When James Darrach noticed his customer had repeat orders for the same belt in short intervals, it raised a flag. He wanted to propose a better drive solution.
“The belt they were using was being regularly replaced – around every three months. It was an older belt type on the drive and was a special width, which meant it wasn’t an off-the-shelf replacement,” explains James, who is the Technical Sales Representative for CBC Australia’s Gladstone branch in Queensland. “So when they came through with a purchase order for another one of these belts, I thought to myself that they were going through these too regularly.”
James didn’t keep those thoughts to himself – he took a proactive approach that would result in considerable savings for the customer down the line.
“I contacted them to gain a better understanding of the application and in the process learned that they intended on using the same belt in their set up on another application as well,” he says. “So I proposed they try a different belt solution – the Gates Poly Chain® GT™ Carbon™.”
As CBC is both a trusted supplier and service provider of power transmission and engineering services, the customer was willing to give James and the CBC team in Gladstone the opportunity to propose a new belt drive design. What ensued was a collaborative effort between CBC’s technical staff and their premium partner, Gates, to provide an ideal solution.
“They gave us the opportunity to come up with a superior design but we also had a tight deadline to adhere to as they were in need of change outs and had originally been planning to convert their other application with the older belt set up,” James notes. “Initially, it was another CBC technical engineer and myself who visited the site and collated all the information that we could from their existing set up – such as the motor power, the speed it runs on and so on. Then we came back to the office to work out the details.”
The solution they recommended gave the Gates Poly Chain® GT™ Carbon™ belt a life expectancy of two years – or eight times that of the previous belt used – and the customer has almost reached that two year milestone with the belt completely intact.
“We were meticulous in our approach. We worked closely together with Gates to come up with a design that could handle the job and really deliver on what we had proposed to the customer,” James recalls. “We checked everything using the Gates tools and worked with their Engineering Technical Services team to ensure we ticked all the boxes in the design we were proposing. We did the lot – pulleys, bushes, belts – even turnbuckles – for tensioning.”
At first, they were skeptical that the proposed design with the Poly Chain® belt would meet their requirements.
“I was on call 24/7 when this was first put in place – it was seen as a trial, and they also had a spare belt ready to go, just in case,” James says. “But from day one – since the installation – there has not been a singular problem.”
According to James, the customer was very pleased with the outcome.
“They’re pretty rapt with this solution. Especially since they were under the impression that the original belt was giving them a decent service life,” James points out. “They would’ve continued buying that belt without realising there was a better option.”
On a personal level, being able to solve problems and save his customers some money, is what drives James in his work. “The industry is highly competitive for these businesses so we try and target any line issues they might be experiencing by coming up with better solutions,” he explains. “If we can save them money and the panic of a breakdown, then we’ve done a decent job.”
Being part of a team that is both close knit and highly supportive is also integral to the level of service James and his colleagues can provide to customers.
“I feel very supported in my area up in North and Central Queensland. We have specialists all over Queensland and they’re only a phone call away. That’s been really helpful for me as we can and do provide an around the clock service,” James highlights. “Because in this region accessibility can be a challenge. But if the customer needs something urgently, we’ll do whatever it takes to deliver that to them. That’s a common goal among all our people here – we’re all customer-first-focused.”
Providing the Poly Chain® solution to the manufacturer is an example of how CBC puts this customer-first approach into practice.
“I spoke with the customer just recently and the belt is showing no signs of wear at all. I’m confident we’ll go past the two year timeframe we put on it. In any case, the customer is very happy with it. And I’m happy we’ve been able to help out.”
Key Features of Gates Poly Chain® GT™ Carbon™ Synchronous Belts
- Maintenance free
- 400% greater capacity than HTD timing belts
- 5% energy savings over V-belts
- 99% efficiency for life of the drive
- Reduce downtime
- Reduce weight and overhung loads
- Over 120,000 possible drive combinations
- Inert to most acids, chemicals and water
- Width-for-width roller chain conversions
- No stretch, no lubrication, no re-tensioning
- Outlasts roller chain up to 4 to 1
- Outlasts roller chain sprockets up to 10 to 1
- Inside and backside idlers can be used