Categories: Machine Tool Measurement,Shaft Alignment,Other Topics

Machine Tool Spindle Alignment

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By on September 10, 2015

Precision shaft alignment of general industrial equipment, such as pumps and compressors, requires precision. But alignment of machine tool spindles and components requires an even greater level of accuracy. Precision alignment of machine tool spindles can improve product quality & finish, reduce scrap, re-work, broken tooling, and improve cutting tool life.

There are numerous configurations of machine tool spindles, columns, turrets, and fixtures. Often, these are aligned using dial indicators. The aligner is constrained to the accuracy of the indicator (often 0.001″), the brackets and bars used, and their understanding of alignment math. In some cases, this may indeed be precise enough. But the prevalence of today’s high speed CNC machining, and very close tolerances held in many machining operations, may require a greater degree of accuracy.

Realize that, from a spindle alignment standpoint, true “zero” misalignment is not possible. Even precision spindles have bearing clearances which can affect alignment values. The goal is to align the spindles to within a smaller tolerance than that of the parts being machined, so that quality standards and precision are not compromised by the spindle alignment.

Fixturlaser’s NXA can often be configured to perform these spindle alignments, to accuracy levels in 0.0001″ increments, or a few microns. In addition, with the optional geometric measurement fixtures, machine ways, slides, tables can be precisely adjusted and checked, from distances of a few inches up to 150 feet.

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Not only can the Fixturlaser NXA make these highly precise measurements, it can calculate the shim and adjustment correction values easily and accurately, and can display live movements to guide the technician toward quick, easy, and accurate adjustments.

For more information, please contact VibrAlign.

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.

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