Synchronous Belt Drive Mechanisms And Designing

Belt drive mechanisms are general applications in machinery. And there are several types of belt mechanisms are available in the market. One of these types is the synchronous belt drive mechanisms which have various advantages over the use of v-belt drive mechanisms. In here, we explain;

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  • The advantages of synchronous belt drive mechanisms,
  • Important points about the use and installation of belt drive mechanisms,
  • Design procedures of synchronous belt drive mechanisms.
Timing belts and sprockets(Image Source: Bandoturkey).

What Are The Advantages Of Synchronous Belt Drive Mechanisms?

The general difference of synchronous belt drive mechanisms other than v-belts, they have teeth at the inner side of the belt. These teeth have complied with the grooves of sprockets which are acting as pulleys at the power transmission between different shafts are motor and shafts.

Because of these teeth that attach the synchronous belt drives onto sprockets, there is no slippage and creep of the belt on sprockets. Because of this, there is no place for loss of rotations and powers at the given time like v-belts. At v-belt mechanisms, there can be slippage and creep of belts resulting from the toothless mechanism.

At v-belt mechanisms, this creep and slippage can be compensated with the application of high assembly strain application between the belts and pulleys.

But for synchronous belt mechanisms, there is no need for such high assembly loads as v-belts to obtain slipless and creepless drive. This means that there are no excessive radial loads on the motor and shafts. But also, there is a slight assembly load application for synchronous belt drives.

Because of the nature of synchronous belt mechanisms, they are also called ‘timing belt’ mechanisms. And they can be used in machinery where precision is very important. At power transmission of 3D printers, robotic mechanisms, synchronous belt drive mechanisms are generally used.

In the market, some advanced synchronous belts are produced from fiberglass core as tensile stressed, which are coated with fabrics or rubbers. They are very long-lasting and have very good load and power transmission capacities.

How To Design And Select Synchronous Belt Drive Mechanisms?

Example data from timing belt manufacturer.

Like other machine elements applications, synchronous belt drive mechanisms have also standards. There are lots of brands that are producing synchronous belts. And these brands have catalogs to select proper synchronous belt drive mechanisms for your application.

The design procedure of the synchronous belt drive mechanism is very similar to the v-belt drive design. You can design a synchronous belt drive mechanism by following v-belt drive design procedures and steps. Here we provide you the summary of design steps for synchronous belt drive mechanisms;

  • First of all, you need to determine the rated power of a driving electric motor or driving shaft.
  • From this rated power that you determined, you need to determine the design power for the synchronous belt drive mechanism.
  • The pitch of a synchronous belt is the distance between respective teeth. As we stated above, there are lots of synchronous belt manufacturers available in the market. You need to select the synchronous belt which has the proper pitch length for your application.
  • To transmit load, power, and moment in a specific ratio between motor and shaft, you need to determine the required ratio. This ratio is also the speed ratio between input and output sprockets.
  • Also, there are lots of sprocket manufacturers available in the market. Selecting the proper pair of sprockets will give you desired ratio from the catalogs that are provided by manufacturers.
  • The Center distance between input and output sprockets is determined by the placements of the motor and shaft in your construction. So, you need to determine your belt length according to the sprocket diameters and center distance between them.
  • In service, the synchronous belt undergoes the biggest stress at the entrance onto a smaller sprocket. So, you may need to select a proper synchronous belt length correction factor from the tables provided by the manufacturer. These correction factors can be bigger or smaller than or smaller than 1.
  • Finally, specify final design details and additional construction elements for the construction of belts and sprockets to the system.

Points To Remember About Synchronous Belt Drive Systems

When you are selecting your sprockets for your system, be sure that the side flanges of sprockets prevent the slippage of synchronous belts axially from sprockets.

In the installation step of synchronous belts, a small center distance allowance must be given to attach belt teeth without force. Then, provide required tension by increasing the center distance which is generally recommended by the manufacturer.

The loads on the thigh and slack sides of synchronous belts are much lower than the v-belts, which provide lower bearing loads.


These are the general important points about the synchronous belt drive mechanisms and their design. Do not forget to leave your comments and questions about synchronous belt or timing belt mechanisms below.

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