Categories: Shaft Alignment,Machinery Maintenance,Other Topics


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By on November 14, 2018

This month marks my 41st year of being involved in industrial maintenance. Early on during my apprenticeship in a machine shop, as an outside machinist, I thought living long enough to know everything was not going to be possible. Even now I am reminded of this from time to time. I am also reminded that what I do know came from someone else or a combination of others and many lessons via the school of hard knocks.

Recently I had the privilege of working with some savvy millwrights to come up with a solution for a complicated vertical alignment. Here is a picture with some description.

The circled area is where the vertical alignment needed to be performed. Just to give you an idea of the size of this piece of equipment, that coupling alone weighs over 500 pounds. Notice also that the gearbox has six feet and the output shaft is offset from the center. After losing several of these very expensive, very heavy couplings, it was time to get back to the basics and get some precision alignment training from VibrAlign. I personally had never performed an alignment on one of these, so we had to come up with a solution together. That’s collaboration!

So, what was the solution? We started with the basics, they never change. The pre-alignment steps. Rough alignment, eliminate obvious soft foot, tightening sequence and final soft foot check. See VibrAlign training videos for more detail. In this situation, making corrections in the live screen of the Fixturlaser EVO was the best solution.

Sometimes the only road block or solution is between our ears. This was a challenge, but also fun coming up with the solution together.

About the Author

Mac was a Journeyman Millwright at a Kimberly-Clark paper mill in Washington State before moving into a Maintenance Team Leader position. Later, he moved to Kentucky where he went to work for Wausau Paper as Maintenance Team Leader on a new mill start-up. This is where Mac was first introduced to VibrAlign. “I was so impressed with the people, passion, and products of VibrAlign. I had always hoped to one day give back some of the knowledge I have been fortunate enough to gain from others in my field. VibrAlign has given me that opportunity.”

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