May 23, 2014
The Fastest Way to Do an Alignment
By Tom Shelton
According to our resident alignment training “philosopher” Stan Riddle, “The fastest way to complete a precision shaft alignment is to take your time”. This doesn’t mean to take numerous breaks, what he is telling us is to stop and think!
As Industrial Mechanics, usually in a production environment, we tend to try and complete a job as fast as possible. This is primarily due to the pressure of down machines and the cost of production downtime. When we do an alignment we sometimes try to take short cuts to save time and labor. This type of action usually ends up wasting more time than if we had followed a specific plan, step by step.
VIBRALIGN has spent many years in developing a training program to show you the essential steps to complete an alignment with minimal moves and in minimal time utilizing Fixturlaser Alignment Systems. While it is up to you as a mechanic to look at all aspects of a job, the essential, absolute steps you must perform are;
- Rough align your machines.
- Eliminate obvious soft foot.
- Establish a tightening sequence for the hold down bolts.
- Correct final soft foot. (Residual Soft Foot).
At times we are instructed to “Go out and check” an alignment. If we find that the machines are not aligned to within the correct tolerance, would it be acceptable to just loosen up the movable machine feet and put some shims in or take them out to correct as the laser system illustrates?
Experience tells us that if we have to loosen any hold down bolts we might as well start at the beginning. Remove the shims, clean it all up and start from scratch. More often than not, the result of trying to shortcut the process ends up wasting valuable time. Following the essential steps will result in the most efficient alignment process. Take a shortcut and you will likely send yourself back to the beginning of the process to start again.
Remember, “The fastest way to do an alignment is to take your time”.