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Maintenance-Free Fan-Drive Belts Saving University $30,000 in Energy

Bruce T. Halle Library on the campus of Eastern Michigan University (EMU) in Ypsilanti, Mich., has a number of air-handling supply and return fans of varying size and belt configuration. EMU was unable to shut off those fans reliably at night to save energy because of the possibility of the belts being thrown off of their pulleys upon startup. Indeed, belt slip necessitated continual retensioning.

Upon learning of maintenance-free Red Power II V-belts, EMU contacted the manufacturer, Optibelt Corp. Optibelt helped EMU switch from B Section pulleys and belts to 5V Section pulleys and belts on the drives of two supply fans and two return fans.

With Red Power II, the number of belts required and, thus, the overhung load on the bearings was reduced. The savings in energy was significant. A 10-kw reduction, which was well over the 12-percent energy-savings goal, was realized. What was more significant to EMU was the ability to shut down the fans for 10 hr a day, which resulted in more than $30,000 in energy savings. Once another 11 fans are converted, an additional $100,000-plus in savings will be realized.

Also significant were the airflow increases. Cubic-feet-per-minute increases of 20 percent and more were realized just by changing to Red Power II. Because Red Power II requires no maintenance and, in this case, eliminated retensioning, another large dollar savings was realized by EMU.

Red Power II can be applied on 5- to 500-hp units. It can be used to easily convert drives to 3V, 5V, or 8V belt sections. It also is suitable for adverse temperature ranges because it is more resistant to higher temperatures than standard V-belts.

Information and photographs courtesy of Optibelt Corp.
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