Correct operating tension is an important factor in the satisfactory performance and life of any v-belt or chain drive. As v-belts wear they seat themselves deeper in the sheave grooves. This seating, along with belt stretch lessens the initial tension. The result is slippage and loss in horsepower capacity unless some form of take-up is used to restore and maintain the original tension.
As chains wear they elongate, which results in sway, slap and increased vibration. This puts undue shock into the drive and increases bearing wear. As the chain elongates, it "crawls" out of the sprocket teeth and results in dramatic premature sprocket failure and decreased drive life.
Both v-belt and chain drives wear at an increased rate if they are allowed to run with insufficient tension. Adjustable center distances are the recommended method of maintaining proper tension. In cases of fixed center distances, tensioners and idlers provide the necessary means of take-up. These tensioners and idlers provide a means of obtaining extra belt or chain wrap frequently needed for high ratios, multiple shafts or serpentine drives.
"The installation of the tensioners made air flow improvements of up to 40% on one of the [downdraft tables for the sanding of cabinet doors]. Time will tell, but I think we have a winner on this application." -Bruce Mowatt, Engineer Omega Cabinetry