Categories: Shaft Alignment,Machinery Maintenance,Other Topics

The Cure for Alignment Frustration!

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By on June 28, 2017

A customer called me, extremely frustrated, because he could not get a good alignment.  “I’ve spent two hours trying to align this stupid pump!” he said.  He blamed the laser, the “cheap” pump his company had, the bad base, his bad trainer (me), and anything else that came to mind.

I did not take it personally, because I’ve been there too!  I listened to his frustrations, and let him vent.  And after a few minutes, I interrupted the “venting”, and said, “If you’ll give me two minutes, I’ll tell you how you can fix it.”

The secret – start all over again, and follow the steps.

  • Take out all of the shims, clean up the feet and base a little.
  • Rough the alignment in-just get it “eyeball” close.
  • Get rid of soft foot. Start with the worst foot, and work your way down.  Don’t concentrate on making soft foot perfect-just make it better.
  • Tighten the motor hold down bolts in the same order, each time.
  • Do what the laser says do.

I received an email from him the next day, thanking me for my help, and letting me know achieving alignment was fast, simple, and repeatable.

The secret-there isn’t one.  Alignment frustration isn’t new, but it is treatable!

When laser alignment tools are not repeatable, it’s not the laser – IT’S YOU.

It’s easy to take a short cut, put in an incorrect shim, or an incorrect value in the laser.  And when you do, you’ll end up frustrated, just like this guy did.

Step away.  Get a cup of coffee.  Get your mind off the alignment for just a few minutes.  Then start all over, and don’t skip any steps.

The cure for alignment frustration is ALWAYS a good alignment!

Save Time. Save Money. Save the Machine.

About the Author

Stan Riddle joined VibrAlign in 2008. He has over 35 years experience in aligning industrial machinery. Stan received his AAS Degree in Machinist Technology from Surry Community College in Dobson, NC, and also holds a diploma in Industrial Systems Technology from Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, NC, where he was also an instructor in the program.

Stan began his maintenance career working as a machinist and millwright for companies such as Weyerhaeuser, R.J. Reynolds, and Tyco Electronics. He also has over 25 years experience in Predictive Technologies, such as vibration analysis, thermography, oil analysis, and ultrasonic inspection. He is a certified Level III Vibration Analyst with the Vibration Institute, and is a Past Chairman and Board Member of the Piedmont Chapter.

Stan and his wife live in Yadkinville, NC.

One response to “The Cure for Alignment Frustration!”

  1. Paul Brokaw says:

    I have been down that same road of “frustration”. I now have techs under me with the same frustration, calling me stating there is “something wrong with the laser tool”, “it needs to be sent in for calibration”. When 1 week ago I used the same alignment tool and did 2-3 alignments with “excellent” results. 8 years ago when in training with the Vibralign Laser Alignment tool, the instructor “tricked” us and loosen the rods on the brackets. The reason behind it was simple. Human mistakes, short cuts and errors will and do happen. But if you stop, step back and start over you will find where you made your mistake. Especially if you have 1 laser tool that multiple techs use and are pressure from management and customers.
    The result of my techs frustration was the Friday before I was training a new tech and had purposely loosened the rods on the brackets to the tech in training and the machine was then put away with loose rods and when used in the field the rods where never checked, causing frustration.
    The end result is the people at Vibralign have been doing this for many years and are a wonderful source of knowledge! Absorb all the knowledge you can from each and everyone one of them and always keep that knowledge in “your tool box”, because you will need it no matter how many years you have under your belt.

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