Flat Bases and Why They Matter

In reliability and maintenance, base-related vibration and alignment problems have been common issues encountered. Problems such as: Soft foot Bearing misalignment within machines – such as motors, pumps, compressors, etc. Seal and bearing failures – related to radial loading, due to tightening down the pump to a base that isn’t flat Hold down bolts becoming…

Read More

Bolt Torque and Overhung Pump Centerlines

Recently I conducted training at a location that had quite a large population of centrifugal pumps, the majority of which were overhung pumps. As you can see from the diagram below, the overhung pump casing bolts to the volute by a ring of bolts in a circular flange.     Issues with Bolt Bound and…

Read More

How Many Times Do I Need to Align This Machine?

A customer called me recently with concerns about a pump alignment job he completed about six months earlier. He had checked the alignment again and found that the alignment values changed. He was concerned that he had done something wrong. I explained to him that he was performing the alignment correctly, however, the machine could…

Read More

Understanding Thermal Growth Target Inputs

Acoem alignment systems allow the user to input thermal growth (offline to running) targets prior to performing a precision shaft alignment. Using targets allows the alignment to be completed to tolerance and the thermal growth will be compensated for. The real key to success, of course, is determining good targets. These are best obtained via…

Read More

Basics of Centrifugal Pumps – Know Your Machines

Centrifugal pumps are common in industry. They are used to move various liquids from one place to another. This work is performed using a rotating pump wheel, or “impeller”, with a number of “vanes” on it. The wheel acts against the pump housing internals, which are either a volute or diffuser style, and produce the…

Read More

Performing Shaft Alignment on a Caterpillar!

Maintenance worker looks at 1000 hp Caterpillar engine attached to a pump in an industrial setting.

Aligning motors to pumps, fans, compressors, etc., it’s what we do. But occasionally we get to assist a customer perform some real “millwright” work! Case in point – a 1000HP Caterpillar engine, driving a backup floodwater pump for a large municipality in the southeast US. This pump is critical to prevent flood water from mixing…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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.…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More