Sheave Alignment: Aim Small, Miss Small

A belt driven fan has a laser tool mounted to it to perform a sheave alignment.

A customer recently called saying his Belt Hog Sheave Alignment Tool was out of calibration. He stated that when he placed the Belt Hog lasers in the sheave grooves, they showed a slight amount of misalignment. However, when he rotated the lasers 180 degrees to check, there was a variance of 3mm (0.118”). While this…

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Phone a Friend

A few years back, there was a game show that used the idea of “Phone a Friend” when a contestant got in a jam. At Acoem USA, we have been a “friend” for maintenance and reliability personnel for a long time! I recently took a call from a maintenance mechanic who was installing a new…

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The Basics of Fans – Know Your Machines

A large metal fan is connected to a gearbox in an industrial environment.

Fans are a very common component in industry, they are used to move air from one place to another.  Fans are used in dust collection, supplying air to boilers, provide ventilation to factories, are used in the manufacturing process and more. Even your HVAC system at home has a fan/blower in it to move the…

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Fire Pumps – Shaft Alignment & Vibration Testing

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 5 Questions No Maintenance Supervisor Should Ask

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? What can we do to prevent…

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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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Vibration Analysis Routes – Setup Considerations

A long row of centrifugal pumps are lined up in an industrial setting, such as what you would see when building a vibration analysis route.

There are numerous items to be considered when performing an initial inspection while setting up vibration analysis routes. All things from safety considerations to machine information, smells, and sounds need to be observed and documented.   Safety The first and most important thing to consider when inspecting for a route is safety. Here are some…

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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

Recently I came across a new pump skid where an alignment check was performed after installation during 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: A…

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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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