Cone crushers are critical pieces for aggregate production, mineral processing operations, and recycling applications. They’re typically a secondary or tertiary rock crusher and produce a fine or medium-sized aggregate material. Since cone crushers have a large feed opening and small discharge sizes, this type of aggregate equipment has a high crushing ratio, making them quite efficient on comminution circuits. The crushed material is less likely to require further crushing after passing through a cone crusher. 

There are two main ways to deliver energy to the crushing chamber. The first and most common is a belt drive system. This system typically has a fixed speed motor, sheaves, and v-belts to deliver crushing power to the mantle. The Blackhawk 100 Cone Crusher is different from a typical rock crusher on the market as it uses a direct drive system, eliminating the need for sheaves and v-belts. 

But which one is right for your aggregate operation?

Belt Drive Cone Crushers

A belt drive cone crusher is the most common type of drive system used for rock crushers and other aggregate equipment. It’s easy to see why – it works! They are a tried and tested solution for a variety of crushing applications. 

Belt drive cone crushers use a fixed speed motor, changing the operating speed requires changing the sheave ratios. This requires some maintenance down-time, which does slow down your operation.

The system requires a tensioning arrangement for the motor to run optimally. Typically belt drive cone crushers are more expensive and time consuming to maintain than their direct drive. Belts can also slip and reduce crushing efficiency. 

Belt drives give operators increased flexibility in where the motor is located. This gives them the ability to install a crusher that can fit into different positions on an aggregate operation. Since they are the most common type of cone crusher, maintenance and service information are quite easy to obtain.


  • This is the most common type of drive system for a rock crusher
  • Information widely available
  • Flexibility in motor location
  • Tried and true


  • More expensive
  • Requires tensioning arrangement for motor
  • Requires sheave changes to alter the speed
  • More maintenance
  • Motor and crusher protection relies on complete belt slippage

Direct Drive Cone Crushers

Direct drive cone crushers, like the Blackhawk 100 Cone Crusher, use a direct drive system. The Blackhawk uses a VFD (variable frequency drive), eliminating the need for sheaves and v-belts. This means speed changes of this rock crusher are quick and easy to make. Removing the v-belt from the system eliminates slippage. Therefore all power is delivered to the crushing chamber. 


  • Less expensive
  • Simple and less routine maintenance
  • All power is delivered to the crushing chamber
  • VFD makes speed changes quick and easy
  • VFD electronically protects the motor and crusher


  • Less flexibility in motor location
  • Less common than other crushing systems
  • Not ideal when motor speeds and equipment speeds are mismatched

Overall, the aggregate processing system you choose is dependent on whether you’re able to use a VFD. If you’re not using a VFD, you’ll need to use a sheave and v-belt system. But, if you have the option of using a VFD for quick speed changes, a direct drive system is a great choice. 

Need More Information?

Our aggregate equipment experts are here to help. Whether you’re looking for a rock crusher or aggregate equipment parts, Sepro Crushing and Screening can deliver the product you need quickly to keep your operation running. Contact our aggregate equipment experts today.