Benefits of Performing a Rough or Initial Soft Foot in an Overall Alignment Procedure

July 28, 2015

After performing forty Alignment Seminars in 2014, it was brought to my attention that the majority of the Aligners in attendance ignore executing the Rough Soft Foot step in an overall alignment procedure. This step is sometimes referred to as gross soft foot, initial soft foot or rough soft foot.

After Rough alignment and before Final Soft Foot, leave all anchor bolts loose. Check one foot at a time with a .002 shim or feeler gauge for any obvious air gaps. Fill the gaps as needed. This is the time to check for a bent foot or sloped base. Correct this now by step shimming or other temporary acceptable solution.  To correct the problem, re-machine the feet, or base, or both.

Once the Rough Soft Foot step is included in your overall alignment procedure, you will find that Final Soft Foot will be much quicker and easier to get under control and, in many cases, the Final Soft Foot correction will not be an issue at all.


Predictive Maintenance may not be a good thing!

July 21, 2015

Certain technologies have been used for a very long time to identify corrective actions required to keep equipment operational and reliable. Vibration Analysis, Ultrasonic Monitoring, infrared thermography, motor condition evaluation and lubrication analysis are examples of these technologies. Many terms have been used to describe their usage within a facility. One term often used is “Predictive Maintenance”. Unfortunately, this term can be used in the literal sense with dire consequences.

Many facilities mix all of the required ingredients together to create a successful maintenance and reliability program. Regrettably, many others fail in their efforts. Two of the primary elements for success are predictive maintenance and work execution. The predictive maintenance effort may be quite effective at identifying conditional changes in equipment that should be addressed before functional failures occur. Those efforts will not be fruitful if the results are not executed. The predictive maintenance team has to generate work that is planned, scheduled and executed. If the results of their efforts are not executed, then the facility will plainly predict costly failures that will be experienced by the facility. Basically, the effort will shift from “Predictive Maintenance” to “Predictive Failures”.

Make sure your facility is not predicting failures. Make certain the results of the predictive maintenance technologies are executed before conditional changes result in equipment failures.


Infographic: Shaft Alignment in 5 Easy Steps

July 16, 2015

Precision alignment is an essential part of a proactive reliability program as it can eliminate many machine failures and defects. This Infographic outlines an easy and effective way to align your rotating equipment.

5-Step Shaft Alignment Procedure

Download Infographic


When Laser Aligning, Do You Zero at 12 o’ clock Position?

July 14, 2015

A few weeks ago, I was at an engine manufacturing facility, training the technicians on using our ROTALIGN ULTRA IS Laser Alignment System. They were using it to align their engines for proper testing. To begin, the technicians rough-align the engine. To test the engine, they couple it to a gearbox with a 5-foot long spacer coupling. They set up the laser and receiver at 12 o’clock and then turn the shafts clockwise, using Continuous Sweep mode. In one instance, at about 45 degrees of rotation they ran out of measurement range. Due to a combination of the longer separation between laser and receiver, the large misalignment and the small amount of rotation, they were not able to achieve good repeatability.

So I suggested the following solutions:

First, I recommended zeroing the laser at the 12 o’clock position but to start the measurement at around the 10 o’clock position and rotate clockwise. They were able to achieve a rotation of about 85 degrees and obtain great repeatability. The customer’s comment was “We are used to start the measurements at the 12 o’clock position from old dial indicator practices”. It may be convenient to zero the laser in the 12 o’clock position, but you can start taking readings at any rotational position, even with the beam at the edge of the detector range. This way you can maximize the measurement range of your laser alignment system.

Secondly, I suggested that they zero the laser at 12 o’clock and start rotating the shafts while observing on the computer screen in which direction the laser beam is moves on the detector. Stop the shafts and readjust the laser beam as far as possible in the opposite direction to the observed movement. Start taking readings in that position, and again this will maximize the measurement range of the detector and consequently also increase the amount of shaft rotation you can get before running out of range. If you can achieve at least 70 degrees of rotation, you will obtain accurate readings.

I also made a third suggestion: If the misalignment is so bad that you cannot obtain 70 degrees of shaft rotation before you run out of measurement range, no matter how far you initially adjust the beam in the opposite direction to its track, then use “InfiniRange”. This feature is available in the Multipoint measure mode and lets you stop to readjust the beam while taking readings, as often as necessary in order to achieve the necessary rotation to get good readings.

So, keep these ideas in mind and no amount of misalignment will ever stymie you in the field again!

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Equipment Reliability and Condition Monitoring: The Best Bad Idea We’ve Ever Had!

July 7, 2015

What seems like a “great idea” at the moment can often lead to regret and unwanted consequences later. This is true when it comes to equipment reliability and condition monitoring. What “great ideas” can a facility have today that can lead to unwanted reliability consequences later?  Unfortunately, the choices are many!

Determination of condition monitoring intervals can be one of those “great ideas” that is regretted later.

It is possible to apply condition monitoring more often than is actually required to detect conditional changes in equipment, resulting in extra expenses being incurred. Conversely, it is possible to monitor equipment too infrequently for important conditional changes to be noticed on time and failures occur. It can seem like a great idea to base condition monitoring frequencies upon arbitrary intervals, available manpower or some standard sampling frequency (such as 30, 60, 90, 180 days.) Each of these could prove to be an unfortunate decision taken on behalf of your reliability efforts. Make sure your condition monitoring frequencies are based upon the P-F interval. The equipment will usually let you know how often condition monitoring technologies should be applied and the P-F interval is a measurement of that. The appropriate sampling frequency can be determined with some effort and will ensure that you have no reliability regrets later.

Also read our blog called: “How do you set your condition monitoring intervals?

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5 Reasons Why Attending a Conference is Valuable

June 30, 2015

Attendance at professional conferences can be expensive and remove the employee from the workforce for several days. So why allow your employees to attend a professional conference?

  1. The employee is allowed to network with others performing the same job functions. This allows sharing of knowledge and experiences that can be used to make improvements in your company.
  2. The employee will experience new tools, technologies, processes, ideas and standards that can be used for improvements within your company.
  3. The employee can demonstrate their knowledge by doing presentations, participating in subject matter forums, etc., enhancing the reputation of your company.
  4. The employee can generate awareness about your company and its products.
  5. The employee will return with valuable knowledge that can be shared with other employees within your company.

You are cordially invited to visit our booth at these conferences where we will be exhibiting our shaft alignment, pulley alignment, vibration analysis and balancing products.

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