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MYTH: “Pipe Stress makes the alignment difficult.”

TRUTH: Pipe stress does not have any significant influence on the alignment unless you make corrections on the machine with the piping attached. In most alignment the corrections to eliminate misalignment are performed on one machine only, typically the one that is easier to move. In a pump-motor set the corrections are done on the motor. If there is sufficient room to shim and move, excellent alignment can be achieved regardless of how much pipe stress there is on the pump. Of course, pipe stress is undesirable and should be eliminated prior to the alignment.

Watch and learn more about Pipe Stress

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 have had the opportunity to see, first hand, the improvement in the quality of alignments our Tradesmen have been able to achieve and I attribute it to the availability of the wall charts received from LUDECA as the main reason. There isn’t much that the charts don’t cover but, it’s the references to thermal growth and the causes of lack of repeatability and response to corrections made that are the most helpful at least for us. As the Vibration Analyst onsite it’s been a win-win!!! Thanks from all of us at Cameco – Cigar Lake Operation —Ben Harrison, Reliability Technologist


Request your copy of the LUDECA Shaft Alignment Fundamentals wall chart

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL


Early last year Bob Dunn with I&E Central, Inc. was approached by a customer with a unique measurement challenge. They needed to align two sheaves, 1 meter in diameter, separated by 12 meters (about 40 feet). While there are a number of sheave alignment tools available in the market, they employ line lasers, and their maximum distances are about 10 feet. Beyond that, for this application there were physical barriers to projecting a beam right along the face or between the pulleys, so this required some application development.
They discussed with an associate and conceived a way to make this measurement using the standard detectors and programs on the Easy-Laser® E710 alignment system. The E710 is a high end shaft alignment system with point (rather than line) lasers and 2-axis detectors with a working distance of up to 20 meters (66 feet). It also includes some basic geometric programs including straightness.
The customer’s goal was to align the sheaves in both planes, “horizontal” and “vertical”, within 0.1°. Going back to college trigonometry, 0.1° expressed as a slope is 1.745 mils/inch or 1.745 mm/meter. We can easily measure and calculate that.
The two sheaves were vertically oriented on a long superstructure with beams and supports extending about 10” out from the faces of the sheaves.
Here is how they made the measurement:
They mounted one of the laser heads (the “transmitter”) on a magnetic base with a rotating head. This magnetic base was mounted on the superstructure of the machine near the center line of the stationary sheave, and aimed along the center line. (See the graphic associated with this document.) The detectors themselves were extended from the magnetic bases with pairs of 12″ rods so that we had a clear measurement line along the structure.
They bucked in our transmitter between points 1 and 7 (see graphic). We did not need to set to zero, we only needed the beam to hit the detector along the length of the measurement. Once bucked in, we used the straightness program and measured at points 1, 3, 5, and 7. Using points 1 and 3 as our reference line, the result indicated that the two sheaves were horizontally parallel within 0.05°, but were offset by about ½”.
Next they measured the vertical alignment. Without moving the laser transmitter, they swept the rotating head and measured the slope from point 2 to 4, as 6.028 mm/meter. Then they performed the same measurement between points 6 and 8 (the far sheave), measuring 6.022 mm/meter – nearly perfect alignment (0.0003°).
The E710 proved to be a flexible and powerful tool that can do much more than coupling alignment. This new customer is already identifying additional measurements for their new system.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

Premature machine failure can easily lead to high maintenance costs and operational losses. Misalignment is a leading cause of premature failures. An often-overlooked contributor to misalignment is pipe strain.
Premature machine failure can easily lead to high maintenance costs and operational losses. Misalignment is a leading cause of premature failures. An often-overlooked contributor to misalignment is pipe strain.

