Great pre-alignment practices
It is often exciting to jump right into the alignment process, however, there are several good pre-alignment practices to perform in order to avoid possible causes of machine failure. Mechanical faults can reduce the lifespan of your equipment even if the axes of rotation of the shafts are perfectly aligned. In order to reduce the risk of breakage or premature wear of parts and equipment, here is a series of steps to help prevent issues before making a laser alignment.
- Your Bearings
Check the condition of the bearings. Bearings can wear faster than expected due to numerous reasons, and although this easy thing to forget, can make a big difference in the readings of the alignment. To do so, proceed to lift the shafts to check for excessive bearing clearance. In the event of a damaged bearing, it is possible to get dramatically different readings each time, effectively making the alignment much longer and not as quick and easy.
- Your Shafts
Check that the driver and driven shafts are straight. Over time bearings are replaced, couplings are replaced, even motors. However, when was the last time the drive shaft was replaced? As there is not commonly a schedule associated with the replacement of these parts, they can be frequently overlooked until they have become warped. This can result in excessive wear in bearings and equipment even if the alignment at the coupling is reading true.
- Your Couplings
Check the angularity of the coupling in relation to the shaft. Every scheduled replacement of these parts wears where the coupling connects to the shaft. This can result in slow progression off the axis of alignment. Ensuring that where the coupling meets the shaft has a good connection is imperative.
- Soft Foot
Check for a soft foot. A good and fast way to do so, is to use your Fixturlaser tool application. It is as simple as loosening a bolt while the laser heads are installed on the shafts and then re-tightening it. This process takes only a few minutes and will result in a much more efficient laser alignment later.
- Angle Foot
Check for an angular foot. This is not a common practice in the industry, but it takes a few seconds to check. By using a 0.002’’ shim, try to insert it on each side of the foot and notice if there are any angular differences while it is resting in position.
- Do Not Forget Your Final Inspection
Lastly, a general visual inspection is always required. When there are many fire drills to attend to, do not forget to do a quick visual inspection before beginning operation. Remember, you are the doctor of your industry!
Following these steps will help ensure that even after the alignment, optimal life of equipment will be reached and run for hours to come. Not to mention a much quicker and efficient alignment process!