When there is a lack of repeatability, or unexpected results are obtained during laser shaft alignment, a simple functionality test can be performed on the alignment tool’s heads to determine if they’re working properly. This can be achieved on a laser-and-sensor system, such as the ROTALIGN® ULTRA IS, or a transducer-and-prism system, such as the SHAFTALIGN® OS3. If the system passes the functionality test, it is most likely working properly. However, this test does not replace an official calibration check.
Perform the following procedure if there is doubt that your laser alignment tool’s heads are not working properly:
- Mount the heads on a piece of stiff pipe about six to ten inches apart. Do not use pipes that are smaller than two inches in diameter. Also, do not use solid shafting or bar-stock. The pipe does not have to be perfectly straight, but its surfaces should be smooth enough for the brackets to be mounted on.
- Enter the dimensions. Use the halfway point between the heads as the coupling center. Set the coupling diameter to ten inches. The remaining dimensions are irrelevant.
- It is ideal to mount the pipe on V-blocks, but this step can be performed with your hands as well: Center the laser beam on the dust cap. Remove the dust cap and take a set of readings while rotating the pipe 360 degrees. The coupling results should be zero or very close to it.
- Repeat this procedure at least four more times. Position the laser at different locations on the detector each time.
It’s as simple as that. If the coupling results are not consistently close to zero, the heads will likely need to be calibrated. We recommend that you have your heads calibrated every two years for optimal performance.