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Belt Drive


Learning Objectives Upon completion of this lesson, the trainee will be able to: 1. Describe inspection procedures and replacement criteria for drive belts used in belt-driven air compressors. 2. Discuss the belt tension adjustment. 3. Describe the alignment procedures used on Dresser-Rand belt-driven high pressure air compressors.

Reference Materials NAVSEA S6220-BE-MMA-010, Dresser-Rand High Pressure Oil-Free Air Compressor Model IRN30NL-1. NAVSEA S6220-BS-MMM-010, Dresser-Rand High Pressure Oil-Free Air Compressor Model IRN30NL-3. NAVSEA S6220-DD-MMA-010, Dresser-Rand High Pressure Oil-Free Air Compressor IRN30NL-3E, IRN30NL-4, and IRN30NL-4A Models. Manufacturer's Technical Manual Maintenance Requirement Cards (MRCs) Figures/Tables Figures: 3-12-1. Compressor Vee Belt Tension Adjustment 3-12-2. Alignment of Compressor Drive Belts 3-12-3. Compressor Sheave Removal Tool

Training Aids/Materials None

The use of drive belts and sheaves (pulleys) is a common method used for transmitting rotational energy from an electric motor to an air compressor. This lesson will cover general information concerning drive belts, sheaves, and repair and maintenance procedures associated with vee belts used in belt-driven compressors. Step-by-step procedures for belt and pulley repair and maintenance are given in the manufacturer's technical manual. Such procedures should be adhered to when performing maintenance. This lesson will give a general overview of repair procedures.

Drive belts (vee belts) 1. Belt construction Vee belts are manufactured from rubber, fabric, and cord in much the same way as radial ply automobile tires are made. Under normal conditions, vee belts are relatively maintenance free and will have a reasonable service life.

Belts are manufactured to fit into specific sizes of sheave grooves and will not perform satisfactorily if used in different sized grooves. Properly fitted belts will protrude slightly above the sheave groove.

The number of belts used is determined by the load involved. The IRN30NL compressor uses a "matched" set of eight belts. The belts are matched as they are made in the same mold, and they are all identical in size. There will be a batch or mold number on each belt that must be checked to ensure the belts are identical in size.

If there is one defective belt, all belts must be replaced.

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Use only a matched set of belts.

Refer to figure 3-12-1 during the following discussion.

2. Vee belt removal

Prior to removing the belt guard or inspecting the vee belts, the compressor must be tagged out.

Ensure that the compressor is tagged out.

Remove the belt guard. Check the tension of the individual belts by depressing each belt (in the center of the belt span) with your thumb. Any significant difference in tension between belts will require a complete belt set replacement. Before belts can be removed, tension must be released by loosening the motor holddown bolts and jacking the motor adjusting screws.

Belts should be sufficiently slackened to permit removal without stretching the belts. Stretching can cause internal belt damage and greatly reduce belt service life.

3. Vee belt inspection Examine belts for fraying, cracking, glazing, or softening. If any one belt is found to be defective, the entire belt set should be replaced. Never mix new belts with old belts or belts of different manufacturers.

Vee belts, motor pulleys, and compressor flywheels should be kept dry and free of oil. Belt dressing should never be used.

4. Vee belt installation (new or used belts) Ensure motor mount adjusting screws are positioned so belts can be placed over motor and compressor sheaves without stretching. Stretching belts during installation or removal can result in internal belt damage.

To ensure long life and satisfactory operation of vee belts, the motor pulley and the flywheel must be in exact alignment, and the belts must be under proper tension.

Refer to figure 3-12-2 during the following discussion.

Alignment Using a straightedge, adjust motor mount adjusting screws to ensure motor and compressor sheaves are parallel. Parallel misalignment is corrected by repositioning the motor sheave on the shaft.

The motor is jacked on the mounts to achieve proper angular alignment.


Tension adjustment The ideal tension is the lowest tension at which the belt will not slip under peak load conditions.

Excessive looseness will cause slippage, rapid wear, and deterioration of vee belts. On the other hand, a belt that is too tight will cause excessive wear of the belt, compressor bearings, and motor bearings. In extreme cases, it may cause a seal leak.

Each air compressor manufacturer's technical manual gives a detailed description of how to properly adjust belt tension using a spring scale or tensiometer.

When the correct tension is achieved and the alignment is correct, tighten motor mounting bolts to the value specified in the manufacturer's technical manual.
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Reinstall the belt guard.

After 24 to 48 hours, new belts will require tension adjustment. Refer to the manufacturer's technical manual procedures for exact details of adjusting belt tension after run-in. Pulleys/sheaves 1. Pulleys or sheaves used on air compressors are generally constructed of cast iron and are very heavy. The purpose of the weight is that the pulleys act as flywheels designed to smooth out vibrations and steady any speed variations caused by slight crankshaft imbalances or uneven loads.

2. Inspect sheave grooves for burrs or other imperfections that would damage new belts. Dress up any rough areas with emery cloth.

The heavy weights involved require special handling when removing sheaves. Ensure that proper precautions are taken to hold the pulley in place during removal so it will not suddenly break loose and fall off the compressor or motor shaft. Refer to figure 3-12-3 during the following discussion. 3. If the compressor crankshaft or motor is to be removed, the sheaves should be removed to permit easier rigging. This figure illustrates the special tools that must be utilized to remove the sheaves. 4. Reinstall the motor and compressor sheaves (if removed) in accordance with the procedures in the manufacturer's technical manual. Install sheaves in their original positions. Drive motor 1. Drive motors require little maintenance. Normally the electrical shop will handle most repair and maintenance procedures. 2. Maintenance actions will normally be limited to alignment and adjustment of belt tension.

No written test will be given. The instructor will quiz trainees informally until they satisfactorily demonstrate the ability to: 1. Describe inspection procedures and replacement criteria for drive belts used in belt-driven air compressors. 2. Discuss the belt tension adjustment.

3. Describe the alignment procedures used on Dresser-Rand belt-driven high pressure air compressors.