At a mine in Texas unacceptably high vibration levels and high bearing temperatures were being observed on an 1800 RPM Marathon electric motor coupled to a Lufkin gearbox needed to drive the world’s second longest conveyor system (21 miles). Good shaft alignment is crucial. Obviously the alignment has to be done uncoupled since the gearbox shaft cannot be rotated manually. Alignment was originally attempted with dial indicators; however,  the shaft and coupling surfaces where the indicators could mount were not in the best condition and this was causing significant repeatability problems with the alignment readings.
Uncoupled Alignment

Fig 1: Rotalign mounted on uncoupled shafts

Their main issue was that the gearbox could not be rotated by hand. We suggested to the customer that he use a ROTALIGN ULTRA system,  taking advantage of the Pass Mode measurement capability. The customer purchased the ROTALIGN ULTRA and a specially designed ALI 2.230 magnetic sliding bracket. Readings were taken in pass mode as suggested. In this mode, hundreds of readings are taken at many different shaft rotational positions, hence improving the chances of getting repeatable readings. The excellent repeatability obtained can be seen in the ROTALIGN’s Measurement table in Figure 2 below.
Uncoupled Alignment Measurement Table

Fig. 2: ROTALIGN Measurement Table

Another huge advantage of using the ROTALIGN ULTRA in the Pass Mode mode is that thanks to the standard deviation value obtained from the readings a very clear picture emerges of the quality of the data obtained while taking the readings. Any rogue measurements caused by surface imperfections in the gearbox coupling can be eliminated without compromising otherwise good data. The ROTALIGN ULTRA’s Technical Note # 12 – for Non- Rotating Shafts was provided to the customer to better guide the process.
Accurate readings were obtained quickly and efficiently, resulting in many man-hours saved on this critical alignment job. By achieving good alignment the customer was able to solve both the vibration and bearing temperatures issues and was henceforth able to move the desired amount of coal from the mine to the power plant 21 miles away.

by Pedro Casanova CRL

Happy to share two great articles by MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY Magazine about The Importance of Shaft Alignment and Precision Shaft Alignment For Improved Uptime:

  1. The Importance of Motor Shaft Alignment
  2. Motor Shaft Alignment For Improved Uptime

Download featured Why Alignment


by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

PUMPS & SYSTEMS • September 2014
Revisiting the fundamentals of data examination,  time and resolution can solve equipment issues before they happen.
Inexperienced vibration analysts encounter a common problem: They are often expected to learn too much, too fast. Instead of taking time to appropriately understand the basics, new analysts must often move directly to a busy schedule of collection and analysis without much apprenticeship. Training is almost always in a group setting, and instructors often move too quickly through the material. The facts are learned well enough for an analyst-level exam, but an in-depth understanding is often taken for granted.
Accurate vibration analysis requires complete clarity on foundational subjects. Real-world applications demand more of young analysts than what they can learn in group training. Facility operations depend on a whole picture of how their equipment moves and where energy is used—and lost.
Read my entire article The Basics of Spectral Resolution for Motor Vibration Analysis

by Mike Fitch CRL

Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • AUGUST 2014
If you operate a vessel,  its machinery, without a doubt, will require alignment many times during the course of its life. When misalignment is present components will be worn, efficiency will be lost, and, if left uncorrected, mechanical failures are imminent. This translates into a strain on mechanical systems, your budget and your peace of mind.
When speaking of alignment in marine applications, it is usually shaft alignment that is being referenced…
Read the entire article Laser Alignment – Keeping Your Machinery in Line to Maximize your Bottom Line by our client AME Solutions featuring our ROTALIGN ULTRA laser alignment system

