This paper experimentally investigates the parametric instability of an industrial axially moving belt subjected to multifrequency excitation. Based on the equations of motion, an analytical perturbation analysis is achieved to identify instabilities. The second part deals with an experimental setup that subjects a moving belt to multifrequency parametric excitation. A data acquisition technique using optical encoders and based on the angular sampling method is used with success for the first time on a nonsynchronous belt transmission. Transmission error between pulleys, pulley/belt slip, and tension fluctuation are deduced from pulley rotation angle measurements. Experimental results validate the theoretical analysis. Of particular note is that the instability regions are shifted to lower frequencies than the classical ones due to the multifrequency excitation. This experiment also demonstrates nonuniform belt characteristics (longitudinal stiffness and friction coefficient) along the belt length that are unexpected sources of excitation. These variations are shown to be sources of parametric instability.

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