experience premature wear and tear from poor belt tensioning, drive misalignment, or harsh environmental conditions.

 

How to detect worn sheaves

Though many stock sheaves are created using cast iron, they also wear over time. It is prudent to check the groves carefully when new belts are being installed. Ideally, the inspection should be done periodically during installation, after 8 hours, then 24 hours, and finally in about 100 hours.  After that, you need to check them regularly.

                                                                

When checking the grooves, it is important to ensure that the ride is uniform. Besides, the bottom of the groove should not have signs of belt contact. If you notice signs of worn sheaves, the problem might have resulted from the following circumstances.

  • Belts seem to have stretched beyond take up
  • The replacement belt appears mismatches at installation
  • Relatively short belt life
  • The belts turn over while still in the groove

                                                              

Using an appropriate tool such as the Browning Groove Gauge, you can inspect the groove wear by simply inserting the right belt profile tab into the sheave groove. If you notice a gap of 1/32” or more, it might be time to replace the sheave.

                                                                

Another tool you can use to inspect the groove is a small straight edge. You machine’s groove angles should be carefully checked along the circumference to establish whether there are burns that are left behind due to overheating and slippage. This is not all.

You also need to inspect the groove to establish whether it has external debris accumulation that causes wearing through abrasion. Use a stiff brush to clear dirt and rust. Indeed, the sheaves and belts should be washed with water and soap to clear oil and dirt. Make sure to also dry them completely to prevent corrosion.

 

The solution

If you establish that the sheaves wear is 1/32" or more, it is time to go for a replacement. Worn sheaves can make the belt to slip causing premature wearing and vibration.

Even if you note wearing of slightly less than 1/32", have the problem fixed but start thinking about a replacement. Indeed, replacing worn sheaves could help to lower energy costs, increase belt life, and cut downtime significantly.

Remember to only go for high-quality sheaves when it is time for a replacement. You should also ensure that the sheaves, belts, and other parts are done by a professional.