Reposted from EASY-LASER® blog
There are basically two types of pipe strain: static and dynamic pipe strain. Static pipe strain occurs both when the machines are operating and when they’re not running. This is most likely the type you’ve been trying to eliminate. Dynamic pipe strain, on the other hand, is a condition that only takes place when the machines are operating.
PIPE STRAIN AND ALIGNMENT
Strain, which is the deflection and positional change resulting from pipe stress, comes from the suction and discharge piping, and creates stresses on the machine frame or casing that that in turn spread to the equipment body. A result of this is often a change in the alignment of the shaft. It also results in distortion of the machine casing which misaligns the bearings within the machine, resulting in very harmful vibration and increased radial loads on the bearings. So, before attempting shaft alignment, you should ensure that suction and discharge piping are not causing strain on your machines.
HOW CAN YOU CONTROL PIPE STRAIN?
Static pipe strain and its effects are fairly simple to control, and you can use any of the Easy-Laser® shaft alignment systems to measure the strain and help eliminate it. Here’s how: simply mount the system in the normal manner as when you perform the shaft alignment. Then:

  1. Position the measuring units at twelve o’clock. Use the Values program and set both units to zero.
  2. Rotate the shafts to the three o’clock position, and note if the values are not zero. Rotate the shafts back to twelve and confirm the zero setting.
  3. Now connect or disconnect the piping. Any changes to the values for the twelve and three o’clock positions is the result of pipe strain and should be corrected, which will require careful pipe fitting. What you are seeing is movement transmitted though the casing to the bearings and shaft.

Dynamic pipe strain is more difficult, because it only occurs when the machines and piping are at operating conditions. And a good proportion of this type of pipe strain may be a consequence of thermal expansion of the piping and the weight of system fluid. This explains why the dynamic pipe strain is not a fixed state and why it might be difficult to handle.
We understand that this can be quite a challenge, however, we believe you have a lot to gain from minimizing dynamic pipe strain. And there are effective tools for this purpose: Our Easy-Laser measuring program has a great feature that registers measurement values automatically for a specified amount of time and frequency of measurement. This is very useful for looking at differences between a machine that’s up and running and one that’s down. The data can also be transferred to the EasyLink™ software, where you can see the results more clearly, in the shape of a graph to scale.
IN CONCLUSION
The existence of pipe strain indicates that more than just alignment is needed for optimal machine performance; there are other important factors to take into consideration. This requires flexible measurement systems that will support you and help you reach your goal. You need more than a shaft alignment system; you need a total alignment solution.
We invite you to watch our Pipe Stress Know-How video to learn more about the effects of running equipment with pipe stress.

by Yolanda Lopez

The new Easy-Laser 12.0 firmware now features a handy table that lets you instantly see how well your readings repeat and save comments for them. When performing laser shaft alignment it is a best practice to take two sets of readings immediately after system setup to establish repeatability. Bad repeatability can signal measurement problems such as loose or faulty components, brackets rubbing, backlash between shafts, loose bearings and other causes. The repeatability table lets you establish confidence in your readings before you proceed to carry out adjustments on the machines.
E170 Sample Repeatability Table
Hurry and upgrade your Easy-Laser E710 shaft alignment computer to this latest firmware. It’s free!

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

March 2016 · Empowering Pumps Magazine
“Work smarter, not harder” is a statement we have all heard before, but who has the time to think about smarter ways to work when there is so much work to be done? Some maintenance professionals are so busy trying to keep their operation running smoothly that they often address equipment issues “reactively”. This might make maintenance teams feel more like “firemen” as they respond to in-the-moment needs. So how does a company become less “reactive” and more “proactive”?
Read the full article: Maximize Uptime with Asset Condition Management to better understand the key components of an Asset Condition Management (ACM) Program and how core technologies like Alignment, Balancing, Vibration Analysis, and Ultrasound Testing can help you increase uptime.

by Dave Leach CRL CMRT CMRP

The Mars Climate Orbiter was launched by NASA on Dec 11, 1998 to study the Martian climate. On its arrival at Mars on September 23, 1999, communication was lost shortly after an orbital insertion maneuver was performed. The cause of the failure was a lower than anticipated altitude with a resulting burn-up of the orbiter. It was entirely due to human error. The error occurred because one piece of software entered the required force in pounds and a separate piece of software interpreted this as newtons. The result was $125 million dollar lesson on the importance of consistency in units.
When performing an alignment, consistency with measurement units is the key to preventing costly errors. We recently conducted a training class for a company that worked on the metric system. Our alignment systems allow for easy conversion “on the fly” between imperial and metric units, so we simply operated everything in the metric system. We then started noticing that some students were taking much longer times on their alignments than usual. It became apparent they were misinterpreting the values of the shims, which are express in “thou” and thought they represented some form of a metric value. Fortunately it was not a $125 million mistake as this can simply be a lesson to be learned in training.
When working with different units, consider all of the stakeholders involved in the project. Who will operate the tool? Who will make corrections? Who will interpret whether or not the alignment is acceptable? You will have to determine which units of measurement will be the standard for the entire project. Fortunately, if someone makes a mistake with units for corrections, they will most likely not see the alignment improving. However, if there is a mistake on units for acceptability criteria, this could be dangerous. There is a big difference between 1 mm and 1 thou! Avoid multiple conversions for the alignment process. Standardize on one set of units and remain consistent for the whole project. If there is a need to convert units during the alignment, make very sure everyone understands when this happens and why this is the case.

