In general, belt drives are used to transmit power or motion. O-ring belts are used in conjunction with round belt pulleys in order to transmit power across long distances. They have a number of particular power transmission applications, including: printing, commercial sewing, live roller conveying (providing motion power to conveyors like lineshaft conveyors and powered rolling conveyors), vacuuming, serpentine drives, twisted drives and quarter-turn drives.
O-ring belts are named after their circular cross sections, which are made from elastomeric plastic materials, such as rubber, nylon or urethane. Of these, urethane is the most popular. Because they use such stretchable material, o-ring belt drives do not require belt tensioners. In addition, their material makeup makes them stable, resistant to abrasion and cuts, resistant to stress from bends, non-fraying and non-marking. If manufacturers so choose or if you request it, they can alter the material to exhibit a number of different characteristics, such as UV resistance, anti-static behavior, increased oil resistance and different textures. O-rings are also available in FDA/food grade approved varieties. Also, elastomers like urethane are easy to color, so manufacturers can custom color your o-ring belts.
Manufacturers fabricate o-ring belting cross sections in a wide range of lengths and inner diameters, as well as surface hardnesses.
Note that surface hardness may be measured using the Shore durometer scale. You may purchase your o-ring belts as continuous pieces of material, or they may be connected together in a system using glue, staples or other connection hardware. Continuous belt material does tend to be stronger than spliced material. What is best for you depends entirely on your application and the stresses and environment to which it will be subject. To find out more, talk to a reliable belt drive manufacturer, such as one of those we have listed on this directory page.