Fluid Drive Coupling and High Vibration? No Problem!

I recently took a call from a customer at a coal-fired power plant in Arkansas.  He was performing a precision laser shaft alignment of a 450 HP, 1750 RPM electric motor coupled by a fluid drive coupling to a gearbox on a coal conveyor. Similar to the one pictured above. This conveyor is one of…

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IT’S HAS TO BE ALIGNABLE!

One of the issues precision shaft alignment technicians face is whether a machine is alignable. There will be times that a machine cannot be aligned in its current condition. A recent Fixturlaser GO Basic training class ran into this issue when performing alignment checks on 4 small centrifugal pumps.  All pumps had 10 HP electric…

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Bolt Bound? No Alternate Move Calculator? No Problem!

Previous blogs have discussed several different solutions for solving Base Bound & Bolt Bound conditions when preforming precision laser shaft alignment (Base/Bound Math and Solving Base/Bound Alignment Alignment Problems). Sometimes though, the solution for a Bolt Bound issue is fairly straight forward and what you need to do is right in front of your eyes…

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SHIMS 102 – The pitfalls of carbon steel shims.

Stan’s “Shims 101” blog last year provided some great guidelines and reasons for using pre-cut Stainless Steel Shims.  We repeatedly see rotating equipment that is supplied with carbon steel shims under the feet and/or shims of the incorrect size. When aligning machinery with carbon steel shims get rid of them! Measure the old shim thickness…

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The Importance of Roughing-in Machines before Performing a Shaft Alignment.

During our Best Alignment Practices Training classes our staff of VibrAlign Trainers stresses the importance of rough aligning the machines as part of the pre-alignment steps.  The main reason to do so is to minimize the coupling influences on the movable and stationary machine’s rotational shaft center-lines so the final alignment can be completed with…

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Solving Base-Bound and Bolt-Bound Shaft Alignment Problems

If you align machinery for a living then more than likely you have encountered machines that are base-bound or bolt-bound. Base-bound is when the movable machine has to be lowered and there are either too few or no shims under the movable machine feet to accomplish the vertical alignment. Bolt-bound is when the movable machine…

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Small Details Make A Big Difference in Shaft Alignment

Today’s maintenance personnel are tasked to do more in less time so production can resume as soon as possible. As such, aligners of rotating machinery may believe they are saving time by eliminating some steps of the shaft alignment process when in reality the opposite is true. An alignment check was performed on a process…

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Shaft Alignment of Small Machines

The VibrAlign Training Faculty sees a lot different machines during our training classes across the USA. The one statement that we hear repeatedly from mechanics and millwrights is, “I would rather align a 500 HP motor & pump set than a 10 HP one”. We agree! While small machines are easier to “physically” adjust during…

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The Return of Soft Foot

Previous alignment blog postings have discussed the negative effects of soft foot on rotating machinery reliability and the importance of checking and correcting soft foot before proceeding with a shaft alignment. The question is: “does soft foot need to be checked during an alignment?” Possibly. During a recent GO Pro training class an alignment check…

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Measuring Thermal Growth Targets using the XA Pro w/OL2R

Previous blogs have defined thermal growth of rotating equipment and discussed several different methods to calculate the cold (ambient) alignment targets to compensate for thermal growth. The OL2R program (Off Line to Running) of the Fixturlaser XA Pro allows the aligner to easily measure thermal growth (dynamic movement) and determine the correct cold alignment targets for…

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To Turn or Not to Turn, That is the Question!

Bowl mills are used to pulverize coal prior to being blown into coal fired boilers. They are very large machines with heavy rotating components usually driven by an internal planetary gear set in the bottom of the mill. A typical steam generation power plant will have multiple bowl mills for each boiler in the facility.…

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Aligning Machines Mounted on Chocks

“Our large machines use adjustable chocks, instead of shims for correcting the vertical alignment; can we use the VibrAlign Verti-Zontal compound move with our Fixturlaser XA when correcting the misalignment?” Absolutely! Adjustable chocks are typically found on large machines such as the engine-compressor sets used in the gas compression industry.  The chocks are used in…

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Do Vertical Pumps Need Alignment?

Yes? No? Maybe? Yes! You may have heard this in the past…”We can’t align our vertical pumps since there is no adjustment due the ‘machined fit’ between the electric motor and pump housing. Plus it has a rigid coupling!” You may want to rethink this one. The OJT portion of a recent training class involved…

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Cupped Washers

The OJT portion of a recent training class was the alignment of a 3600 RPM electric motor driving a Bell & Gossett Fire Service Water Pump. As the hold down bolts were tightened (in a cross torque pattern) the horizontal offset would change to approximately 5 mils at 50% torque then 8 mils at 100%. After…

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