Precision Shaft Alignment and Vibration Testing of Fire Pumps

Fire pumps are probably THE MOST CRITICAL machines in industrial and commercial buildings.  If they don’t work when they are supposed to, no other machine in the building matters. A fire pump needs to be reliable enough to run for a few hours.  After that, either the fire is out, or the building is gone. …

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Cardan Shaft? Spacer Shaft? What Kind Is It?

Recently, I provided training for a location that had vertical mounted electric motors driving pumps that were one or more floors below them. In this case, these pumps were driven with Cardan Shafts, however they did not have the typical 5-to-15-degree angles (between the motor & pump shafts and the drive shaft) recommended for lubrication…

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The Maintenance Supervisor’s 5 Questions

I’ve never been a maintenance supervisor, but I have worked for several.  And when a machine has had problems, most maintenance supervisors have 5 questions: What’s wrong with it? How bad is it? How much longer can we run it? What do we have to do to fix it? (…and if they’re really good) What…

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Perspective

I don’t know about you, but in my nearly 45 years in industrial maintenance, there have been times when I felt stumped when trying to solve a problem. Sometimes you can just walk away and the solution comes to you while performing another task. Other times, a colleague or coworker may come along and have…

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Thoughts on a New Machine Setup

There are numerous items to be considered when performing an initial inspection for a vibration analysis route setup. All things from safety considerations to machine information, smells, and sounds need to be observed and documented. First and foremost is SAFETY!! Are there exposed shafts, sheaves, belts, or nip points? Does an oily or slippery floor…

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A Craftsman NEVER Blames the Tools!

I heard this saying recently, and I like it a lot!  Whether we are talking about woodworking, precision maintenance, shaft alignment, or any number of other crafts or technical operations-it is true. In my time as a trainer for Acoem USA, I have heard mechanics say (more times than I could count) “my (current alignment…

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Understanding the ISO 10816-3 Vibration Severity Chart

The ISO-10816 Vibration Severity Chart hovers above industrial machinery.

The Smart Machine Checker (SMC), and the Falcon (vibration data collector/analyzer) use Accurex™ automatic diagnostic software to determine vibration problems on rotating equipment. Accurex™ performs a first order diagnostic based on ISO 10816-3 specifications (based on overall vibration levels in velocity, in inches per second/peak, or mm/sec/rms), and a second order diagnostic based on several…

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Aligned at the Factory – Realigned in the Field

An alignment check was performed on a new pump skid that had been recently installed as part of new construction. Even though it did not have much run time there were already telltale signs of misalignment as indicated by the coupling insert dust on the base. The new pump skid came aligned from the factory. …

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Taking Care of your Spares

Rotating equipment, either in storage, or down for long periods of time, should be rotated on a regular basis. This prevents two things: rust forming in the bearings, gears, etc., due to lubricant settling into the reservoir. false brinelling, which is micro-spalling of the bearing raceways due to impacting. This occurs when vibration is present…

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Static, Couple, and Dynamic Unbalance

According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), unbalance is “that condition which exists in a rotor when the vibratory force or motion is imparted to bearings as a result of centrifugal forces”. In other words, unbalance is an unequal weight distribution of a rotor around its rotating centerline. The rotating centerline or rotational axis…

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Implementing a Hybrid Model to Monitor Machinery Vibration

Monitoring machinery vibration can use many tools and models, including a hybrid model. Some of the monitoring tools available today include: Portable vibration data collectors and analyzers.  Short-term surveillance vibration data collectors and analyzers (which can be installed temporarily). Embedded sensors mounted to equipment which can monitor vibration, temperatures, and other inputs. Permanently mounted accelerometers…

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A Handy Guide to Balancing Rotating Machinery

icon of a fan with a spot indicating a balancing weight.

Balancing rotating machinery is mostly math, with a bit of common sense and experience thrown in. The math is constant, so here are some tips to help with the common sense and experience part. Preparing to balance Inspect before you balance I once balanced a fan by pulling an air filter out of the fan…

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“Mic” Your Shims Before Alignment!

stack of shims

Have you ever added the number of shims your laser alignment tool or dial indicator tells you to during an alignment only to find your machine is still out of alignment? This is a frustrating but common occurrence. Was it a calculation error or did your alignment tool give you the wrong measurement? More than…

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Watch Your Grease!

In Acoem USA’s Reliable Precision Maintenance (RPM) class, we discuss several key points maintenance personnel need to know about lubrication. One of those points is grease compatibility. At a recent class, our students mentioned they only used two kinds of grease. When we asked what they were, they didn’t remember the name. So, one of…

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Using the Acoem Bearing Defender as a Lubrication Tool

Co-author, Stan Riddle. Lubricating bearings on a regular PM schedule has some inherent problems-mainly, how do you know if a bearing needs lubricating or not?  If the bearing seal is not compromised, grease should stay in the bearing, and provide lubrication for a long time.  But if the seal is blown, the bearing will require…

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