Specialty Automotive Pulleys for Racing Applications

specialty automotive pulleys for racing applications, blurred raceway

The anatomy of a race car is complex, each component built for speed, power, and veracity. From roof strips and windshield clips to body panels and a TV camera, each piece plays a role in the vehicle’s ability to function as it should.

The engine is one of the most important elements of a vehicle built for racing. One automotive resource writes, “The engine in the NASCAR race car is probably the most crucial component. It has to make huge amounts of power for hours on end, without any failures.”

Beyond the powerful possibilities of a car built for racing, many street-car drivers long for a boost of power. In response, specialty automotive kit manufacturers create superchargers, built to “level up” the average street-car experience.

Below, we’ll dive into the individual components of a centrifugal supercharger, touching on the importance of specialty automotive pulleys for manufacturing kits. We’ll also explain the benefits of working with a custom pulley manufacturer to produce high-quality, reliable automotive kits.

Specialty Automotive Manufacturing Kits: Superchargers

In recent years, superchargers have grown in popularity. Vehicle owners are drawn to the concept of significant power gains via a simple addition to their current automobile.

Homeowners searching for a new piece of furniture for their home – like a dishwasher or bathroom sink – look for the best option within their budget. The same goes for cars! People prize their vehicles, and selecting a trustworthy, high-quality automotive kit takes time.

What Are the Main Components of a Supercharger?


The impeller is one of the most important components of a supercharger, located directly in the center of the system. One supercharger manufacturer writes, “The impeller pushes air into the blower and builds the pressure that translates directly into positive manifold pressure, also known as boost.”

Impellers are built with utmost quality and durability because they must withstand intense environmental conditions within the supercharger for extended periods of time.


Once more, the diffuser is extremely important. This component is designed to convert energy into pressure. All built-up kinetic energy is transformed into velocity at a gradual, controlled pace.


The transmission must be capable of handling intense impeller speeds. “Additionally,” the supercharger manufacturer continues, “The transmission contains bearings to support the shafts that are attached to the internal gears. Bearings are used throughout the system to help parts move smoothly and reduce friction and wear.”

Compressor Housing (Volute)

A volute is unique to a specific to centrifugal superchargers. This specific supercharger uses air to increase pressure in the engine, burning more fuel at a higher level of combustion. The volute collects airflow and transfers it to downstream pipe.

The Importance Of Customizable Pulleys

For the supercharger to run smoothly, a high-quality timing belt system is required. However, automotive belts have a unique tooth profile. To work properly, the pulley must fit this exact profile. Unfortunately, this is a difficult task for many pulley manufacturers, making it challenging for automotive kit companies to find a high-quality product customized to exact specifications.

Specialty automotive kit manufacturers often have to make two stops when purchasing pulleys for their kits.

First, the manufacturer has to buy however many timing belt pulleys are needed. Then, if the pulley company does not customize the pulleys to precise specifications, the manufacturer must take the pulleys to a company who can customize the pulleys.

To save time and resources, automotive kit manufacturers can purchase from a pulley company that customizes the product on-demand, delivering exactly what the kit manufacturer needs right away – a one-stop-shop.

For Specialty Automotive Manufacturing Kits, Quality is Critical

High-powered vehicles require reliable components. Companies selling automotive manufacturing kits, such as superchargers, need every element to be trustworthy – all the time. To create an excellent final product, each building piece should also be excellent.

IPG always delivers high-quality automotive timing pulleys for racing applications at market value. Although we may not be the cheapest option, the adage is true: you get what you pay for. Don’t compromise on quality.

Illinois Pulley & Gear: Automotive Pulleys for Racing Applications

At Illinois Pulley & Gear, we produce made-to-order timing belt pulleys to exacting customer expectations. Our experience working with specialty automotive kit manufacturers has allowed us to understand the unique requirements of this industry. We customize our products and processes for the good of each client.

We are known for our high-quality product and superb customer service. We would love to get in touch. If you have any questions about our customizable timing belt pulleys, give us a call at 847- 407- 9595 or complete our online contact form. Let’s talk!

Timing Pulleys for Food Packaging

food packaging equipment

Few individuals suspect the impact of timing pulleys on their daily life. Some people may even deny any influence. However, timing pulleys play a role in numerous industries, performing a variety of tasks – including the food and beverage industry.

In fact, timing pulleys play a role in one of the most important parts of the food industry: packaging. Though often overlooked by consumers, packaging impacts food safety and shelf life. For distributors, packaging is an area to constantly scrutinize, identifying ways to maximize efficiency and guarantee quality.