by Daus Studenberg CRL

A “Compound Move” is when an aligner performs both a vertical correction by shimming and a horizontal correction by moving a MTBM (movable machine) simultaneously.
Traditionally, during the alignment process, after a rough alignment is made, the aligner will shim the movable machine until it is within the vertical alignment tolerance. Once within vertical tolerance, the aligner will then make the horizontal correction. Sometimes this will result in several moves until the tolerance is reached for both vertical and horizontal.
The “Compound Move” has been used successfully by many aligners for 20+ years. The success of making a vertical and horizontal correction simultaneously is dependent on when to perform this step.
The following steps should be performed before making a Compound Move:

  1. All pre-alignment checks and corrections completed.
  2. Rough align the MTBM.
  3. Perform Rough (Initial) Soft Foot.
  4. Perform Final Soft Foot.
  5. Now, perform the Compound Move and you will find that many times, you will complete the final alignment in just one or two moves.

The benefit of performing a Compound Move is saving time.

by Pedro Casanova CRL

If the machine to be moved has 6, 8 or more anchor bolts, caution needs to be applied when deciding how to shim the middle machine feet.
A method still used by many is to calculate the shimming for the inboard and outboard feet of the MTBM and shim accordingly. Then, use a feeler gauge to determine the amount of shims required to “fill in” under the middle feet. You tighten the inboard and outboard feet before making the shim correction to the middle feet. A common practice is to add a few mils of shim under the middle feet to compensate for any casing sag due to the weight of the machine. The problem with this method is deciding how many mils of shims to add when compensating for casing sag.
Some laser shaft alignment tools can calculate the middle feet shim requirement based on the distance from the front (or inboard) feet to the middle feet. This calculation is based on simple rise over run and assumes that the base is completely flat. Some criticize this method of letting the laser alignment system calculate the middle feet corrections. The argument is that on a normal machine configuration, the four feet nearest the bearings establish the reference plane. But when additional feet are introduced, you should not assume they are in the same exact plane. This is true and shows up as a soft foot condition. Therefore, when a proper Rough soft foot and Final soft foot is performed, the calculated middle feet corrections by the laser alignment system is preferred over just guessing how much to shim the middle machine feet.

by Pedro Casanova CRL

You’ve just completed your horizontal live move and you’ve re-measured to double-check your results. Now, it seems your coupling results are not at all what you were expecting. Does this sound familiar?
All too often when this occurs, the reasons are quite simple, such as some residual soft foot, or coupling strain that affected the accuracy of your initial readings. But if you’ve already eliminated these causes, perhaps the cause is more basic.
Double-check your dimensions screen again. It’s not that uncommon to “fat-finger” the values. Perhaps, intending to enter 2.5 inches you accidentally entered 25 inches instead! Also make sure the units (mm or inches) are correct while you’re there.
Another often overlooked detail is the process of moving itself. Care must be taken when performing any move to prevent the laser systems heads from being bumped or jarred. Laser alignment is a very precise business and the detectors can “see” very fine movement. Unintentional movement of the laser/detector from hammer blows to the machine can cause a false reading to occur giving you an inaccurate representation of the final move result. Always use jackscrews whenever possible!

by Oliver Gibbs CRL

Precision alignment is an essential part of a proactive reliability program as it can eliminate many machine failures and defects. This Infographic outlines an easy and effective way to align your rotating equipment.
5-Step Shaft Alignment Procedure
Download Infographic