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

Recently,  while visiting the West Coast, I had an opportunity to get involved in an alignment with Mr. Roy Loop from The Rueck Company on a tug boat being built on the Columbia River near Portland, OR. This tug will be put into service halfway around the world where it will be towing and docking ships into and out of ports. A failure in this remote location would make repairs extremely expensive for the owner, not only due to its service location, but because of lost revenue from the vessel being out of service.
Tug Boat
Knowing this, the tug boat’s owner wanted to verify the alignment of the drive lines (both port & starboard) to ensure they were within the required alignment tolerances before putting the vessel into service.
Dimensions Setup
Interesting about this application is that the drive shaft goes through a bulkhead so there is no line-of-sight between the Z-drive and the diesel engine. In the image below you can see the bulkhead. The diesel engine is on the other side of this bulkhead. In this picture, we are setting up the receiver on a 17-foot jack shaft.
Jackshaft alignment
Rotalign Ultra
Fortunately, we had a ROTALIGN ULTRA iS Laser System (with Expert level firmware). This firmware gave us the capability to set up multiple laser heads on all of the drive train components and thereby measure the entire machine train with just one rotation. Despite the fact that two sets of lasers and receivers were on the other side of the bulkhead, we could still establish communication via the powerful Bluetooth module built in to the laser equipment. The ROTALIGN ULTRA iS is the only system on the market that is capable of performing this alignment measurement across multiple couplings simultaneously with just one rotation of the drive line. In order to rotate the shafts, the drive train typically needs to be cranked by hand using a ratchet on the diesel’s flywheel. This is extremely tiring, time consuming and difficult to do. If you had to “crank” the diesel for each of the four couplings one at a time, the job might take several hours just to take the readings. With this alignment set-up, we were able to use the ROTALIGN’s unique Continuous Sweep measurement mode, so there was no need to stop and start at any specific measurement location.
Three sets of readings were taken to verify repeatability using the ROTALIGN’s unique measurement table. This measurement table allowed us to view each of the coupling’s three readings in a table to verify repeatability and (if desired) average these readings together. Each set of readings was accomplished with just a single turn of the shafts with less than 100 degrees rotation. The entire alignment data collection process (all three sets of readings) was accomplished in just a few minutes.
Laser Receiver alignment setup
When making live moves/corrections, the ROTALIGN ULTRA iS Expert allowed us to see the alignment condition at each coupling simultaneously in real time for both the Vertical and Horizontal directions. This is another unique capability which is extremely important, since, when one component of the drive train is moved, it affects the alignment condition at the other couplings. Having this capability is a huge time saver, reducing the job sometimes from days to just hours.
AS FOUND results:
As LEFT results:
The alignment tolerances from the coupling manufacturer were given in degrees of angularity rather than as gap differences at the coupling. To verify that the alignment was within the coupling manufacturer’s tolerances, the Rotalign Ultra allowed us to instantly convert the measured alignment condition to display the angle in degrees rather than as a gap. Below is the final reading in degrees:
The alignment was accomplished within alignment specifications, as shown by the smiley faces. The ship’s owner was confident that alignment would not be an issue and gave the green light to put the tug into service.

by Frank Seidenthal CRL

A microchip manufacturer in the United States utilizes circular aluminum plates approximately 2 to 3 feet in diameter in the manufacturing process. These plates are heated from ambient temperature to +400 degrees F. The manufacturer wanted to ascertain if any distortion would exist across the surface of these plates when hot,  and if any differences in the flatness of the paste would occur between the cold and hot condition of the plates.
To measure this accurately, a ROTALIGN ULTRA iS with LEVALIGN EXPERT flatness option was used. The customer fabricated a steel jig to go over the aluminum plate. The jig was insulated from the bottom (see Figure 1.)
Fig 1 Steel Fixture

Fig. 1: Steel fixture with insulation placed over Circular Aluminum plates

9mm holes +0.002″ were pre-drilled through the steel jig to allow the Levalign plunger bracket to fit freely yet snugly through the holes and make contact with the aluminum plate underneath. A standard circular measurement pattern was selected. The ROTALIGN ULTRA iS sensor was mounted on the plunger bracket to obtain the readings (see Figure 2.)

Fig. 2: ROTALIGN ULTRA iS sensor mounted on LEVALIGN flatness plunger bracket through holes in steel jig

All readings were repeated to within 0.0001″ and fell within 0.0001” of what the customer thought they were. A thermal expansion of 0.020″ was measured from hot to cold, although the plate remained flat to ±0.002”. Figure 3 shows the measurements being performed.


