The Australian cattle dog has become iconic in the Australian agricultural landscape because of their unique attributes. Energetic, hardworking, and intelligent, the dogs, bred originally from a combination of English drovers’ dogs and dingoes, are tough enough to work for hours in harsh Australian conditions. 

In many ways, the Gates Predator® v-belt mirrors these qualities, as Steve Hittmann, National Product Manager – mechanical drives at CBC explains, the durable belts are designed to withstand the toughest environments and applications. 

“They are unique and unrivalled in their extreme robustness and high load carrying capability. They are excellent problem solvers that perform well in harsh environments and in extremely demanding applications where standard v-belts have performance issues.”

Iain Street, Business Development/ Technical Support Manager for Power Transmission at Gates, concurs. 

“It’s a solution belt for highly aggressive applications usually, it’s like a cattle dog, you have to keep them working but they like to work and work hard.”

The Predator® belt is different to other v-belts in its unique design, as it is designed to reduce friction and heat build-up under shock loads, Hittmann explains.

“High powered motors, shock loads from sudden starts and stops, dirty operating environments, high heat, contamination from oil or solvents are all issues which affect the standard v-belt, but when designed and selected by Inenco Industrial Solutions’ Product Specialists or Engineered Services Team one or more of the above scenarios no longer have any effect on the Gates Predator® and your belt drive.”

When under heat stress, other belts can shred or crack, which requires replacement, leading to costly downtime. To counter this, the Predator® is made from an oil and heat resistant chloroprene compound body, rated for 82°C. In addition, the tensile cords which run through the belt are made from aramid fibre, also known as Kevlar®. This reduces belt stretch by 50 per cent. Finally, Gates’ patented curved sidewall enables the belt to fit into the groove cleanly and smoothly, reducing sidewall wear on belt and sheave.

These elements of the belt’s construction enable it to do more work in less space than standard SPB belts, noted Hittmann. 

“Predator® v-belts can handle up to 2.2 times more power than the equivalent size standard v-belt. A more compact drive that weighs less, puts less strain on more expensive components and uses fewer belts, all of which saves you money.”

Being compact means that other components in a drive can be simplified. Pulleys can be thinned, resulting in less over hung load, ensuring longevity and reliability in bearing life. Overall, this reduces the total cost of ownership, with component costs reduced and maintenance time cut down. 

“In general, you can save four to five times the cost over the life of a v-belt on certain applications,” said Street.

A recent installation of the Predator® belt at a large Australian timber mill demonstrated the effectiveness of the belt, in concert with advice and assistance from Inenco Industrial Solutions. 

“The application is a drive for a chipper and the issue was the belt stretch was both excessive and occurred over a short amount of time,” said Hittmann.

“After only 10 weeks the existing belts were stretching and slipping which then lead to a blockage in the chipper. This then had the potential to ignite sawdust and chip beneath the drive, starting what would have been a catastrophic fire.”

“With the correct selection by Inenco Industrial Solutions’ Product Specialists, the Predator® belts were installed by the Engineered Services Team and lasted 12 months without any maintenance or re-tensioning required.”

All in all, after a change out time of just two hours, the savings of both labour and downtime over the following 12-month period was estimated at between $300,000 to $400,000 per annum. 

Street has also seen similar improvements in other applications, with savings in time and money. 

“The Predator® belt is a product that resolves drive issues that production and maintenance managers have to look at constantly. Their resources can instead go elsewhere as the Predator® belt offers a solution and reliability. 

To ensure correct tensioning at the time of installation, CBC offers a wide range of support, at locations close to building material manufacturers around Australia. In addition, the company offer 24-hour support services in person and over the phone. 

“CBC offers technical support from their Product Specialists and Engineered Services Team. When you combine that with the Gates factory back-up and our customer service team, the results are second to none,” said Hittmann.