Trusted food packaging systems are driven by efficiency and quality. In the following content, we explore the various categories of food packaging equipment and how timing pulleys for food packaging play a critical role.

What Are the Categories of Food Packaging Equipment?

The categories of food packaging equipment are as varied as food options available on grocery store shelves. However, a few primary types of machinery play significant roles in the food packaging process. Let’s take a look at these below.


Checkweighing is the process of determining how much products weigh and are essential for a number of reasons. First, weighing packages eliminates product loss! Over time, compounded product loss cuts into profitability. Distributors require a system that can confirm product weight to meet health and safety standards and reduce wastage.

Vertical Form Fill Seal

An innovative food packaging product, a vertical form fill seal creates, fills, and seals pouches in one automated action. The purpose of a form fill seal is to emphasize safety (all packaging tasks completed in a single location) while saving time.

Vacuum Sealing

If a distributor is packaging a product that would benefit from vacuum sealing, a vacuum chamber system is required. Vacuum-packaged foods tend to retain good qualities – such as freshness, coloring, and nutritional value – for a longer period of time. This stems from the ability of vacuum-packaged foods to regulate temperature.

Tube Filling

Tube filling is not necessary for every distributor, but it plays a vital role in some segments of the food industry. Any product that needs to be injected into a tube mold – such as certain cream or liquid-based items – requires a filling machine. The best systems fill dozens of tubes per minute.

Filling and Capping

Once again, filling and capping machines are used for a specific packaging purpose. If a liquid product needs to be filled in a capped pouch, such as certain baby foods, this machine would be utilized. Though these systems are relatively new to the food packaging market, they have gained traction among distributors and storefronts for the ability to bundle sleek, efficient items.


Unlike the filling and capping machine discussed above, capping machines are a regular in distribution plants. The capping machine is utilized for any capped liquid product, from water bottles to corn syrup containers.

Accumulation Systems

Accumulation systems allow for products to accumulate in one space at the end of the processing line after being packaged, giving employees in the plant adequate time to process each product. An accumulator is often used when many items are being packaged at once, such as at the end of a capping machine.


As one might expect, bagging machines are utilized when food items need to be bagged, from candy and chips to shredded cheese.


Bundling machines are utilized for packaging large quantities of food in the same bundle. These systems are also called “banding machines.”

What Role Do Timing Pulleys Play in Food Packaging?

Timing pulleys play a substantial role in food packaging. To grasp the significance, we must consider the importance of a reliable food packaging system. Poorly packaged food goods can cause significant health risks.

According to the CDC, nearly 48 million people get sick every year from foodborne illnesses – resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations. Foodborne infections are a serious matter. Not only could toxins cause a few dissatisfied customers and bad PR, but lawsuits can also be raised.

Though foodborne illness is certainly not always a packaging problem, improperly packaged foods could play a role in exposure to bacteria and harmful chemicals. Thus, food packaging systems must run reliably.

Timing pulleys are critical components of many of the systems explored above! The need for precision-quality machine parts has only increased over the years with the demand for high-quality, safe, and effective food packaging.

Though timing pulley systems are sometimes tucked away amongst machinery, a properly functioning pulley system is often crucial for a properly functioning packaging machine.

Illinois Pulley & Gear: Precision Timing Pulleys for Food Packaging

At Illinois Pulley & Gear, we understand the importance of high-quality, trustworthy machinery. From the food industry to aviation, only the best will do. In many cases, human safety is on the line.

This is why we make precision pulleys, done right. Our timing belt pulleys are made to order to exact customer specifications, ensuring that you get the right part every time. Our team is dedicated to every client. You will always receive the highest-quality product from Illinois Pulley & Gear.

To learn more about our precision-machined pulley stock, give us a call at 847-407-9595 or complete our online contact form. A specialist will be in touch shortly!

Which Flange Manufacturing Methods and Flanging Techniques Do You Need?

flange manufacturing methods

There’s no arguing that pulleys are one of the most important mechanical components of many of the machines and devices we rely on every day. However, just as important are pulley flanges.

During normal pulley function, the belt rotating around the pulley will naturally tend to work itself towards one side of the pulley. Referred to as angular misalignment, this tendency can lead to the edges of the belt wearing down, or complete system failure over time. The purpose of the flanges is to keep the belt in place, preventing this wear. Thus, durable and efficient flanges are critical to a smoothly running pulley system and zero downtime for your mechanical processes.

