Categories: Shaft Alignment,Machinery Maintenance

Short-cuts, a way to make Precision Shaft Alignment take longer.

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By on February 12, 2016

I love my job, I love conducting precision shaft alignment training at various facilities across this great country and interacting with industrial maintenance technicians that have suffered through or are suffering through the same issues I did. I love proving over and over again that the VibrAlign method of precision shaft alignment is the best method anywhere.

Here was the scenario at a recent precision shaft alignment training class. Normally the training includes performing a field alignment on a piece of equipment in the client’s facility. For this particular alignment, a newly installed 250 HP motor driving a gear reducer driving an extruder was chosen. When we arrived at the jobsite the nightshift was just completing the installation but had not yet begun the precision alignment. It was time for the dayshift crew to complete the alignment.

There were several things that were observed initially.

First the shims were stacked up like cord wood, in other words there were far too many, more than the recommended 4 maximum. Secondly there were a mixture of different sizes and materials of shims, rusty, painted, bent, anyway not a good start.


The team decided to put the laser on and see how close the rough alignment was. Not close, 250 mils out to start. Soft foot was also detected as was a bolt bound situation when an attempt was made to complete the alignment skipping the pre-alignment steps.

Here is the long and short of this example.

After spending 2 plus hours loosening and tightening bolts and getting frustrated, I suggested we take a break and talk about what would alleviate this source of frustration. Everyone agreed we needed to pull all the shims, clean the base and feet, perform the pre-alignment steps THEN perform the precision shaft alignment with the Fixturlaser System.

From the start of this process to completion it took 37 minutes! Success! And a bunch of very happy maintenance technicians!

There have been several very good blogs on this subject, and if you have not seen our video on pre-alignment steps I have attached it to this blog.



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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