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

You’ve always heard the adage,  “Laser on the Stationary and Receiver (or Prism) on the Movable.”  In this day and age, however, this “truism” has become obsolete. You see, the concept of the “stationary” machine, per se, is obsolete. ALL machines CAN be moved if they really need to be (no machine grew out of the ground, like a tree!), so instead we emphasize that the laser should be mounted on the machine that is “more difficult” to move (usually the pump because of the connected piping.)
The flexibility that all ROTALIGN (and OPTALIGN SMART products) offer through their static feet function, as well as the ability to freely flip or rotate the view of the machines to suit your needs, means that you no longer need to concern yourself with “stationary” machines. Your real goal is to find the easiest and most expedient way of aligning your machines. In some cases this may mean moving one pair of feet on the pump just a little to keep from having to move the motor feet a lot.
So, let’s just amend our setup statement a bit: I always say “LLLaser on the LLLeft and RRReceiver on the RRRight!” (or RRReflector, as the case may be.) This will help you to remember and keep your setups consistent. But what if your pump and motor are mounted close beside a wall, and you can only access the machines from one side? As luck would have it, that side is always “the wrong side” as dictated by Murphy’s law, with your pump on the right and the motor on the left, instead of the way you are used to seeing them. No matter! Still mount your laser on the left machine. Now, since the Rotalign and Optalign want to move the right machine by default, you can now employ the “Flip Machines” feature, which will automatically swap the view of your machines left and right, so you can see them the way they really are in the field, and easily move the left machine now, even if you have mounted your laser on it.
Traditional Alignment Setup
If you have two equally hard-to-move machines, each of which you would ordinarily like to consider stationary (such as a heavily piped little steam turbine driving a heavily piped compressor), then it really just boils down to which machine (or combination of feet on both machines) is the most expedient to move. Again, mount the laser on the on the left. You can always use the static feet function to declare the machine on the right stationary and make the machine on the left movable, or ask the tool to make any combination of feet movable so as to find your smallest possible moves or optimal combination of moves to solve bolt-bound or base-bound situations in the field. The ROTALIGN ULTRA products are especially versatile for this, since they let you explore fully optimized centerlines (move ALL the feet in the train), as well as under-constrained and over-constrained centerlines, to cope with the exigencies of the situations you encounter in the field.
Lastly, if you ever need to compare your alignment or your target specs to a drawing or to someone else’s report that shows the machines the other way around from the way you set up, you can always use the Rotate View functionality to look at your results from the other side. You use this feature “after the fact”—in other words, after your setup is already complete, with readings taken and results obtained, you can always rotate the view and see your results as if you had walked around to the other side of the machines.
Original Alignment Results
To summarize, the concept of “stationary” and “movable” is history. Use the Flip View feature right at the beginning, when you set up, to make your setup conform to the actual situation in the field. Use the Static Feet Function to make any machine movable or stationary, and to explore “best possible” correction alternatives. Lastly, use the Rotate View feature to look at your alignment differently, after it’s already done.
Watch Tutorials: ‘Flip Machines’ and ‘Rotate View’ Features
Learn how these features work in the ROTALIGN ULTRA, OPTALIGN SMART and SHAFTALIGN laser shaft alignment systems.

by Alan Luedeking CRL CMRP

Some weeks ago,  a compressor manufacturer contracted us to perform ROTALIGN ULTRA laser alignment training at their testing facility. During the training,  the millwrights mentioned that they had a need to align the gearbox shaft to the compressor bores during the assembly process, before the compressor shaft was installed. Since my ROTALIGN ULTRA also features the CENTRALIGN ULTRA bore alignment option, I offered to train them on this interesting application.
The objective was to perform the alignment so when the compressor shaft is put in, it is already within tolerance and the compressor is immediately ready to be tested. This means that the millwrights need to align the static centerline of the bores of the compressor to the rotating centerline of the gearbox shaft. This is a challenging application that the ROTALIGN ULTRA with CENTRALIGN ULTRA can handle with ease (see Figure 1.)

