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Take a look at these pictures and see if you can figure out what is wrong with each machine relating to alignment and precision maintenance. These are actual machines we have recently encountered in the field and thankfully we were able to correct before additional damage occurred.
1.  Here is a motor that is turning a fire pump from an alignment recently performed with the Rotalign Ultra iS. Surely we don’t want a fire pump to fail when it’s needed.  How many things can you find wrong in this picture?
motor-firepump
Answer:  Many times a spacer is needed to raise one machine up to meet it’s counterpart.  Here they used cut steel tubing.  By doing this they changed the shape and surface area of the machines load zone creating a softfoot which in turn distorted the motor frame.  This distorted the internal bearing alignment putting a pre-load on the shaft and also affected the air gap between rotor and stator. Another issue was the paint job,  it was done after the alignment was performed.  This is a common error trap that allows paint chips to get in between the shims and feet creating another form of softfoot.   Spacer blocks should be precision machined to properly raise a machine to within 100 thousandths lower than it’s counterpart.  They should be the same size of the foot or larger.  Download our Shimming Guide for more details.
2. This one should be obvious, what do you think is wrong here?
too-many-shims
Answer: Plain and simple, with a proper and full shim kit, one should be able to leave an alignment with 3 or less shims under each foot.  Every time another shim is added another air gap is created where oil, dirt, rust and other materials can be lodged creating a soft foot.  In this example, you can also see different sized shims being used and a strange gap directly under the foot.  It’s not pictured but the last aligner used a thick washer to help with the alignment.  Always use a micrometer to double-check the thickness of your shim correction.  See the Shimming Guide for more details on proper shimming.
3. Last one… What do you see wrong in this one?
shimming-guide-photo
Answer: This one is an excerpt from our Shimming Guide, download it now and see the answer in full detail.
Thanks to Deron Jozokos with Shoreline Reliability, our solutions provider for New England and Eastern New York, for this great post.
 

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by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL