Heat-Resistant Exhaust-Fan Drive Belt Enjoying Long Life for Chicago Eatery

With multiple locations in the Chicago metropolitan area, Portillo's serves up world-famous Chicago-style hot dogs. The restaurants are a mix of remodeled fast-food-franchise locations and new-construction buildings — usually, two stories, with open areas in the dinning room extending to the roof. The HVAC systems include many small exhaust fans using fractional-horsepower motors and belt drives.

For one fan located in the heat stream of the exhaust plenum of a cooking unit, belt life was only three to four weeks. After trying many types of belts from many manufacturers with no noticeable gain in belt life, Portillo's contractor was introduced to Optibelt's latest special-recipe stock belt, HVAC Power.

HVAC Power is made of a heat-resistant rubber that increases flexibility without sacrificing fatigue-bending life. The belt's wrapping allows the belt to wind around the smallest variable-pitch pulleys. Internal tests of the cord structure show little to no stretching over the belt's lifetime; thus, retensioning of the belt after initial run-in periods is not necessary.

Optibelt's field engineers assisted the contractor in installing the belt on the drive. Proper tensioning and alignment was ensured with the use of Optibelt's CAP 10.12 drive calculation program, TT Mini frequency tension tester, Optikrik belt-tension gauge, and laser alignment tools.

Through 10 months, the belt has not required replacement, retensioning, or attention from a mechanic. This has eliminated many extra visits by the contractor and allowed the restaurant to continue full operation.

Information and photographs courtesy of Optibelt Corp.

For Design Solutions author guidelines, call Scott Arnold, executive editor, at 216-931-9980, or write to him at [email protected].

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