Existence of air-borne dust in the potroom of aluminum smelting plants has been studied repeatedly from the perspective of worker health and safety. How these dust particles impact service life of equipment in the smelting plants, such as belts and other components in drivelines, was the subject of one Gates® inspection and drive upgrade for an aluminum smelter in Australia.
A vacuum pump operating on site was experiencing considerably short drive belt service life. Oxide dust in the environment was impregnating the sidewalls of the raw-edge v-belts, causing the belts to slip, heat up and crack. The vacuum pump was also subject to high shock loads, which polished and hardened the sides of the belts, inducing slip. As a result, belt life was limited to approximately six weeks.
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