August 20, 2015
Precision Shaft Alignment Training – Should You Learn Dials First?
By Michael Keohane
Proper training is a critical component to success when using precision shaft alignment tools. This is true regardless of the measurement methodology. I often hear people say that it is important to learn dial indicator shaft alignment first to gain a better understanding of the alignment process.
Really? After all, you don’t need to learn to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission before you learn to drive one with an automatic!
It can leave the impression that the measurement tool does the alignment when in fact we know that isn’t true at all and that a properly trained technician is the key to success.
Proper training doesn’t just focus on the shaft alignment tool but on the overall job.
- What needs to happen before I even measure the alignment condition?
- What do I do when the alignment doesn’t go smoothly?
- What do the numbers really mean?
- Can I picture what the machine I am aligning is telling me?
This can and should be done with both lasers and dials. You can graph the dial indicator values to better “see” the misaligned machines and can also graph the laser values if you feel it helps.
While precision shaft alignment isn’t a one size fits all discipline, my belief is that if you are using dial indicators train on dial indicators and if you are using lasers train on lasers. If you are using both you should certainly learn both but make sure that the connection is made between the dial measurement and the laser measurement.
There are more similarities than differences and the end result will be the same.