To meet those requirements, powerful and productive flange manufacturing processes are a must, and there are a few different manufacturing methods high quality custom manufacturers use to create the products for your application and facility.

Below, we’ll walk through the production process, as well as some of the flange manufacturing methods Illinois Pulley and Gear uses to create custom, quality pulley flanges. Read on to get started.

The Manufacturing Process

Type 1: Stamping with CNC Machines

Metal stamping is the general process of converting flat sheet metal into specific shapes. When it comes to flange manufacturing, stamping uses a variety of metal forming techniques, including blanking, punching, bending, and piercing. Typically, the process is done on cold sheet metal with a custom made stamping die, creating flawless final products.

Stamping can be useful for a wide range of industries and applications. This method gives manufacturers the ability to create flanges very quickly, in high volume, and also helps to avoid any welding or spot welding that could create weak points in the design. When your application requires precision and thicker materials, stamping is an ideal option.

Type 2: Laser Cutting

High power CO2 and fiber laser cutting offers the most precise cuts of any flange manufacturing process. Controlled by a computerized system, the efficiency and accuracy of laser cutting makes it the perfect technique for high tech applications, or other industries with stringent requirements. 

Laser cutting is also a cost-efficient solution and uses significantly less energy than other methods. However, laser cutting can also outperform alternative methods in several other areas as well.

In terms of speed: exact, symmetrical designs can be created in a matter of seconds depending on your requirements and materials.

In terms of flexibility: Laser’s do not require a custom die to be made like those which would be necessary for the stamping processes. We simply reconfigure the computer controlling the laser to your exact design specifications. This allows us to quickly adjust the products we make, which is particularly useful if you need more than one type and size of flange. Laser cutting can also be used on a wide range of materials, including plastic, and many types of metal.

As previously mentioned, the cut quality and efficiency of laser cutting manufacturing remains unrivaled as of the writing of this article. When you put all those advantages together, laser cutting helps our experts at Illinois Pulley and Gear design and create the exact product you need.

Continuing the Process – Attachment

Once your flange has been created, it needs to be attached to the timing pulley. There are several ways this goal can be accomplished, three of which we use in our own processes are outlined below.

Roll Staking

Producing a complete crimp all the way around the edge of the flange, roll staking is Illinois Pulley and Gear’s preferred attachment method. Most conventional staking methods only hold a small percentage of the flange to the pulley, connecting it at a few points. The complete “seal” roll staking offers guarantees a longer-lasting connection, and thus a high-quality part overall.

Heat Shrinking

Another exceptional method of attaching heavy, large-diameter flanges to timing pulleys is through heat shrinking. During heat shrinking, the flange is heated to over 450 degrees Fahrenheit before being placed onto the pulley’s flange step. When the metal has cooled, the flange shrinks perfectly onto the flange step of the pulley, creating a permanent seal between the two.

Bolt-On Flanges

Perhaps the most effective way of connecting flanges to timing pulleys is to use bolt-on flanges. These heavy and durable flanges are held to the side of the timing pulley through flat head screws. Beyond creating a bond of significant strength, this method of flanging allows maintenance workers to remove the flange for belt repairs and more. This useful benefit is unavailable with any other flanging method.

Flanging With Illinois Pulley & Gear

At Illinois Pulley and Gear, we are experienced in a wide range of flanging methods to ensure you have the best custom flange for all your needs. We also guarantee a durable, trustworthy flanging process.

To learn more about our components or flanging process, please reach out at 847.407.9595 or via our online contact form. We look forward to speaking with you, listening to your needs, and solving issues with friendly customer service and quick turnaround time.

How Timing Belts Are Made

As an integral part of combustion engines, we rely on timing belts every single day. Whether used in our cars to get us from point A to point B, our lawn mowers, our washing machines, or anything else which uses an engine to operate, timing belts make life as we know it possible. Yet, there’s so much more to know and appreciate about these important pieces of equipment. Here, we will outline everything you need to know about how timing belts are made, what the best materials are, and how you can manipulate your timing belts for better engine performance. Let’s get started.

First, What Do Timing Belts Do?

In a combustion engine application, a timing belt’s main function is to synchronize the movement of the camshaft and crankshaft. As these two parts rotate, the timing belt works to ensure consistent, yet different speeds are maintained for each, relative to one another. A properly functioning timing belt is crucial to optimal engine performance, and without it, your engine will stop working completely.

