How Do I Choose the Right V-Belt?

V-belts, in combination with grooved sheaves, provide excellent power transmission without the slippage that was common with their predecessor, the flat belt drive. Design and materials have come a long way since those days, but in order to get the most life and efficiency out of v-belts, it is vital to choose the correct size and type.

Measuring for Your New V-Belt

5VX V-Belts

If you are replacing a v-belt, you might be thinking “No problem, I’ll just measure the old one and find a new one equal to that length.” Keep in mind that with that approach you will need to account for stretch – as old belts in need of replacement typically have – and adjust your measurement for a slightly shorter length.

If this is a new installation, you can measure for a new v-belt by looping a string or narrow rope around the sheaves as the belt would, pull it tight, mark or cut the string, and use a tape measurer to get the length. Measure the top of the old belt or the sheave groove to get the width that you will need.

Environmental Considerations

So you’ve got the length and width of the belt you need, but there are several v-belts for different applications and environments. Some questions you might want to ask yourself include:

  • Did the old belt fail? In what way? How can that be improved?
  • At what speeds will the belt be operating?
  • What kind of load will it be transferring?
  • Are oil, dust, and other contaminants a factor?
  • Will the belt have to deal with any misalignment of the sheaves?
  • Will excessive heat be a concern?

The answers to these questions will guide you toward the appropriate type of v-belt.

Types of V-Belts

There are many ways to group the types of v-belts: classic, narrow, cogged or non-cogged, metric, or FHP (fractional horsepower), and they differ by horsepower, speed, the belt drives they work with, temperature resistance, oil resistance, and efficiency.

Here at MDS, we offer 3XV and 5VX belts as well as A section belts and B section belts. It can be a lot to sort through, so for more information on which v-belt is right for you and your application, contact us today.