As the original inventor of v-belts, Gates® is a recognised market leader of v-belt drive solutions – and one application these are particularly suitable for in the food and beverage space is refrigeration compressors.
“We have a number of customers that specifically use Gates® v-belts for refrigeration compressors,” says Leon Stefanec, National Business Development Manager for Food & Beverage at Motion. “In fact, one particular company we work with that specialises in industrial refrigerators exclusively uses Gates® v-belts because of their longevity, performance and the reduced costs associated with less maintenance and change outs.”
The company Leon is referring to is Hoctor Industrial Refrigeration. The Melbourne-based specialised company provides end-to-end refrigeration services to the food and beverage market segment including the design, manufacturing, installation and after-sales maintenance of refrigeration solutions.
Eujin Tan, Hoctor’s Senior Engineer, says he was first introduced to Motion’s services and capabilities as a supplier in 2021. Since then, the company has come to rely on Motion for a variety of industrial products including the Gates®’ v-belts.
“We like to use Gates®’ v-belts when servicing compressors as they are a premium and long-lasting type of belt,” says Tan. “During a routine service, our service technicians will source Gates® belts from Motion when a v-belt change is required because we know that we can rely on the team there to source the belts on time.”
Eujin explains the risks that low quality v-belts can pose to the refrigeration compressor and business as a whole.
“If a refrigeration compressor fails, it can result in the loss of expensive finished food products which must be written off and disposed of. Additionally, given that the service intervals for compressors are set many months apart, minimising the need for additional site visits between these intervals to fix v-belt issues is key,” he elaborates. “The efficiency of Gates® v-belts helps to mitigate this issue. We regularly use the Gates raw edge cogged design, the Quad-Power™ 4 range as we find that they run cooler and last longer than conventional v-belts.”
Rob Michelson, National Product Manager for Belts at Motion, says that Gates® Quad-Power 4 v-belts are constructed with “the most advanced technology available today.” Namely, the new generation of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) belts are designed for longer service life, which eliminates costly downtime for re-tensioning, repair, and replacement.
“By using innovative minimal-stretch cord technology, Gates® has designed the industry’s first raw edge zero-maintenance v-belt,” says Rob. “Unlike conventional belts, the Quad-Power™ 4 raw edge v-belt does not suffer from severe tension decay in the first hours after installation. Ensuring no run-in period nor any re-tensioning are required.”
No re-tensioning means no machine or production downtime.
“In 2009, Gates® pioneered a Quad-Power™ v-belt range featuring advanced EPDM rubber which resulted in a new standard for v-belts as it gave a considerably longer service life compared with conventional belts,” Rob explains. “Now in 2023, Gates® has further optimised the EPDM rubber compound and is one of the first in the industry to add a new and innovative cord design which resists stretch better than ever before. Gates®’ Quad-Power™ 4 belt is the industry’s first service-free raw edge v-belt that guarantees greater efficiency and lower costs.”
This latest generation of Gates® EPDM v-belts also boasts the widest temperature range on the market. The Quad-Power™ 4 belt has been tested to perform in extremely cold conditions as low as -50°C. Likewise, the newly formulated EPDM rubber material is resistant to hardening and cracking under temperatures exceeding 100°C. This makes the Quad-Power™ 4 belt an ideal solution for hot air heating, ventilation, and air conditioning applications or other high temperature environments.
“The high-grade construction provides the belt with a much higher power density than classical v-belts, allowing for a more compact drive design and resulting in reduced drive width, weight, and costs,” Rob furthers.
Additionally, the Gates® Quad-Power™ 4 features a specially engineered moulded notch shape that reduces bending stresses. As a result, it shows improved flexibility and increased performance on small pulley diameters. The flexibility also gives the belt excellent reversed bending properties when backside idlers are used.
To summarise, Rob says that Gates® has a solution for any and all client needs or belt drive problems. But the Quad-Power™ 4 family is popular for a reason.
“This service-free belt is not only available in every popular size as a single belt, but also in the sturdy PowerBand™ construction for extremely high shock-loaded or vibration-prone drives,” he says. “By equipping customers with greater levels of efficiency, less downtime, fewer replacement needs, higher performance and a wider temperature range, Gates® v-belts can be utilised to suit a range of client needs.”