A complete package: Gates belts complement Australian-made pulleys

A complete package: Gates belts complement Australian-made pulleys

As one of Australia’s most experienced pulley manufacturers and general engineering companies, Queensland-based manufacturer, Australian Power Transmission, appreciates the value of their partnership with CBC Australia and Gates to offer complete drive system solutions to their customers.

Originally established in 1945 as A.S. Dewar’s and Sons, the business was later acquired by Malcolm and Beverley Lyell and rebranded as Australian Power Transmission. Through more than seven decades, the company has specialised in manufacturing pulleys, and now also incorporates CNC machining precision-engineered components, as well as offering fabrication services to a wide range of customers.

The pulleys they manufacture include products of up to 2100 millimetre in diameter and can weigh up to 4 tonnes. These pulleys are used extensively on crushers, screens, pumps, and other mining and heavy industrial equipment.

Brett Lyell, who is the second-generation manager of the family-owned business, says the long-standing partnership between Australian Power Transmission and CBC goes both ways. CBC provide the key tools to Australian Power Transmission so that they can manufacture and supply the pulleys and components to CBC.

“CBC provides us with various tooling and hardware that we use in manufacturing of our products and we share with them our expertise around pulleys to help them better assist their customers. Over the lifetime of the business we have produced over 8500 variations of pulleys,” he says.

With CBC being a leading national distributor and service provider of power transmission and engineering services, Brett says he also passes any customer queries regarding belts and other drive system components to the team at CBC.

The working relationship between Australian Power Transmission and CBC Australia offers effective solutions for the mining and quarrying industries, to help optimise the design of their customers’ drive systems and add value to their operations.

“We are experts at manufacturing pulleys, but we don’t directly deal with belts. When our customers contact us with questions about belts, we just pass them on to CBC as they are the experts in this regard. We advise
our customers to use Gates belts, as these belts are unrivalled in quality and complement our pulleys very well,” Brett states.

Michael Greelish, CBC’s National Accounts Manager for Mining, Quarry and Resources, says in collaboration with Gates, CBC has been able to help mines and quarries achieve higher energy efficiencies through design optimisations.

“People often underestimate the importance of well-designed belt drive systems and how that can impact the overall efficiency in their operations. In an optimised drive system, each component can last longer and run to its maximum life,” he says.

An example of this was demonstrated recently when the CBC technical team helped their client, a major sand processing plant, optimise drive system design for the plant’s 60 pumps.

“The client was at first reluctant to make any changes to their existing drive systems. But we ran a thorough analysis of all of their pumps and were able to demonstrate to them the potential benefits, not just from energy savings gained with better designed drive systems, but also by extending the longevity of their components,” says Michael.

“In our analysis, we found that some drive systems were under-designed, whereas others were over-designed. We were then able to provide a complete solution that included reducing the number of belts on some pumps, adding more belts where required, and replacing some existing belts with high-performance Gates belts, including the Gates Predator® v-belts,” he adds.

The tool that assisted the CBC team in analysing and improving drive systems was the Gates Design Flex® Pro – a belt drive selection software tool developed by Gates to assist design and maintenance engineers with belt selection.

Iain Street, Business Development Manager at Gates Australia, says Design Flex® Pro is a user-friendly tool for maintenance personnel and engineers looking to either modify an existing drive to enhance performance or designing new belt drives

“By entering some basic drive data and selecting the desired belt types, you can generate a report, listing all possible drive options. You can then select
the solution that best suits your requirements.

“The report also provides the required tensioning specification to help you set up the belt with the correct tension. Moreover, you can also get a report of the potential energy savings with each of those solutions,” he explains.

A key benefit of optimising the design of drive systems using the Gates Design Flex® Pro, according to Iain, is that it allows the plants to reduce their belt requirements which reduce their working capital.

“Using the Design Flex® Pro, engineers can design alternative drive systems that require fewer belts. By using Design Flex® Pro and replacing their existing belts with superior Gates belts, some of our customers have been able to halve the number of belts used in their operations.”

Being able to use narrower pulleys is another benefit of the optimisation, which Iain says reduces the overhung load, in turn extending the bearings’ life.

Iain says high-performance Gates belts are ideally suited to run in the harsh environments of mine sites and the Gates Predator® is a great solution belt in many of these applications.

“Gates Predator® v-belts can handle up to 2.2 times more power than the equivalent size standard v-belt. So you can design a more compact drive and use fewer belts, all of which save you money. The Gates Quad-Power® 4 and Gates Super HC® belts are also extensively used in mining applications and can withstand very high temperatures.

Iain says the CBC and Gates engineering teams work together to support customers with any issues related to drive systems.

“The CBC Power Transmission team members all have the technical knowledge and skills to guide the customers with selecting and designing the best drive systems. The Gates engineering team also make sure to support CBC’s customers whenever required,” he concludes.