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.
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.
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.
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.