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The Many Industrial Applications of Pulleys

A form of technology that dates back to ancient times, pulleys were in use by Greek and Roman mariners centuries ago to help them gain mechanical advantages—raising up anchors or sails, for instance. In the early days, pulleys would take a simple block and tackle form which is still in evidence today on modern sailing yachts. That said, pulleys also have many industrial applications. Different types of steel, as well as lightweight materials such as aluminium alloys, are common for the manufacturing of industrial pulleys these days. In fact, some pulley designs incorporate other materials in order to add durability in areas of stress so that the resistance characteristics of an industrial pulley can be maintained.

What are the main types of industrial pulley used today?

Conveyor Pulleys

A conveyor pulley is used to drive a belt system. Industrial conveyor pulleys tend to be formed from rolled shells, which have a degree of flexibility with both their end disks and locking assemblies. A modern conveyor pulley owes much of its design to the Australian engineer Josef Sitzwohl who developed them in the middle of the twentieth century. The drive pulley in a belt system provides the power, and it can also be used to alter the direction of the belt. This type of pulley is needed in certain manufacturing systems where these sorts of belts are in use to convey components and products.

Cable Pulleys

You might see a cable pulley in action when you do something as simple as tightening the tension in your washing line at home. A cable pulley is used to change the direction in force of any type of cable. This means being able to apply tension in a more convenient manner, and you will see these devices in use with cable guylines that help to keep radio masts erect, for example. They are also used with overhead telephone cables as well as with electrical distribution networks. Large ones are utilised to hold the big cables that are used in the construction of suspension bridges, too.

Timing Belt Pulleys

Where a regular rhythm needs to be maintained, an industrial pulley may have notched teeth which are spaced into it. This type is frequently used with a timing belt whereby the teeth mesh with the corresponding spaces on a matching belt. This helps to keep the belt moving at a steady rate, ideal for highly precise industrial processes such as curing as well as for motor engines.