Fig. 3: LEVALIGN EXPERT on left and ROTALIGN ULTRA iS sensor during measurements

Although the original method used to perform these measurements was not disclosed to us, the customer did tell us that the ROTALIGN ULTRA iS with LEVALIGN EXPERT saved them many hours in the measurement process, and although no dollar savings from this process were mentioned, the customer immediately purchased the ROTALIGN ULTRA iS with LEVALIGN EXPERT , without hesitation.

by Steve Lochard CR

New portable and online-monitoring systems help extend the value of vibration monitoring into the heaviest of industrial operations. Here’s a look at how users avoided serious motor failure in mining and detected a critical bearing failure in paper-pulp production by using the right vibration products at the right moment.
Case Study #1:
A Phosphate mine is garnering big returns by monitoring numerous pieces of processing equipment with online solutions from LUDECA. The mills use several low-cost VIBNODE online systems. The VIBNODE is a comprehensive entry-level online monitoring system that allows the end-user to access customized spectrums and time waveforms from a remote location. The system will notify the end-user via email or text message when the vibration level exceeds an alarm band.
The new monitoring system has helped the mine’s vibration group catch several problems with a newly rebuilt drive motor. The waveform showed a fuzzy amplitude modulation that increased and decreased with every RPM. A look at the acceleration spectrum indicated a large amount of high-frequency noise well over 1g. Upon inspection,  several internal retaining bolts were found to be backing out and contacting the frame of the motor rotor. The bolts were tightened to torque specifications,  which was believed to have solved the problem. A week later, however, the problem reemerged as the bolts had once again backed out and began to rub. The bolts were again torqued to specification, but this time with an application of threadlocker, which held the bolts in place.
Had this problem not been identified by the fuzzy waveform and a high-frequency acceleration band alarm from the VIBNODE system, the errant bolts would have quickly eaten into the motor rotor and caused a catastrophic motor failure. The motor rebuild or replacement is valued at well over $100,000. And losses to production would have been many more times this amount.
Case Study #2:
Low-speed equipment turning below 40 RPM is often difficult to analyze because of the low energy it produces. If there is not much energy, there is often not much to see. For this reason, the dynamic range of a vibration analyzer/data collector and its signal-processing quality become critical for low-speed machine analysis. Recently, a pulp mill using a VIBXPERT analyzer from Ludeca took a spectrum and time waveform on a slow-speed 35 RPM roll. The VIBXPERT is a portable, lightweight, 2-channel, FFT data collector/vibration analyzer for monitoring and diagnosis of machine conditions. As a data collector, VIBXPERT records all forms of machine vibrations, bearing conditions, process data and visual-inspection information.
Because of the dynamic range of the VIBXPERT, the mill’s maintenance technicians were able to see a repeating pattern in the time waveform. The recurring pattern was present for every RPM, and would increase slightly, then disappear for about three-quarters of the roll’s revolution. A delta cursor was placed on the repeating pattern and the source frequency was 420 CPM. This worked out to be the frequency of the inner race. A 25,000-line spectrum was also collected with a bandwidth of 7.5 CPM per line of resolution. The amplitude was very low below 0.0008 inches per second, yet a definite harmonic pattern appeared. The main harmonic pattern was at 420 CPM, with each peak having another underlying pattern of 35 CPM sidebands. The frequencies represented the inner race and roll RPM. Had this data been taken using a conventional spectrum with a resolution of 6400 lines or even 12,800 lines, this low-frequency/low-energy event would have looked like a spectrum ski slope and been ignored.
Upon removal of the bearing, a crack in the inner race was plainly visible. There was evidence the inner race had begun to walk around the shaft. If the bearing had been left in service it would have damaged the shaft and required that both the shaft and bearing be replaced. Instead, only a minimal two-hour shutdown was required to replace the bearing. Thanks to early detection, the cost of replacing a roll was averted, as well as saving the eight or more hours of lost production that a roll replacement would have required.

by Greg Lee

Recently our customer,  Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD),  shared with us their successful findings with OPTALIGN SMART. Their Maintenance Department utilizes a variety of predictive technologies and preventive strategies to support their mission of improving equipment reliability and reducing downtime. They are committed to extending the life cycles of their assets with their already established laser alignment program.
Their recent analysis started when their Maintenance Crew Leader downloaded and interpreted the alignment test results. Planned scheduled follow-up work orders, baseline testing, realignment and retesting revealed that one of their pumps showed excessive shaft misalignment between the pump and motor in both the horizontal and vertical planes. As-found test results showed the equipment out of vertical alignment by 11.4 thousandths, and horizontal alignment off by 19.3 thousandths. Maintenance staff proceeded to generate a follow-up work order to realign the pump and motor.
Follow-up Actions:
Plant Maintenance Workers uncoupled and realigned the components, using jacking lugs and shims to correct the misalignment. After realignment work was completed, they installed a new coupling and performed follow-up retesting with the OPTALIGN SMART tool, verifying that the components had been aligned within required specifications.
They have now proven that equipment misalignment will cause mechanical seal failure and premature bearing wear, resulting in equipment failure and unexpected downtime. By testing and aligning equipment proactively, MSD Maintenance personnel were able to identify and correct misalignment problems before irreversible damage occured and assets would have had to be replaced. The total work order cost for testing and realigning this asset was $154.70. The purchase price of a new pump of this type is $2,456.00, resulting in a minimum cost avoidance of $2,301.30, not including labor costs to remove and reinstall the equipment.
Special thanks to our friends at Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati for sharing their success with us and reminding us once again that there are just No Excuses for Misalignment.

