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Typically,  the need for shaft alignment will be identified from high vibration or thermal data obtained from running equipment, or any time a new installation takes place.
Although there are many methods of measuring misalignment between two shafts, a laser system will help the millwright perform the job accurately and in a timely manner. By definition, shaft alignment means to align two or more rotational centerlines, so that they are colinear at the coupling point under operating conditions.
A laser shaft alignment system should provide the user with an easy user interface. It should allow the user, with a simple rotation of the shafts, to measure the relative misalignment between the rotational centerlines of the shafts.
Laser Alignment
After the misalignment is identified, the laser system should calculate the necessary corrections to bring the machines within the desirable tolerances. The laser system should also help in measuring soft foot on each of the machine feet, by providing an accurate value of the effect the foot has on the bearing alignment within the machine. It should also help to compensate for machine thermal growth or alignment targets provided by the manufacturer or company engineer.
A proper laser shaft alignment system will help reduce labor hours allocated for machine alignment, and provide proper documentation of the work done.

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by Adam Stredel CRL