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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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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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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Composite Pump Base?

We have written numerous blogs on pump bases, they still at times contribute to precision shaft alignment challenges. A recent class at a wastewater treatment plant, was having difficulty controlling soft foot on several different pump skids with composite bases. Previous blogs have described how a bad base can contribute to soft foot. In this…

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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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What is Machine Misalignment Costing You?

We often hear from clients that machine misalignment is a costly and inconvenient problem. But, just how costly is it? It is far more expensive than most people realize, especially when you take today’s supply chain concerns into account. Between downtime, equipment damages, overtime for repairs, and supply chain interruptions, a fairly minor amount of misalignment…

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Coupling Tolerances vs. Shaft Alignment Tolerances, revisited

We have several blogs discussing the differences between coupling alignment tolerances and precision shaft alignment tolerances (see links below). As stated in those blogs the coupling manufacture’s tolerances are for the coupling. As maintenance professionals we are concerned with the coupling, however we are more concerned with the bearings in the machines. Precision shaft alignment…

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An Old Maintenance Mechanic’s Look at the Next Generation

This grainy photo was from my last day at a Weyerhaeuser mill in 1987.  I was a 26 year old millwright.  If you look closely, you’ll see an IBM computer in the storeroom.  We had another one we used for running Palomar Microlog vibration data collection.  We had a first generation laser alignment tool, but…

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Why Don’t I Input a Coupling Diameter?

We often get asked why we don’t input a coupling diameter when performing a precision shaft alignment with the ACOEM laser alignment systems. The coupling diameter (or more correctly sweep of a face dial indicator) is only required when doing a rim and face dial indicator alignment or when the user wants to know the…

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Influential Piping

There are many outside influences that affect a precision shaft alignment. One that seems to be overlooked is pipe hanger location and condition. The weight of the piping on the pump, when pipe hangers are missing or incorrectly spaced, can cause deformation of the pump housing and the base, essentially putting a strain on all…

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Cardan Shaft Alignment in the Belly of a Boat

  If you have read any of our blogs, you have seen we run into some unique alignment scenarios. During a recent class in a shipyard, there was a need to perform a Cardan Shaft Alignment in a boat with very little space to work in. It also required shooting the lasers through a hole…

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Laser Alignment and the Effects of High Humidity

A recent question from a customer prompted me to write on this topic.  The question was essentially “Can we use the laser alignment tool in steamy conditions?” I have heard similar questions over the years for example: Can the laser alignment tool withstand use in wet conditions? How resistant is the laser alignment tool to…

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Is it really Bolt Bound?

In a recent RT300 class during the field portion of the training, the team made the decision to take vibration readings on a motor/pump assembly that was very noisy and had frequent coupling failures. The RT300 diagnosed misalignment, cavitation and shock modulation. Then using the same RT300, they checked the alignment and it was indeed…

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