OPTALIGN SMART Graphical Coupling Results
Graphical test results from the OPTALIGN SMART laser alignment tool, showing the “as found” misalignment condition of the pump, and the “as left” condition after the components had been aligned correctly.


by Yolanda Lopez

I am often asked, What tools and equipment does a millwright team need to do shaft alignment? Beyond the obvious safety equipment, such as hearing protection, steel-toe shoes, work gloves, hard hat, safety glasses and fire retardant clothing, some of the other essential equipment is not so obvious. So here’s a little list, with commentary, based on nearly 30 years of field experience:

  1. Laser Shaft Alignment System
  2. Precut Stainless Steel Shims
  3. Shears, Flat File and Ball-Peen Hammer
  4. Pancake Jacks and Pry Bars
  5. Inside and Outside Micrometers
  6. Set of Feeler Gauges
  7. Torque Wrench with Crow’s Foot Adapter
  8. Dead Blow Hammer
  9. Flashlight
  10. Pi Tape
  11. White Correction Fluid and Scribe
  12. Cotton Rags
  13. Dry Spray Solvent and a Can of Compressed Air
  14. 50-Foot Extension Cord with Triple Tap
  15. Sturdy Folding Work Table and Chair

Download my entire UPTIME MAGAZINE article Equipping a Field Service Team to do Shaft Alignment

by Alan Luedeking CRL CMRP

A few weeks ago,  I was doing training at an engine overhaul shop in the Midwest. They had just purchased a CENTRALIGN ULTRA STANDARD system to perform bore alignment checks, before reassembly of each engine (see Figure 1.) After showing the mechanics how to set up the laser and take measurements on the first bore (the one furthest from the laser, as recommended), they were eager to take over and measure the bores themselves. Before purchasing the CENTRALIGN system, they were using piano wire as their alignment tool. Now it’s a much faster and more reliable process with our laser system.
Bore Measurement Laser Setup
We shot the laser beam roughly through the center of all bores to create a point of reference for each bore. Next, we measured each of the bores to obtain the position of each bore with respect to the laser line. With the ability to take as many points per bore as we did, we were also able to tell if each bore was out of round. We took at least eight points along the surface of each bore, and then re-measured the entire engine to establish repeatability. The mechanics were amazed at how easy it was to measure with a laser, in comparison to the painstaking and difficult piano wire method.
After measuring each bore, I showed them how to look at the quality factor (see Figure 2.) Seeing that they could improve their quality by taking more points, they were able to improve their measurement process. By time they were on the last bore (the one nearest the laser emitter), the quality of their readings was near 100%. Finally, the bores at each end were fixed in the firmware to establish a reference line for the rest of the bores.

Bore Measurement Quality
Fig. 2: Quality factors

The centerline position of each bore in the engine could now be established with respect to this line (see Figure 3.)
Bore Measurement Results
Fig. 3: Bore alignment results through two fixed points

Another interesting feature of the Centralign is that the bore alignment can be optimized to a centerline that minimizes the misalignment of the entire bore train, rather than arbitrarily establishing a reference line through any two of them. Another feature allows one to see a differential view of the alignment, which establishes the misalignment of any individual bore to a reference line formed by its two adjacent neighbors. This often saves unnecessary correction or milling work if it can be seen that the misalignment of any one bore is not too great with respect to its nearest neighbors—a very handy feature.
The mechanics were happy with the results obtained as these matched the readings they had taken with the piano wire. At the end of the training, one gentleman exclaimed, “I won’t ever use piano wire again!”

by Adam Stredel CRL

While aligning a Flowserve Booster Pump in Arkansas,  the attempted alignment corrections proved unrepeatable and inconsistent. The centerline of the pump shifted from too high to too low and from too far to the right to too far left. I thought this might be a symptom of pipe stress and suggested to the customer that I check for it. Upon loosening the hold-down bolts,  I noticed that piping lifted the pump right off the base.

