Why we always recommend using Wire Belt manufactured sprockets

When using Flat-Flex® belting, it is vital to ensure that the drive components have been designed to suit the unique articulating nature of the Z-Bends (hinges). By purchasing all of your drive components from Wire Belt, you can be comfortable in the knowledge that the sprockets have been engineered to engage your belt mesh correctly, providing a smooth and reliable drive system.  A prime example of this was a recent project on modifying a heat-sealing machine for an Australian customer.  
The heat-sealing machine had been supplied to the customer fitted with a Chinese copy of Wire Belt’s Flat-Flex® belting. Incorrectly specified sprockets caused major problems with tooth engagement, leading to the belt riding up on the sprocket teeth.
The belt had also been installed upside-down which increases the minimum transfer diameter of the belt, leading to excessive stress at the Z-Bends (hinges) and ultimately premature belt failure.

A new Wire Belt Flat-Flex® belt was supplied, alongside drive components engineered specifically to suit the belt mesh and provide excellent tooth engagement. The drive shaft was then set up using Wire Belt’s recommended sprocket and blank layout, designed to promote maximum belt life and excellent cleanability.

By consulting Wire Belt when refurbishing their heat-sealing machine, the customer had access to excellent technical support and guidance via the Technical Sales team and Wire Belt’s extensive network of worldwide Agents and Distributors.

Wire Belt manufactures a wide range of drive sprockets.  Wire Belt standard sprockets are designed specifically to drive Flat-Flex belts smoothly and efficiently.  Sprockets not specifically designed for Flat-Flex should not be used as they may cause the belt to surge, jump teeth, and result in premature failure.

Correct sprocket selection is a function of: amount of room available for the drive; speed requirements; the length, width and loading of the conveyor belt.  Larger sprockets are needed for more demanding applications.

Clean-Sweep™ sprockets can be chosen if there is build-up of product.  Clean-Sweep sprockets have been designed to deflect the amount of product build-up accumulated on your conveyors drive.

Tech Tip:  Selecting the largest practical standard size sprocket provides positive drive and longer belt life.

Drive Component Materials

When choosing the most appropriate sprocket material for your application, it is important to look at the conditions under which the belt will operate. Conditions such as abrasion, corrosion, high/low temperature variations, surrounding temperature, type of process performed, etc. all have an impact on sprocket selection.

Available material types include:

Type 1.4305 (303) stainless steel - which is highly recommended for all applications, especially in food processing industries as it is FDA approved for direct contact with food.

POM (PolyOxyMethylene) plastic, otherwise known as Acetal - usually preferred for light loads, where the operating temperature range is limited to between -20°C to +80°C, and is also FDA approved for food processing applications.

PEEK (PolyEtherEther-Ketone), a high performance engineered thermoplasticPEEK components that can operate at high temperatures and is less abrasive on your stainless steel belts than metal drive components.  PEEK can be used continuously to 240°C and in hot water or steam without permanent loss in physical properties. 

Blanks are used to complement sprockets and as belt supports.  When used on the same shaft with sprockets, blanks must be the same diameter as the root diameter of the sprockets.

Tech Tip: For good belt life it is critical that teeth be lined up across the width of the belt, and also that drive component be positioned 3-5mm away from each ‘z’ joint to allow the belt some side-to-side motion.

For more information on our range of metal conveyor belting and best practise when setting up your conveyor system, please contact our Technical Sales team on (+44)1795 421771 or e-mail sales@wirebelt.co.uk