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 them 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?
Answer:  Many times a spacer is needed to raise one machine up to meet its counterpart.  Here they used cut steel tubing.  By doing this they changed the shape and surface area of the machine’s load zone creating a soft foot 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 soft foot.  Spacer blocks should be precision machined to properly raise a machine to within 100 thousandths lower than its counterpart.  They should be the same size as the foot or larger.  Download our Shimming Guide for more details.

2. This one should be obvious, what do you think is wrong here?
Answer: Plain and simple, with a proper and full shim kit, one should be able to leave an alignment with 3 or fewer 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. Download our Shimming Guide for more details.

3. Last one… What do you see wrong in this one?
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