Pipe Stress
Figure 1 – Pipe Misalignment

I was authorized to disconnect the piping from the pump. Figure 1 shows that at its worst one pipe was one inch out horizontally and about one and a half inches vertically, and angled to the pump.
We aligned the pump without the pipes connected. The customer was advised to redesign the pipe hangers to provide more support to the piping and reduce the stress on the pump.
It is imperative that once the pipefitting is complete and the piping is reattached to the pump, the alignment and pipe stress measurement with the laser will have to be checked once more.

by Carlos Bienes CRL

I recently visited a power plant in the Caribbean to perform vibration analysis services. As I discussed the agenda with my point of contact,  I asked for a walk-through of his facility. I was a bit surprised to see the amount of rotating equipment present in such a small area. But in particular I was surprised to hear a lot of loud noise coming from several different auxiliary machines. Even though I had my PPE gear on, I still heard a very large pitching type noise.
As I found that noise rather high and annoying, I asked my point of contact the particulars of this motor pump assembly. The pump has been in service for a quite a while and they recently replaced the bearings and couplings. I asked what type of method they were using to align their equipment and the answer was straight edge and dial indicator, but that the coupling and pump bearings were new.
Motor pump assembly
I took the opportunity to get my VIBXPERT II vibration analyzer out and collect data on that particular machine first. To no surprise, the data showed severe misalignment across the coupling. I reconfirmed the data using phase analysis. I noticed while doing this that the pump was hot. After viewing the data on the analyzer I asked the customer if they had thermal growth specifications for that machine. He was unaware of them having any such data for the pump. I advised him that there are systems out there which could not only perform the alignment but they could also measure the amount of dynamic movement that occurs on a machine, a true cold to hot or hot to cold measurement.
The following day the customer was able to bring the machine down for a few minutes and we mounted a ROTALIGN ULTRA IS laser alignment system and took alignment readings. Within seconds we confirmed that machines were severely misaligned, as had been indicated by the VIBXPERT. Next we installed LiveTrend brackets and ran the machine for approximately 45 minutes, and as expected they showed a rather large positional change as they ramped up. The customer was not only able to see the misalignment using vibration technology but also found a solution to his reliability problems. The overstocking of couplings and bearings could now be reduced with the true and accurate data obtained from the laser alignment system and vibration data collector and analyzer.

by Alex Nino CRL

By Deron Jozokos with Shoreline Reliability,  LUDECA solutions provider for New England and Eastern New York
I recently helped a customer with an alignment issue they were having on a pump-gearbox-motor machine train.  The problem was that although the machines were aligned within spec,  after a short period of runtime the 16, 500 HP motor shaft began shuttling in and out, or “hunting” for magnetic center, creating a fear that the coupling would break under the tremendous forces acting on it.  This would in turn shut down the nuclear plant, costing millions of dollars in lost production.  One theory was that the rotor was not level causing it slide downhill while magnetic forces were drawing it back uphill.  With just a short window of time the site engineers wanted to level the motor shaft without losing the excellent alignment tolerances.
pump-gearbox-motor machine train
To save time, we measured both machine train couplings simultaneously using the ROTALIGN ULTRA’s multi-coupling expert level feature. We then used the INCLINEO system to measure the angle of the motor shaft with respect to gravity.  We verified that the train alignment was still within excellent tolerances (See the ‘As-Found’ condition below) and measured a motor shaft angle of 0.489mils/inch.
As found
Since a hydraulic torque wrench was needed to loosen the 10 total bolts, it was imperative that number of alignment corrections be reduced to the fewest possible, preferably just one.  Using the measured rotor angle of 0.489mils/inch, we calculated the correction at each foot that would level the shaft and keep the alignment within excellent tolerances.  We input the calculations into the Move Simulator on the ROTALIGN ULTRA to verify our calculations then proceeded with the actual shim corrections.
Alignment and levelness
We monitored the alignment and the shaft angle in real time with both tools and were able to get the leveling and alignment completed all in a single move (See ‘As Left’ condition below.)
As Left
The millwrights worked as an experienced and organized team and got the shim corrections done quickly and safely.  We finished the job in 1/4 the time allotted and the plant was able to ramp back up to 100% much sooner than planned. Furthermore, the plant reported that the shaft shuttling has stopped.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

