Improved lumped-parameter model for acoustic monitoring of tension in a timing belt used in automated material handling systems
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Automated Material Handling Systems are practically ubiquitous across industry and many rely on the operation of timing belt drives, which require that the belt be tensioned properly in order to function correctly. A series of experiments was carried out in which the frequency spectrum of acoustic radiation caused by transverse vibrations of a timing belt was used to calculate the belt tension. A lumped-parameter model was developed that considers the geometric complexity of the timing belt's construction by calculating the stiffness of a single belt tooth using commercially-available finite element analysis software. This was used to modify the belt's effective stiffness suggested by the manufacturer. Based on the experimental data, a set of material properties was determined that, when used in the lumped-parameter model, resulted in tension predictions that agreed with the experiment within the 95% confidence intervals of the means.