Timing Belt | Advantages, Disadvantages, Applications [with Pictures]

By | August 8, 2018

Before jumping directly into timing belts (also known as toothed belt) lets us learn some common methods used for power transfer. We will understand pros and cons of each and then we will move to timing belt. In this way we will have proper understanding of timing belt.

Let’s start

Motion generation and its application at a suitable place is a very important part of machines.

Do not got the point.

Let’s understand with an example.

For example, in a simple lathe machine where the electrical power is converted into rotary motion and that motion is transferred to different points of machine where it is required.

Power transfer is a very important and crucial step in any machine.

Some common power transfer modes are


For power transmission from one shaft to another shaft which are very near to each other we use gears.

Transfer of power from one shaft to other shaft with the help of gears gives us accurate motions and high-power transfer efficiency.

But there is a fundamental problem with the gears and that gears are costly. For the shafts which are considerably apart gears are not suitable.

Another important method of power transmission is


Rope is suitable for power transfer between shafts which are some distance apart in some case it can be 30 to 40 meters.

Advantage of rope is that it is very cheap. But there is a problem with the ropes they are not efficient in power transfer because of problem of slipping. It creates inaccuracy in motion transfer.

To provide a solution of above two modes of motion transfers we have a solution and that is


Belts are used where the distance between the rotating shaft is beyond the reach of gears but much below the reach of belts. Practically between 5 to 10 meters.

Belts are cheap as compared to gears but costly when compared to gears.

Motion transfer with belt is more accurate then ropes but not as accurate as gears.

The problem is same as rope and that is slip.

Simple belts too are not able to solve our problem of transferring motion to the shafts which are some considerable distance apart.

At this point of time we have a solution and that solution is amalgamation of some properties of gears and some of belts.

Timing belts carry accuracy of gears and cheapness of belts that too for shafts which are some distance apart.

So, what is timing belt.

Timing belt

Timing belt is generally taken as a sub-type of belts.

Timing Belt

Timing Belt

Attribution: Terabass [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons

As we can see in above picture it contains teeth like gears which provides positive engagement with the pulley.

Timing belts are used with special types of toothed pulleys which are specially designed for a particular timing belt.

A timing belt provides accurate rotary motion.

A timing belt got its name from from its ability to transfer motion at the exact preset timing.

Timing belt application

Timing belt application

Referrel link: https://www.maxpixel.net/4-stroke-Motorcycle-Engine-Italian-Monster-Ducati-3493229, licence: CC0 Public Domain

Advantages of timing belt

  1. Delivers precise motion with accurate timing
  2. Almost no vibrations produced
  3. No slip problem
  4. No noise generation which transferring g power
  5. Very high mechanical efficiency up to 98%
  6. No need of lubrication as compared with gears
  7. Very cheap as compared to gears
  8. No problem of rusting or corrosion
  9. Weight is less
  10. Safe to use

Disadvantages of timing belt

  1. Costly when compared to ropes
  2. Power transfer capacity is comparatively less
  3. Can be used be power transfer to less distance than ropes

Applications of timing belt

  1. Timing belts are used with encoders where angular position of shaft is measured
  2. Timing bets are used in cars, treadmills, sewing machines

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