 Laser on Gearbox

Fig. 1: Laser mounted on Rotating Gearbox Shaft

We first covered the key concepts of what it means to do a bore alignment. Hands-on exercises illustrated the differences between aligning with a static laser beam through the bores and a rotating laser setup on the gearbox shaft. Once on the shop floor we were able to measure a compressor’s bores with respect to the gearbox shaft within 45 minutes, start to finish including setup time for both stages of the measurement (see Figure 2.)
Receiver on Compressor Bore

Fig. 2: Receiver with Bluetooth module in compressor bore

The millwrights seemed thrilled with the simplicity of the process, compared to their current approach, which involved using a complicated bracket system to support dial indicators, sometimes taking up to a day to obtain accurate measurements.
The customer purchased the ROTALIGN ULTRA with CENTRALIGN ULTRA option and now obtains accurate and repeatable measurements within an hour, without depending on the skill level of the operator. This has freed up manpower, saved time and a great deal of money during the compressor assembly process.

by Adam Stredel 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

By Deron Jozokos with Shoreline Reliability,  LUDECA solutions provider for New England and Eastern New York
Yesterday I visited a customer at a ski resort for an alignment demo and he asked if I would demo our tools on his actual machinery, a recently rebuilt pump that was installed by a vendor. I readily agreed as I thought this would be a good opportunity to show how easy the tool is to use on his actual machinery. After setting up on the pump and motor, we entered the machine dimensions into the SHAFTALIGN computer and took an initial alignment reading and soft foot reading and saved the file “As Found”. In addition to a severe soft foot condition and misalignment, I pointed out some other issues with the machines. The shims used previously were undersized for the motor feet, and the washers used under the hold-down bolts were damaged and “cupped”. Also, on two feet the bolt holes didn’t line up with the foundation bolt holes which resulted in the hold-down bolts being cocked.
I recommended that we fix each issue, all of which could be done fairly quickly. We replaced all of the shims with new precut stainless steel shims, eliminated the soft foot and slid the lower frame laterally so we could line up the bolt holes correctly. From there we re-measured the alignment condition and made the corrections indicated by the SHAFTALIGN system.
Rebuilt Pump Misalignment
We took one last verification measurement and got two Smiley Faces which indicated that the alignment was now within the Excellent range for 1775 RPM tolerances. They were also interested in seeing the new TABALIGN system in action so we downloaded the TABALIGN from the Google Play Store to their Android tablet, synced it to the same sensors and took the measurements which repeated exactly the SHAFTALIGN results. They were very happy with the results but at the same time worried about the rest of their machinery that probably has many of the same issues that we had found on this pump-motor set. They’ll be correcting all of those shortly though!
 

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

Most of us know that accurate shaft alignment will increase the life of machine components such as bearings,  seals, and couplings, and thereby help prolong the life of your equipment. However, performing a shaft alignment can be cumbersome at times, especially aligning multiple machines in a machine train at once. A multi-coupling train is an alignment that should be approached carefully.
An “as found” measurement should always be taken on all the couplings, before any shimming or moves are made. This will provide a clear picture of what the misalignment is through the whole train. It will also decrease the likelihood of ending up in a base-bound or bolt-bound situation, which is a very common occurrence when doing a machine train alignment. When the stationary machine in a train is angled on its base, the other machines in the train will need to be aligned to this angle.
The goal is to minimize the amount of movement required and still achieve excellent alignment at each coupling. The Rotalign Ultra’s Move Simulator has the capability to show potential correction alternatives before actually performing them. In this particular alignment at a power plant we had a Pump-Gear Box-Motor train. After taking readings at both couplings we used the Move Simulator to determine that it was possible to obtain alignment within tolerances at both couplings by only shimming and moving the middle machine. Figure 1 shows the Rotalign Ultra iS set up at one of the couplings.
                        ProveIt_Application-picture

Fig. 1: Rotalign Ultra iS set up at one of the couplings

Figure 2 shows the as found readings for the machine train:
ProveIt_First-measure

Fig. 2:As found” alignment of the machine train

We then opened the Rotalign Ultra’s Move Simulator. Figure 3 shows the initial screen, zoomed in to just the Vertical alignment situation:
ProveIt_Sim-no-move

Fig. 3: Move Simulator initial screen 

We proceeded to ‘simulate’ removing shims out the right feet of the middle machine (Machine B) and determined that by removing 8 mils it was possible to get the alignment at Coupling Two within tolerances. Figure 4 shows that screen:
 ProveIt_Sim-first-move

