What Causes V-Belt Pulleys to Wear?

We know that belts love to slip worn pulleys, but what causes pulleys to wear in the first place?

For most pulley drive systems:  Belt slippage.  You can check out our post on causes of belt slippage here.

More to the point, pulleys wear when belts are allowed to slide through rather than gripping the grooves.  Any condition that allows the soft belt rubber to slip rather than grip will cause the belt surface to act as an abrasive, slowly abrading away the much harder metal pulley grooves.

Pulley wear will accelerate in dusty, dirty conditions.  Like sand on a hard floor, dust and dirt will aggravate both slippage and abrasion.  And like sand, a lot of dust around agricultural and mining machines contains hard, abrasive particles such as silica.

Eliminate belt slippage, and you’ve eliminated the primary cause of pulley wear.  Check out our post on reducing belt slippage here.

In addition to reducing belt slippage, you can also consider replacing the pulley using a harder base metal, heat treating the pulley to increase its hardness, or applying an extremely hard skin of Vulcan Grip®, our company’s nano-crystalline pulley coating.

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