In the past, maintenance mechanics learned alignment through apprenticeship programs or by working with other experienced maintenance mechanics. Some were taught in-house through training programs or through local community colleges. Many of these eventually moved up into manager or supervisor positions and brought with them a good understanding of aligning machinery. In today’s environment, this is not always the case.
Maintenance has become more technical. Proficiency in many fields is required including computerized controls, vibration analysis and other reliability technologies, engineering and manufacturing expertise. As such, maintenance and reliability professionals are often engineering graduates with some understanding of machine design and rotor dynamics, but little experience in the actual alignment of machinery.
We at VibrAlign have had many discussions about how we could educate these new managers and help them in their developing careers. Some of the items we think would be beneficial to discuss in a class would be:
- What alignment is, and is not
- Alignment tolerances
- Associated machinery problems that effect alignment quality
- How alignment affects vibration, energy usage, unplanned downtime and quality
- How to effectively communicate alignment issues with maintenance
- How to serve as a resource to the maintenance department
Many of you readers are experienced engineers with a vast knowledge regarding alignment. What do you think should be in an alignment class for new engineers? How can we as maintenance professionals spread our knowledge to the bright new future?