Benefits of Shaft Alignment
Alignment of machines has been performed for over 200 years. The reasons have not always been obvious, but in the modern world, the necessity of alignment is a common knowledge. With today's optimized machinery, alignment is a vital part in the daily minimum of interruptions. A machine breakdown causes devastating loss of production. Nearly 50% of all machine breakdowns are caused by misalignment.
Shaft alignment can be performed with a lot of different tools. The easiest way is to use a ruler or straight edge over the two coupling halves and align by eyesight. The result is not very accurate and operator dependent! Mechanical dial indicators are much more accurate, and a skilled user can achieve good and reliable results, but it does take time.
By far the most accurate and efficient system is the use of modern laser technology. Easy to understand printed alignment reports are available for record keeping purposes.
Effects of Base Conditions and Thermal Variations
Even if you align your machines properly, there is a risk that they may break due to misalignment. If the foundation where the machine is mounted is warped, you may have a soft floor, or soft foot condition where one of the machine feet has poor contact with the floor. This must be corrected when performing an alignment.
If the alignment is performed when the machines are cold, and no compensation for thermal growth is considered, it is likely that severe misalignment will occur at running temperature.
Our new Laser alignment technology factors in both soft foot and thermal growth conditions.
Definition of Misalignment
Misalignment is the deviation of relative shaft position from collinear axis of rotation when equipment is running at normal operating conditions.
Premature bearing, seal, shaft and coupling failure...Excessive radial and axial vibrations...Excessive temperature at or near the bearings...Excessive mount of oil leakage...Hot couplings...Loose or broken foundation/coupling bolts...Excessive amount of grease on the inside of coupling guard...Similar equipment vibrate less or seem to have a longer life..Shafts are breaking (or cracking) at or close to the inboard bearings or coupling hubs.
Power Consumption and other Misalignment Costs
Misalignment has a direct impact on power consumption. Documented cases have shown savings ranging from 2 to 17% with proper alignment.
The bearings operating life span is directly affected by the forces that the bearing is exposed to. The slightest misalignment can generate excessive force to the bearings and it's seals. A result of this will be the seals opening up, allowing lubricant leakage and contaminants to enter into the lubricating side. Bearing life will be shortened.
Mechanical seals and packing life will also be shortened by misalignment. Excessive shaft movement will cause premature wear on seal components such as orings, stators, faces and packing. Leakage will occur.