We often hear “Coupling alignment tolerances provided by the coupling manufacturer are good enough for shaft alignment.” or “There’s no need to align your machines tighter than the tolerances allowed by your flexible coupling.”

This is wrong because good quality flexible couplings may be built to withstand much more misalignment than what is good for your connected machines, in terms of the vibration and other forces created. Bearings and seals may wear out and fail faster than a highly misalignment-tolerant coupling. The reason for this “extra misalignment capacity” in flex couplings is that they may need to withstand significant positional changes resulting from thermal growth or dynamic load shifts. This lets you deliberately misalign machines to “cold alignment” targets.

Take a look at our Shaft Alignment Tools

by Yolanda Lopez

LUDECA is proud to announce the new Easy-Laser® XT660 laser shaft alignment system for the United States market. The XT660 is the next evolution in the award-winning Generation XT platform. It builds on the ground-breaking cross-platform technology that was launched last year with the XT440 SHAFT system. You can use your own iOS/Android phone or tablet as a display unit, or purchase the watertight, shockproof rugged XT11 display unit. Or why not do both? The choice is yours! The Easy-Laser® XT Alignment App is free to download, both now and in the future, making it easy to update your tool to the latest features at any time.

The XT660 now offers dot laser measurement technology. You can perform measurements on larger machines and over longer distances. Advanced measurement capabilities, such as continuous sweep and multi-point are now available. The rugged measuring units with integrated Bluetooth® wireless have very long operating times; up to 24 hours!
Easy-Laser® XT660 paves the way for new features with the Generation XT platform. You can export custom PDF alignment reports to a USB flash drive or via Wi-Fi directly to email for documentation of the alignment work. These new features also apply to the XT440 SHAFT alignment system.

LUDECA is also proud to announce the new Easy-Laser® XT190 BTA digital laser tool for belt drive alignment. It can be used “stand-alone” with its built-in display, as add-on to the XT660 SHAFT system or you can download the free Easy-Laser® XT Alignment App for your phone or tablet. Digital readings allow greater precision and make it easier to meet the alignment tolerances. You can follow the adjustment of the machine in real time with an interactive 3D view displayed in the App, making it easy to track live horizontal and vertical positional adjustments on the machine.

by Ana Maria Delgado, 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

Most people don’t understand the difference between aligning a short flex coupling vs. a spacer shaft and the importance of using the correct tolerances to align them properly. Our crash course video explains and simplifies the definitions and uses of alignment tolerances for short flex couplings and spacer shafts. It makes clear the absolute necessity of having both short flex and spacer shaft tolerance options in your laser alignment tool when performing an alignment.” —Pedro Casanova,  Manager of the Alignment Division – LUDECA, Inc.

Spacer Shaft Alignment Crash Course VideoThe Spacer Shaft Alignment Crash Course Video focuses on spacer shaft alignments, describing the unique benefits, tolerances and alignment methods specific to spacer shaft machines using laser alignment equipment.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

The alignment of machine trains can be a lengthy task. In the past,  alignment data of the entire machine train had to be manually graphed to scale in order to determine the optimal moves. The ROTALIGN ULTRA laser alignment tool can now instantly graph the alignment results of an entire machine train of up to fourteen machines to scale—maximizing efficiency and minimizing frustration. You can optimize an alignment centerline through a machine train to minimize corrective moves everywhere. Forget graph paper!” —Pedro Casanova,  Manager of the Alignment Division – LUDECA, Inc.

LUDECA Machine Train Alignment Crash Course VideoThe Machine Train Alignment Crash Course Video provides background knowledge along with tips and procedures for efficiently completing the alignment of multiple-element drives using laser alignment equipment.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

WaterWorld Magazine • February 2011
A Florida water treatment plant recently discovered that having full-flex (double engagement) gear couplings at either end of a spacer shaft connecting a Lufkin gearbox to a 13, 000 gpm Worthington water pump caused self-exacerbating vibration that eventually destroyed the gearbox twice within 3 months, requiring a full rebuild each time.After the second rebuild and re-installation, LUDECA was called in to monitor positional changes between the stopped and running conditions of the entire diesel engine-driven machine train with its PERMALIGN system to derive true target specifications for the “cold” condition. Thereafter, a laser re-alignment to exact tolerances would be performed to the new targets…
Read entire case study and view photos

by Alan Luedeking CRL CMRP

Precision Alignment of electric motors coupled to pumps, compressors, gearboxes, blowers, etc.; contribute to savings in the consumption of electricity. Since all fossil power plant generated electricity causes carbon emissions, reduced electricity consumption also means  LOWER RELATED CARBON EMISSION.

Optalign First Laser Shaft Alignment Tool
OPTALIGN First Laser Alignment Tool

In 1984 the first pre-programmed Laser Coupling/Shaft Alignment tool was launched by our principals PRUEFTECHNIK Alignment. For already 25 years, our alignment tools are contributing to the GREEN movement. Not only does precision alignment contribute to going GREEN, it also extends the life of Bearings, Mechanical Seals, Couplings and extends the Mean-Time Between-Failure, thus saving money for parts and increasing production.All industries using pumps to transport hazardous liquids – and that means basically the entire chemical industry as well as refineries – have experienced leaking seals. Hazardous liquids contaminate the environment.  Only well aligned pumps guarantee that mechanical seals perform to perfection and that means avoidance of leakage, another area where Better Alignments help the GREEN movement.Every leaking seal or stuffing box in Water and Water Treatment plants is a waste of scarce resources. Only good alignment of motor-driven pumps will avoid leakage. Shaft/Coupling alignment contributes in more than one way towards great savings and a GREENER ENVIRONMENT.

by Dieter Seidenthal