High-Efficiency Belt Drives

Belt drives are frequently used in motor systems and offer advantages such as providing flexibility with positioning of the motor, allowing speed adjustments with the use of pulleys with differing diamaters, low maintenance requirements, decreased noise levels, and high efficiency. However, the efficiency of belt drives differ based on their type and condition. 

  • V-type belts are most commonly used and offer efficiencies between 93 to 98%. However, their efficiency drops by about 4% by age and by an additional 5–10% with poor maintenance.
  • Wedge or cogged belts can maintain efficiencies that are around 2% higher than ordinary V-belts
  • Synchronous/flat/ribbed belts offer efficiencies between 96 to 99%, and require less maintenance. Advancements with these kinds of belts have widened their application possibilities, and it is worth exploring the potential to switch over to these. (Carbon Trust, 2011)

For centrifugal fans and pumps, which exhibit a strong relationship between operating speed and power, synchronous belt sprockets must be selected that take into account the absence of slippage. Operating costs could actually increase if slippage is reduced and a centrifugal load is driven at a slightly higher speed.

Synchronous belts are the most efficient choice. However, cogged belts may be a better choice when vibration damping is needed or shock loads cause abrupt torque changes that could shear a synchronous belt’s teeth. Synchronous belts also make a whirring noise that might be objectionable in some applications (US-DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office, 2005).

Development Status Products

High-Efficiency Belt DrivesCosts & Benefits

Parent Process: Core Motor System Components
Energy Savings Potential

Coupling efficiency can be increased by around 10% with the use of Synchronous/flat/ribbed belts.

CO2 Emission Reduction Potential

High-Efficiency Belt DrivesSchematic

High-Efficiency Belt Drives Tip Sheet

High-Efficiency Belt Drives Publications

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