What Are Common Timing Belt Construction Materials?


As the most common timing belt construction material, rubber timing belts are widely used across industries and applications. In fact, most internal combustion engines still found in the majority of cars use timing belts made from some type of rubber or rubber compound.

While rubber is extremely common, it does have some drawbacks. Rubber timing belts are notorious for stretching and breaking relatively quickly when subjected to the high temperatures and quantities of motor oil found in vehicle engine blocks.

However, technology has advanced, and many types of temperature-resistant rubber compounds are now used to increase the lifespan of your timing belts, as well as their resistance to distortion. Improved rubber compounds and reinforcing fibers also provide greater strength and traction, guarding against sheared teeth, or other damage to the belt.


With naturally greater elasticity, as well as resistance to high temperatures and the harmful effects of oil, polyurethane has quickly become a popular option for timing belt construction. Polyurethane belts also offer long-lasting and extremely energy-efficient solutions for a wide range of applications. 

Typically capable of delivering high tensile strength, polyurethane belts also provide higher loading capacities, which is crucial for optimal torque production. Many in the industry also prefer these types of belts as they are relatively easy to clean and maintain. For many types of power transmissions and roller conveyor systems, polyurethane remains the best choice.


When you require high-performance and acceleration forces, a fabric timing belt may be a great choice.

The wide array and combinations of materials used mean fabric timing belts offer fantastic tensile strength, low friction coefficients, and excellent resistance to temperatures, both high and low. When high torque or acceleration requirements need to be met, there are a wide range of fabric timing belt options that will be highly beneficial.

Timing Belt Construction & Design


To this day, high-performing, durable rubber materials are still the substance of choice for timing belt manufacturing.

However, as mentioned above, rubber compounds are susceptible to degradation through constant exposure to excessive heat and contact with motor oil. This can result in lowered tension, impacting the precise times of the engine valves necessary for optimal performance.

To account for these issues, today’s timing belts are also constructed with sturdier materials, such as polyurethane, neoprene, or welded urethane, injected into molds.


Timing belts rely on strong teeth to keep the crank and cam shafts synchronized, and those teeth come in a wide range of metric pitches. Pitch is a measurement of the distance between the centers of two adjacent teeth on the timing belt. A picture demonstrating how to measure pitch on a timing belt pulley is shown below.

Check out our technical data tables to get a better understanding of what pitches are and how they impact other timing belt pulley factors, such as diameter, and number of teeth.

When it comes to the design of the teeth, older belts typically make use of trapezoidal-shaped teeth. However, newer manufacturing techniques allow for curved teeth to combat the issues with noise and lifespan common for many trapezoidal toothed belts.

One final timing belt construction note: shortening the width of the timing belt reduces the weight and friction, helping to increase performance.

Timing Belt Tooth Profiles

Depending on the desired application and environment, timing belt teeth can be arranged in several different ways. As mentioned above, the first is trapezoidal, while more modern belts use curvilinear tooth profiles.

Trapezoidal Belts

Trapezoidal teeth are extremely effective at transmitting forces. However, at higher levels of torque or speed, teeth of this harsher, more blunt shape tend to wear down fast.

Despite their faults, trapezoidal teeth remain common, and are typically the primary choice for precision conveying and linear positioning belts.

Curvilinear Belts

With a smoother and more rounded tooth shape, curvilinear teeth reduce the risk of tension loss, and alleviate the high concentration of force trapezoidal teeth experience. While that may sound like a great improvement, curvilinear belts are not without drawbacks of their own.

Teeth of this profile are likely to suffer from a greater amount of play between the teeth of the belt and the grooves of the pulleys. Referred to as “backlash”, this difficulty usually results in less accurate positioning of the belt, and potentially decreased performance.

Modified Curvilinear Belts

Modified curvilinear belts seek to combine the strengths of both trapezoidal and curvilinear tooth profiles. With a shallower tooth depth and steeper sides, these belts are able to effectively transmit forces of higher speed and torque without sacrificing on durability. Accordingly, modified curvilinear belts are often a primary choice for demanding industrial applications.

Custom Timing Belt Pulley Stock From Illinois Pulley & Gear 

While timing belts are incredibly useful, they remain useless without the proper pulleys. Illinois Pulley & Gear produces made-to-order timing belt pulleys to exacting specifications. We are ready to help you find the products you need or to design your own custom equipment. We are ready to listen, understand your specialized requirements, and provide innovative solutions, every step of the way.

