Reinforced Nylon Replaces Aluminum in Custom Pulley System

winegard-companyIowa-based Winegard Co., a manufacturer of satellite and telecommunications equipment, developed a television reception satellite dish for mounting atop recreational vehicles.  The design requires a system of three uniquely designed custom pulleys that govern the raising, lowering, and rotation of the dish.

The Downside of Aluminum 

Initially, the pulley system had been prototyped in aluminum.  In testing, however, Winegard experienced problems with both the weight and price of the production pulleys. 

Winegard’s design engineers called Torque Transmission, who were gaining notice in the United States for its customizing capability and keen understanding of customer needs and competitive timetables.

Nylon Delivers a Superior Product 

Torque Transmission’s engineers designed a custom drive consisting of three L pitch pulleys with 14-, 32- and 36-teeth – all made to order.


The custom pulleys were injection molded of fiberglass reinforced nylon.  The material and process would yield consistent, repeatable quality with a high value-to-cost ratio.

wineguard pulley 1.jpgThe resulting fiberglass reinforced nylon pulleys are both lighter in weight and lower in cost by 75%.

Further, all three pulleys exhibit consistent high tolerance levels.  They maintain tensile and flexural strength through wide-ranging weather and environmental conditions, and they resist corrosion from road salt, acid rain and other chemicals.

And their performance as a system is enhanced by the natural lubricity inherent in the engineered nylon.

Torque Transmission created the tooling, ran pre-production samples of all three pulleys for final approval, and delivered the first production release to Winegard’s Burlington, Iowa headquarters. 

The solution was achieved in less than five weeks from the approval of the engineering drawings – a deadline from which competing pulley manufacturers shied away.

The Advantages of Nylon Pulleys

wineguard pulley 2.jpgNylon pulleys are a great way to see the advantages of plastics in actions. Some of the benefits of a nylon pulley, rather than an all metal pulley, include:

  • Cost-Effective  
  • High-Quality Construction: Nylon 33% glass fill and metal hub combination
  • Noise Reduction: Smooth quiet operation
  • Lighter weight and therefore less inertia
  • Shock Resistance: Absorbs loads without breaking
  • Lubricity: Nylon provides a natural lubricated surface, nonabrasive to belts, and requires no maintenance
  • Chemical Resistant: Can be used in a variety of environmental conditions
  • Longer Life: life expectancy is equal to or greater than aluminum

One of the biggest advantages of nylon, however, is that nearly any design requirement can be met. As was the case with the custom pulleys we designed for Winegard, nylon pulleys can be easily custom designed to meet a wide range of application requirements.

Learn More!

Are you curious as to how injection-molded thermoplastic components might benefit your design and keep your project under budget? Contact Torque Transmission today to start the collaboration process. Our engineering staff is here to assist you.

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Download the Nylon vs. Metal Pulley Whitepaper


This post was published on March 21, 2017 and updated on May 24, 2019.

Topics: Torque Solutions Pulleys