Centering a SOLAR Gas Turbine Shaft with SENSALIGN Laser Technology

January 13, 2015

SOLAR gas turbine centering tool with X-Y tracking

The centering tool for SOLAR TURBINES is based upon shaft travel in the vertical plane. As the top knob is turned, a plunger pushes the shaft from the top position all the way down to the bottom position. The tool allows the technician to count the number of turns of the top knob to determine the amount of travel of the shaft. Upon traversing the full extent of the travel range from top to bottom, the technician then applies only half the number of turns in the opposite direction to return the shaft to the center of its vertical travel range. Performing this task with the ROTALIGN ULTRA laser shaft alignment system allowed this job to be performed much more accurately. The laser/sensor combination takes the centering of the shaft to a new dimension by tracking not only the shaft’s vertical position but its horizontal position as well.

Solar Gas Turbine Shaft

SOLAR TURBINES Shaft Centering Mechanism
with ROTALIGN ULTRA’s SENSALIGN sensor installed on shaft



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Equipment Criticality Ranking Tip

January 6, 2015
It is critical (pun intended) that you have a criticality ranking for your equipment.  This will help you properly direct maintenance and reliability efforts.  It is difficult to have granularity on the actual role equipment plays if the criticality scale is small (1-10).  It is best to use a higher scale with categories that comprise the overall ranking.  For example use a 100-scale with 10 categories and each one being 0-10.
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The 10 P’s of a successful Condition Monitoring program

December 30, 2014

Make sure that these P’s are part of your Condition Monitoring program in 2015:

  1. Proper understanding
  2. Proper employee training
  3. Proper implementation (applying the technology to the correct equipment)
  4. Proper setups (correct monitoring parameters)
  5. Proper monitoring intervals
  6. Proper standards
  7. Proper analysis
  8. Proper reporting
  9. Proper equipment follow-up (after-repair inspections, start-up inspections, etc.)
  10. Proper execution of the results (ensuring that the recommendations of the CM effort are implemented and completed

We look forward to serving your maintenance and reliability needs. Cheers to a Successful Year!

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Understanding the consequences that resonance has on equipment reliability

December 23, 2014

Equipment is being built lighter and cheaper. This means that resonance has become more of a reliability problem with equipment. Most engineers, CM analysts, mechanics and managers are not aware of how resonance may be affecting their equipment. Resonance frequencies will excite any vibration occurring at or near the same frequency. This can include misalignment, unbalance, bearing faults or other defect frequencies. This will cause your equipment to fail more quickly as well as other unwanted effects.

You should to be aware of and document the resonance frequencies affecting your equipment. Many methods can be used to determine the resonance frequencies in your equipment and a good vibration analyzer will have the resources to help you do so. Methods such as an impact test (bump test), negative averaging, startup, coast down, etc. can be used to identify resonance frequencies. Additionally, the vibration analyst should look for signs of resonance-related issues when doing routine equipment analysis. For example, always look at the amplitude ratios between horizontal and vertical vibration measurements. Ratios of 3 to 1 or higher (horizontal versus vertical) are an indication of resonance issues in the equipment being monitored.

What should you do once a resonance problem is known and the unwanted reliability consequences understood? It is important to keep equipment operational speeds away from these critical frequencies by at least 20-30 percent. Actions can be taken to shift these critical frequencies and minimize and/or eliminate their negative effect on your equipment reliability. The primary methods are:

  • Add Mass: Adding mass will lower the resonant frequency.
  • Add Stiffness: Adding stiffness raises the resonant frequency.
  • Damping: Dampens the vibration to keep it from becoming a destructive force

Make sure you understand the consequences that resonance has on your equipment. Not understanding and addressing equipment resonance will lead to unwanted and costly reliability issues.


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Midlands Technical College benefits from shaft and pulley alignment equipment donation

December 16, 2014

LUDECA’s donation of its laser alignment system to Midlands Technical College prepares students for the real world.

Shaft Alignment

  Pulley Alignment

Matthew Lester, an industrial training instructor for Midlands Technical College, was mindful of the good that would come from the donation of equipment from LUDECA, When Midlands Tech finally received the laser alignment systems and equipment, his dream of helping students prepare for their future jobs came true. Read the rest of the blog by Plant Services Magazine.

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Shaft Alignment: Setup Basics

December 9, 2014

You’ve always heard the adage, “Laser on the Stationary and Receiver (or Prism) on the Movable.”  In this day and age, however, this “truism” has become obsolete. You see, the concept of the “stationary” machine, per se, is obsolete. ALL machines CAN be moved if they really need to be (no machine grew out of the ground, like a tree!), so instead we emphasize that the laser should be mounted on the machine that is “more difficult” to move (usually the pump because of the connected piping.)

The flexibility that all ROTALIGN (and OPTALIGN SMART products) offer through their static feet function, as well as the ability to freely flip or rotate the view of the machines to suit your needs, means that you no longer need to concern yourself with “stationary” machines. Your real goal is to find the easiest and most expedient way of aligning your machines. In some cases this may mean moving one pair of feet on the pump just a little to keep from having to move the motor feet a lot.

So, let’s just amend our setup statement a bit: I always say “LLLaser on the LLLeft and RRReceiver on the RRRight!” (or RRReflector, as the case may be.) This will help you to remember and keep your setups consistent. But what if your pump and motor are mounted close beside a wall, and you can only access the machines from one side? As luck would have it, that side is always “the wrong side” as dictated by Murphy’s law, with your pump on the right and the motor on the left, instead of the way you are used to seeing them. No matter! Still mount your laser on the left machine. Now, since the Rotalign and Optalign want to move the right machine by default, you can now employ the “Flip Machines” feature, which will automatically swap the view of your machines left and right, so you can see them the way they really are in the field, and easily move the left machine now, even if you have mounted your laser on it.

Traditional Alignment Setup

If you have two equally hard-to-move machines, each of which you would ordinarily like to consider stationary (such as a heavily piped little steam turbine driving a heavily piped compressor), then it really just boils down to which machine (or combination of feet on both machines) is the most expedient to move. Again, mount the laser on the on the left. You can always use the static feet function to declare the machine on the right stationary and make the machine on the left movable, or ask the tool to make any combination of feet movable so as to find your smallest possible moves or optimal combination of moves to solve bolt-bound or base-bound situations in the field. The ROTALIGN ULTRA products are especially versatile for this, since they let you explore fully optimized centerlines (move ALL the feet in the train), as well as under-constrained and over-constrained centerlines, to cope with the exigencies of the situations you encounter in the field.

Lastly, if you ever need to compare your alignment or your target specs to a drawing or to someone else’s report that shows the machines the other way around from the way you set up, you can always use the Rotate View functionality to look at your results from the other side. You use this feature “after the fact”—in other words, after your setup is already complete, with readings taken and results obtained, you can always rotate the view and see your results as if you had walked around to the other side of the machines.

Original Alignment Results

To summarize, the concept of “stationary” and “movable” is history. Use the Flip View feature right at the beginning, when you set up, to make your setup conform to the actual situation in the field. Use the Static Feet Function to make any machine movable or stationary, and to explore “best possible” correction alternatives. Lastly, use the Rotate View feature to look at your alignment differently, after it’s already done.

Watch Tutorials: ‘Flip Machines’ and ‘Rotate View’ Features
Learn how these features work in the ROTALIGN ULTRA, OPTALIGN SMART and SHAFTALIGN laser shaft alignment systems.

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