We invite you to browse our timing pulley stock to get started. However, if you would rather communicate directly with our team about your specifications and needs, you can contact us at any time via our online contact form. One of our product specialists will reach out promptly with further guidance, more information, or additional questions that will assist us in better serving you.

Symptoms of a Bad Timing Belt Pulley

From manufacturing equipment to our vehicles, much of the machinery we use daily heavily relies on properly functioning timing belts and timing belt pulleys. However, because these components undergo such a high and repetitive level of strain from daily use, they tend to wear out relatively quickly and must be replaced on occasion. While it’s not always easy to determine exactly when these pulleys need to be replaced, there are a few key symptoms of a bad timing belt pulley you can keep a lookout for. With that being said, here are a few of the most common symptoms you can use to determine the condition of your timing belt pulleys.

Shaky, or Otherwise Incumbered Belt Motion

When determining the condition of your timing belt pulley, a potentially simple way to begin is by reviewing how the belt and pulley system are functioning. If your setup is wobbling or not moving as smoothly as it used to, it may be an indication of deterioration and the need for a replacement part. While not an end-all validation of a bad timing belt pulley, it can be the first indication of some sort of issue which must be addressed.

Visible Wear On Your Pulleys

Over extended periods of use, both the timing belt pulley and the timing belt itself will begin to wear out. As that wear continues to develop, one of the first and most common symptoms of an issue with your equipment will be visible wear on the pulley.

Visible signs of wear can take the form of marks on the surface of your pulley caused by the friction of the belt. While your pulley may not need immediate replacement as a result of these marks alone, it is another good warning signal that the life of your pulley may be coming to an end. As the pulley and belt continue to wear down further, there will eventually be a point in time where tension is reduced on the belt, leading to slipping and the improper functioning of your equipment.

Belt “Squealing” or “Whining” Noises

A common warning sign of an issue with your timing belt pulley is a high pitched squealing sound coming from the belt. Think of this sound as an alarm bell signaling a need for repair or replacement. What causes this sound?

As the surface of the timing belt pulley wears, or if your pulley is seizing or binding in any way, it can cause engine belts to squeal from the friction of belt rubbing against pulley. Additionally, as the issue begins to worsen with continual wear, a bad pulley can bind or slip, causing the belt to emit a similar noise when the engine is first started.

Knocking or Slapping Noises

Speaking of warning noises, another common sign of a bad timing belt pulley is a knocking or slapping sound coming from your machine. When pulleys wear out, they often struggle to maintain tension on the belt. As a result, the belt can come loose and knock against other components, causing a slapping-like noise. In most cases, this is an indication that you will need a new pulley, and perhaps even a new belt, depending on the damage caused.

Damaged Bearings or Pulleys

In a worst-case situation where an issue has been ignored for a long time, your timing belt pulley, and the bearings within, may wear out to the point of cracking or even a complete breakdown. When this happens, the rotation of the belt on the pulley can be completely interrupted, leading to a wide range of problems, such as overheating, stalling, torn belts, and more.

Damaged pulley bearings can cause the pulley to freeze completely, preventing the belt from moving properly. You can check for this specific issue by taking your belt off the pulley in question and attempt to spin it by hand. If you find the pulley has any resistance, it will likely need to be replaced. If you do decide to try this test for yourself, be sure to always use caution, and ensure the machine is completely turned off during the entirety of the process.

What if the Pulley Seems Fine, But There’s Still an Issue?

If you’ve reviewed all the previous symptoms and found your pulley to still be in good condition, there’s one final component of a timing belt pulley to consider – the holding bracket. Keeping the pulley in place, this bracket can become warped or loosened over time, causing the pulley to wobble as it moves. In some instances, an unsecured pulley bracket can even force a timing belt off the path. While this issue can cause serious problems for your machines, it is typically a quick and simple fix.

Need to Replace Your Timing Belt Pulleys? We’ve Got You Covered.

If you do happen to be experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, don’t worry. At Illinois Pulley and Gear, our specialty lies in designing and crafting the exact components you need to keep your most important mechanical processes up and running. Whether that’s a new custom gear for your legacy agricultural or manufacturing equipment, a timing belt pulley for your favorite classic car, or any one of the other countless needs for high performing mechanical components, we’ve got a solution upon which you can rely.

Get to know more about us, our products, or talk to us about your needs directly by contacting our team today! We look forward to providing you with precision pulleys, done right.