Fig. 4: After simulated shim removal of 8 mils at right feet of Machine B

We then proceeded simulate removing shims out the left feet of the middle machine (Machine B) and determined that by removing 10 mils it would be possible to get the alignment at Coupling One within tolerances  while still maintaining an in-tolerance condition at Coupling Two. Figure 5 shows that screen:
ProveIt_Sim-smileys

Figure 5: After simulated shim removal of 10 mils at left feet of Machine B 

Shimming was executed as suggested by the Move Simulator and after one shim change and one horizontal correction new readings were taken and the alignment results shown in Figure 6 obtained:

ProveIt_Final-measure

Figure 6: Final alignment after just one shim change and horizontal move of Machine B

by Adam Stredel CRL

Take a look at these pictures and see if you can figure out what is wrong with each machine relating to alignment and precision maintenance. These are actual machines we have recently encountered in the field and thankfully we were able to correct before additional damage occurred.
1.  Here is a motor that is turning a fire pump from an alignment recently performed with the Rotalign Ultra iS. Surely we don’t want a fire pump to fail when it’s needed.  How many things can you find wrong in this picture?
motor-firepump
Answer:  Many times a spacer is needed to raise one machine up to meet it’s counterpart.  Here they used cut steel tubing.  By doing this they changed the shape and surface area of the machines load zone creating a softfoot which in turn distorted the motor frame.  This distorted the internal bearing alignment putting a pre-load on the shaft and also affected the air gap between rotor and stator. Another issue was the paint job,  it was done after the alignment was performed.  This is a common error trap that allows paint chips to get in between the shims and feet creating another form of softfoot.   Spacer blocks should be precision machined to properly raise a machine to within 100 thousandths lower than it’s counterpart.  They should be the same size of the foot or larger.  Download our Shimming Guide for more details.
2. This one should be obvious, what do you think is wrong here?
too-many-shims
Answer: Plain and simple, with a proper and full shim kit, one should be able to leave an alignment with 3 or less shims under each foot.  Every time another shim is added another air gap is created where oil, dirt, rust and other materials can be lodged creating a soft foot.  In this example, you can also see different sized shims being used and a strange gap directly under the foot.  It’s not pictured but the last aligner used a thick washer to help with the alignment.  Always use a micrometer to double-check the thickness of your shim correction.  See the Shimming Guide for more details on proper shimming.
3. Last one… What do you see wrong in this one?
shimming-guide-photo
Answer: This one is an excerpt from our Shimming Guide, download it now and see the answer in full detail.
Thanks to Deron Jozokos with Shoreline Reliability, our solutions provider for New England and Eastern New York, for this great post.
 

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

When rotating hard-to-turn shafts by means of straps,  pipe wrenches, chain hoists, or any other means, you could be deflecting the shaft. This can cause significant alignment and repeatability problems to occur, making the task of collecting accurate alignment readings almost impossible. The problem is easy to overcome, though. Simply switch your ROTALIGN ULTRA to Multipoint or Static measurement mode instead of using Continuous Sweep mode. Your readings will be taken while the shafts are stationary and with no external forces applied.
Between the two measurement modes, multipoint will be the measurement mode of choice. The jerky, starting/stopping motion you will most likely be experiencing will make it very difficult to stop at the specific angles needed for static mode.

by Tyler Wulterkens CRL

1. Reduced Energy Consumption
Significant power savings can be made through accurate alignment. Precise alignment eliminates reaction forces and reduces energy consumption by up to 10%.

Reduced Energy Consumption
Courtesy of ©ICI PLC

2. Reduced Incidence of Repairs
Mechanical seal repairs decline by up to 65% when precision alignment is carried out on a regular basis.
The rate of repairs declines by up to 30% when precision laser alignment becomes an integral part of the pump repair schedule. Maintenance costs are also reduced through lower parts expense and inventory levels.
Reduced Repairs
Courtesy of ©HOECHST AG Gendorf/Germany

3. Longer Machine Life
Relation between offset and bearing life cycle: The smaller the offset misalignment,  the greater the expected bearing life cycle.
Longer Machine Life
Courtesy of ©The University of Tennessee

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL