In rotating equipment installations, there are many tools employed by the concrete pouring team, the baseplate fabricator, the rotating equipment installer, the pipe fitter, the alignment team, etc., to get the job the done as effectively and efficiently as possible. “Square, plumb, level and true” is what allows those teams to work together.  “True”means something is exact or accurate.  In rotating machinery, true can encompass how accurately equipment is aligned, in flatness, straightness, or rotational centerline (coupling) alignment.

Cutting corners in square, plumb, level and true is non-negotiable.  If one team does not hold to this principle, it can cause significant problems for the rest of the teams in the form of delays involved in having to work around and remedy the alignment problem. We’ve heard the stories of machinery installations that have bolt-bound issues, pipes that don’t fit, baseplates that are warped, many resulting in a need for extreme soft-foot corrections.  These are all symptoms of some part of the installation not holding to square, plumb, level and true. When all teams abide by this principle of square, plumb, level and true, the installation will be more efficient, have fewer delays and ensure that no costly rework will be needed to undo incorrect installation.

The building is actually square, plumb and level. It is the parking lot that is not level.


by Daus Studenberg CRL

Milling machines are an essential tool in any machine shop and their calibration is equally important.  The quality of the parts made by a mill depend of two factors: one,  the skill of the machinist,  and two, the condition of the equipment used. The bed of the mill can sometimes be overlooked, and imperfections in it can cause quality issues in the tolerances or finish of parts produced. Out-of-flatness or levelness is one of the main causes of product imperfection. The bed is the machinist’s surface of reference and a quick and simple Levelness/Flatness check can ensure that the bed is in optimal condition to allow the machinist to create high precision parts.
Milling Machine Bed Flatness

by Carlos Bienes CRL

The Problem: A cement manufacturer requested the measurement of the flatness and levelness of a gearbox foundation to determine its condition. The problem was that the gearbox had to remain in place during the measurement. This type of measurement would present itself as an impossible task due to the fact that most flatness measurement methods require some type of line of sight in order to measure each point.
The Solution: The LEVALIGN EXPERT automatic rotating laser along with a sensor and a dedicated computer was used for this geometric measurement task. The LEVALIGN EXPERT “InfiniSplice” function allowed for multiple measurements to be merged. For this application,  only 3 separate measurements were taken where the laser was moved each time. The operator needed to make sure that each measurement file had at least 3 points in common with the previous measurement file. The LEVALIGN software then automatically merged each file to create a master measurement.
Gearbox foundation flatness
The Result: The whole measurement process took about 15 minutes to complete from start to finish. The result was an accurate measurement that assessed the condition of the base while preventing the need for the gearbox (that was in the critical path of production) to be removed.

by Daus Studenberg CRL

MEDIA RELEASE: New Product Revolutionizes Flatness Measurements
New Product revolutionizes flatness measurementsThe LEVALIGN EXPERT Flatness and Leveling Measuring System with Automatic Rotating Laser has won 1st place in Pumps & Systems Product Innovation of the Year competition. The winners, finalists and honorable mentions were chosen by the magazine’s editorial advisory board.
“This year’s winner is LUDECA, Inc. LUDECA’s LEVALIGN EXPERT is a tool that allows end users to determine the flatness/levelness of bases and frames. It helps avoid strain that can occur when a machine is bolted to a distorted surface. With a level surface, problems such as vibration and misalignment can be avoided, saving money on maintenance and repair and avoiding downtime.” —Pumps & Systems, December 2011.
Read official announcement including a LEVALIGN EXPERT field service engineer testimonial.
LEVALIGN EXPERT is manufactured by PRÜFTECHNIK Alignment Systems.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

Problem: A machine base needs to be checked to see if it is flat and level.
Solution: A digital inclinometer provides fast and accurate measurements of the foundation.

Fig 1 - Measuring a machine base with the INCLINEO digital inclinometer

 When installing on machine bases, the spirit level is a commonly used measurement tool assigned to this task.  Although the accuracy of the spirit level can be within the level tolerance specifications, it does not provide the degree to which levelness is out of tolerance.  In essence, it provides a “pass/fail” verification instead of exact numbers for inclination.  See Figure 2 below.
Fig 2 - The foundation is out of level, but how much?

Furthermore, level measurements can vary depending on where the measurements were taken.   If a part was measured to be level only from end to end, it may not necessarily be level or flat through its middle. The INCLINEO takes the concept of the bubble level and brings it to the next level to make it ideal for machine base measurement.  The INCLINEO is a high precision (0.0003° resolution) digital level.  Because it is digital, it provides numerical readings.  It can provide angular readings (degrees, arc-seconds, etc.) as well as elevation readings (mils/inch, mm/m, etc.).  It uses wireless communication to interface with software on your PC to map out the foundation measurements in 3D.
Fig 3 - Wireless interface between the Inclineo and PC

So how does the INCLINEO work for both flatness and levelness?  INCLINEO works by taking level measurements between two discrete measurement points.  The level measurements are automatically merged in the software.  See the Straightness Measurement Concept video.
By taking this concept and now applying it as a grid over the part to be measured, the levelness and flatness can be determined as shown in the Levelness and Flatness Measurement Concept video.
Taking measurements is as simple as “Dimensions, Measure, Results”.  First, dimensions of all the points of interests are entered into the ALIGNMENT CENTER software.
Fig 4 - Machine base dimensions

Second, measurements are taken by placing the INCLINEO between the points of interest.  The measurements are wirelessly transferred to the PC.  It is even easier to use than a bubble level, with the added benefit of giving you exact readings.
Fig 5 - Taking measurements of the machine base by positioning the Inclineo at various points

The extended range base is ideal for this application because it allows contact points to rest exactly on the points to be measured.  The self-calibration feature of the INCLINEO allows the extended range base contact points to be moved in or out through the measurement.  As an added bonus, the self-calibration also cancels out any effect of bar sag, thus giving you dependable level measurements.
Finally, the software displays a 2D or 3D elevation plot of the foundation immediately after the last point is measured.  There is no more guess and check with what your foundation is doing.  Select the report option and instantly view how flat and level it is.  Numerical results and color coordinated tolerances will automatically display what needs to be corrected and by how much.  Problem solved!

Fig 6 - 2D map of the machine base (mils)
Fig 7 - 3D map of the machine base (mils)

by Daus Studenberg CRL