As Published by BIC Magazine December 2013 issue
“LUDECA’s staff is always cheerful,  friendly, professional and extremely knowledgeable. Without a doubt, LUDECA provides the greatest service and products.” — A training professional at a fertilizer company
For those companies considering laser alignment, LUDECA Inc. is offering the “why” and “who” to help you make an informed decision.
Why laser alignment? There are three main benefits of precision alignment:

  • Reduced energy consumption: Significant power savings can be made through accurate alignment. Precise alignment eliminates reaction forces and reduces energy consumption by 10 percent.
  • Reduced incidence of repairs: Mechanical seal repairs decline by up to 65 percent when precision alignment is carried out on a regular basis.
  • Longer machine life: The smaller the offset misalignment, the greater the expected bearing life cycle.

Why LUDECA? There are three main benefits of “The LUDECA difference”:

  • Industry leading systems and services: LUDECA is a leading supplier of laser shaft and geometric alignment systems, laser sheave alignment tools, and vibration and condition monitoring systems to industry.
  • Expert on-site and off-site training: Identifying and correcting high vibration, misalignment and unbalance, and what causes a bearing to fail prematurely is valuable knowledge for your employees, saving you money in the long run.
  • Free product and application support: LUDECA offers the highest quality system at the most affordable price — and with no additional support agreements — when compared to others.

“After attending a training course at LUDECA and witnessing the passion they have for their products and services, it was very clear to me they were leaders in their industry,” said a training professional at a fertilizer company. “I began to use their products in the 1990s with great success.
“I rely on LUDECA to provide the most accurate instruments and great technical support. I have called on them on weekends, nights and holidays and have received the finest responses. Other companies have to think about the request and get back to you with an answer. LUDECA always has an immediate answer when a request is made.”
With LUDECA, the training professional feels like he is getting more than he pays for.
“LUDECA’s pricing is very competitive, and I know their products perform with excellent precision,” he said. “At one of our sites, a laser alignment system was purchased from another company and it stayed in the closet most of the time as it would not function, giving the mechanics headaches. With LUDECA, I know I am receiving the best.”
“Our customers are our No. 1 priority, and they understand we will take care of them,” said Frank Seidenthal, president, LUDECA. “We want to make an emotional connection with our clients. It isn’t just the product purchase. We are here for anything they need after the purchase.”

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

UPTIME • December 2013/January 2014
AES Southland provides power to Southern California from a multitude of power resources. In 1998,  AES Southland acquired the Alamitos natural gas power plant from Southern California Edison. Since that time,  AES has undertaken a number of programs to modernize the generating station and improve the reliability of the Alamitos facility.
In 2010, AES Alamitos’ Units 3 & 4 boiler circulating pumps and Units 5 & 6 exciters were identified as having reliability issues. These machines were never equipped with vibration probes and only the metal temperatures of the exciter pedestal bearing and common lube oil drains were monitored by the control room recorders. Due to low cost of implementation and OMNITREND software compatibility, it was decided to purchase and install a VIBNODE monitoring system to improve the reliability of the AES Alamitos Units 3 & 4 boiler circulating pumps and the Units 5 & 6 exciters.
Download entire article RETROFIT MONITORING WITH BIG PAYOFF RESULTS by Jim Cerda and Greg Lee.

by Greg Lee

Management’s decisions are major factors in the success of most efforts around a facility,  including the ensuring of equipment health and uptime. The wrong ones can erect obstacles. How does your management team stack up?
Management is responsible for ensuring that a facility performs in line with certain safety,  operational, maintenance, environmental, competitive and financial goals. Even on a good day, this can be daunting task. Every cost-effective resource available should be leveraged to achieve those goals. Condition monitoring (CM) is one such resource.   Management teams have, unfortunately, been known to make some mistakes when attempting to implement successful condition-monitoring programs. Understanding those mistakes is key to a site capturing the returns that it seeks from its CM efforts. Thus, it’s important to beware of the following situations.
Mistake #1: Failure to plan and execute correctly
Mistake #2: Failure to support adequate training
Mistake #3: Failure to use technology appropriately
Mistake #4: Failure to commit to full-time CM personnel
Mistake #5: Failure to create widespread awareness
Mistake #6: Failure to effectively integrate data
Mistake #7: Failure to create standards
Mistake #8: Failure to create sufficient collection schedules
Mistake #9: Failure to be proactive
Mistake #10: Failure to properly apply CM technologies
Read my entire article Condition-Monitoring: 10 Common Management Mistakes

by Trent Phillips

UPTIME • October/November 2013
“Many different tools have been used over the years to detect changes in machinery condition. The human hand,  eye,  and ear have been the oldest tools used to detect conditional changes in machines. It is important to understand the value and limitations of our human senses.”
Most machines give some indication that a potential component failure is about to occur that will lead to a functional failure.  Our goal should be to identify, monitor and correct components that are failing before they create a functional failure that will prevent the machine from performing as intended.  Condition Monitoring is a primary tool used for this process.  For example, a bearing defect is an example of a potential failure.  The bearing would be monitored for degradation and replaced before it completely fails, preventing the machine from performing its intended function (functional failure.)
It could be argued that God created the first condition monitoring instrument when he created man.  Our main senses are touch, sound, sight, taste and smell.  Additionally, humans have other senses that can detect balance, heat, pain, etc.  All of these senses can provide very valuable data about the environment around us and the equipment we work with each day.  Therefore, the human being is the first CM instrument to be used—versatile in application and proven to be very a beneficial tool.
Download my entire article Moving Beyond our Human Senses

by Trent Phillips

How to Balance Rigid Rotors

If you want to find the secrets of the universe,  think in terms of energy,  frequency and vibration.” ? Nikola Tesla

Could Tesla’s secret be the energy wasted due to vibration at a frequency equal to shaft speed all caused by rotor unbalance?
Balanced rotors are critical for achieving production and profit goals. Unbalance creates high vibration, which leads to other faults resulting in decreased machine life, wasted energy and reduced efficiency. Smooth-running machines are required for producing products that meet customer specifications. The IOSR Journal of Mechanical and Civil Engineering states that rotor unbalance is the major cause of vibration problems. A good balancing process is essential for successful physical asset management.
Read my entire article Field Balancing Rigid Rotors at Reliable Plant.

by Bill Hillman CMRP

Simple Defect Elimination
PUMPS & SYSTEMS • July 2013
Defect elimination is a simple maintenance strategy with seemingly obvious value. However,  how many facilities pursue it to the greatest degree of value? According to Webster’s online,  a defect is “an imperfection that impairs worth or utility.”
The “utility” part of the definition is significant because every process industry professional focuses on uptime. If a machine has a defect, but it still works (still makes widgets) and that machine imparts defects into the widgets, the worth of that widget is reduced. Or if the machine still works, but production is slowed, the number of widgets produced over time is reduced. The worth of widgets sold is also reduced.
Defects cost money. If end users candidly investigate, they may see that they are investing money in keeping their defects. How? Money lost because the widgets are being sold at a reduced price or because the maximum number of widgets were not manufactured because of slowed production or downtime is money invested in keeping defects. Even worse, some operators are on long-term payment plans for their equipment, so they continue to invest in the same defects year after year.
The second part of the definition is elimination. According to Webster, eliminate means to put an end to or get rid of. The absence of defect also means the absence of the investment required to sustain the defect. An asset that is free of defects is an asset that can be optimally profitable. Defect elimination usually requires an investment. Rarely does simply tightening a bolt or performing an equally trivial task fix an expensive problem.
Read my entire article Simple Defect Elimination at Pumps & Systems

by Mike Fitch CRL

Improved Trending Leads To More Accurate Alignment Targets
Thermal growth can damage your equipment and processes,  not to mention your bottom line. Monitoring positional changes it causes is a good way to keep this pesky phenomenon from getting out of hand.
LUDECA was contacted by a customer about a Cooper Turbo Compressor that was exhibiting high levels of vibration—the kind that could impact the unit’s long-term operation and reliability. Fortunately, the customer owns a ROTALIGN ULTRA laser shaft-alignment system equipped with the optional LIVE TREND module that can monitor positional changes due to thermal growth over time. That capability offers great value for operations whose critical equipment systems are subject to thermal growth situations.
Thermal growth can be an expensive proposition for a plant. As machines heat up, thermal expansion causes changes in the alignment condition, which can lead to higher vibration and temperatures, along with higher power consumption and a consequent increase in maintenance costs.
Read my entire article Improved Trending Leads To More Accurate Alignment Targets

by Pedro Casanova CRL