Categories: Shaft Alignment

Help Your Laser Shaft Alignment System See!

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By on November 13, 2014

For precision shaft alignment, nothing beats a good laser alignment tool. But the best of tools can have errors, or not even work at all, if the Sensors (detectors) can’t “see” the laser beams!

We received a customer support call, and the aligner stated that his laser alignment tool wasn’t repeating. This is a rare occurrence, so one of our sales managers talked the user through some basic troubleshooting procedures. Our manager asked this gentleman to take a photo of the laser sensors, and send it to him.

This photo is what he saw! There was so much buildup of grease, grim and dirt on the sensor lenses, the detector couldn’t “see” the laser beam. Another way to put it is the laser beam couldn’t shine through the build up of gunk.


This photo shows the Sensor with clean lenses. Quite the difference!


The lenses of both sensors should be treated like camera lens. The cleaner they are, the better they can see.

To clean the lenses of your sensors:
• Use air to gently blow dirt and particles off the lenses.
• Use a cotton swab, and alcohol, or a good quality glass cleaner.
• Gently wipe the lenses until clean.
• Do not use a shop towel, or dry safety glass wipes, as they could scratch the lens.

This should be done on a regular basis. Even if your facility is fairly clean, dust, oils, solvents, and particulate matter can build up on the glass, making measurements difficult.

So remember, if your laser is giving you inaccurate or non-repeatable measurements, check the lenses to see if they are clean. If you have any doubts-clean them first.

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.

2 responses to “Help Your Laser Shaft Alignment System See!”

  1. […] Mr. Stan Riddle recently wrote a very good article “Help Your Laser Shaft Alignment System See!” […]

  2. Silvio Balieiro says:

    Thank you, good tip.