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Transmission Developments (Transdev) has supplied its Brecoflex ATK10 series timing belts with Linatex high-grip bonded backings and matching pulleys for use in a search-and-rescue robot.

Andrew Cowan, a Year 11 scholar at Sutton Grammar School, won a top prize at the recently held finals of the National Science and Engineering Competition for his low-cost, search-and-rescue, radio-controlled robot.

Cowan’s own design brief was to produce a cheaper alternative to existing search-and-rescue robots built for bomb disposal work, which are too expensive for other potential users such as local fire-and-rescue services or earthquake emergency-response teams.

The robot’s equipment complement includes sensors to detect oxygen levels and flammable gases and a special camera system with infrared and normal LED lighting to help locate victims.

An ultrasonic radar system traces a 2D map of the immediate area and the vehicle is equipped with a towing hook to remove large objects such as rubble from the disaster zone.

Transdev worked closely with Cowan and staff at the school as a project sponsor, providing applications expertise as well as the belt and pulley components.

The simplicity of using timing belts with bonded high-friction backings proved a low-cost yet effective solution for the robot’s traction.

Transdev Brecoflex ATK 10 series polyurethane belts feature a central V-guide for guaranteed self- tracking, enabling the use of low-profile flange-less pulleys that do not protrude above the belt line, which was important for the search-and-rescue robot’s tracks.

Used in demanding applications ranging from conveyors to high-speed and high-torque engine power transmission systems, these heavy-duty belts are part of the Brecoflex Power range and include continuous helical tension members with ’S+Z’ twist to further reduce belt run-off and heavy side loads on flanges.

For the robot, a jointed belt was used although endless belt versions are also available.

The natural rubber Linatex belt backing is one of several materials that can be adhesive bonded to Transdev’s range of polyurethane and rubber belts with toothed, vee or flat profiles.

Linatex is often used to restrict slippage of products in conveying systems, but other bonded materials such as Supergrip can provide a ribbed higher friction surface where an incline or diagonal conveyor is used.

Alternative bonded backings are available to provide other surface characteristics such as smooth low-friction facings to allow slippage or highly durable materials where maximum resilience and low wear rates are important.

As well as adhesive bonded techniques, Transdev also offers an in-house vulcanising process using a high-vacuum autoclave that offers a wide range of belt-facing materials with increased resilience and a seam-free bond.

This process is particularly suited to applications with fast reversals to remove any tendency for material delamination.

In addition, extensive in-house machining facilities are available to produce belts with flights, pockets, slots and holes for belt lengths up to 70m and widths to 600mm.

Transmission Developments

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