Get it straight: The latest alignment technologies

Feb. 9, 2021
Sheila Kennedy explores alignment tools and technologies to keep your physical assets positioned for productivity.

Maintaining proper alignment is crucial to ensuring uptime, safety, and asset longevity. Industrial laser alignment tools improve the process of establishing alignment as well as identifying and correcting misalignment of equipment and components. Specialized services and technologies make sure even the most unique application challenges are met.

About the Author: Sheila Kennedy

Simplified belt alignment

For equipment using pulleys and belts to transmit power from drive motors to the device, it is important that pulley alignment is checked and adjusted routinely to prevent expensive repairs and equipment downtime, advises Bill Seiffert, founder of Seiffert Industrial. The company’s Pulley PRO Green belt alignment tool is made in America and designed to be fast and easy to use, without special training.

“Pulleys that are misaligned, whether the misalignment is parallel or angular, may result in excess wear and premature failure of components,” says Seiffert. “The Pulley PRO Green uses our proven reflected laser beam technology for maximum angular resolution,” he adds. Its green laser beam, which is 10 times brighter than red, shows angularity, parallel, and offset simultaneously.

The XT190 belt transmission alignment (BTA) tool from Easy-Laser is digital, wireless, and magnetically mounted. It can be used stand-alone with its built-in display unit or optionally connected via Bluetooth to the display unit for any Easy-Laser shaft alignment system. The digital capability of the XT190 BTA tool “allows a technician to do true precision alignment on their sheaves and sprockets, while aiding their maintenance departments to rely on a well-documented alignment task that will improve the performance and reliability of their belt- and chain-driven equipment,” says Adam Stredel, mechanical applications engineer at Ludeca, Easy-Laser’s U.S. distributor.

Streamlined shaft alignment

Shaft alignment technology has come a long way since the days of the dial indicator for the rim and face method, observes Bob Young, PdM analyst at IVC Technologies, a provider of condition-based monitoring (CBM) and machinery alignment services for industrial organizations.

“The ROTALIGN touch is the laser alignment tool of my choice because of its user-friendly interface and superior technology,” says Young. “However, alignments are still only as good as the technician. A sound knowledge of tolerances and visual inspection is key before starting a successful across-coupling alignment.”

The Stealth Series S-680 5-Axis Laser Shaft Alignment System from Hamar Laser Instruments is among the tools used by Condition Monitoring Services, an equipment reliability consulting company specializing in predictive maintenance services and programs. The system’s Dual-Beam PSD technology allows simultaneous offset and angle measurement with one position sensing detector.

Justin Pope, Level III Field Analyst at Condition Monitoring Services, says Hamar Laser systems save time by allowing the user to make accurate horizontal and vertical adjustments simultaneously while viewing in Live Mode. “The sunshade attachment is one of my favorite features; no more rigging up a tarp or tent to keep the sun from interfering with the laser while performing an alignment,” Pope adds.

Specialty applications

Measuring roll parallelism requires unique skills and tools, such as those offered with the Peak Roll and Geometrical Alignment (RGA) service from Prüftechnik. “This total alignment solution combines ParAlign gyroscopic technology with a laser tracker device, making it the fastest way to align multiple roller machines and surrounding structures in less than a day without compromising accuracy,” says Eric Elder, Prüftechnik’s service manager for the Americas.

The Peak RGA service is performed at companies when their machines are offline. Prüftechnik alignment experts use the non-optical ParAlign measurement tool to quickly measure the parallelism of rolls in production installations. They also use laser alignment methods as needed or when aligning complex 3D geometries.

Laser devices from Laser Tools Co. solve alignment problems in industrial, commercial, mining, and marine environments. Solutions include underground mining alignment lasers, laser docking systems, laser forklift systems, pathway lasers, and underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) laser scalers. “In other words, we use lasers to make fancy strings and dots that solve a myriad of industry alignment and measurement problems,” says Joe Wortsmith, the company’s founder and director of engineering.

For instance, mining and tunneling applications are served by Laser Tools Co. mining alignment lasers certified for use in hazardous environments, especially methane-air mixtures, by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Technology Toolbox

This article is part of our monthly Technology Toolbox column. Read more from Sheila Kennedy.

About the Author

Sheila Kennedy | CMRP

Sheila Kennedy, CMRP, is a professional freelance writer specializing in industrial and technical topics. She established Additive Communications in 2003 to serve software, technology, and service providers in industries such as manufacturing and utilities, and became a contributing editor and Technology Toolbox columnist for Plant Services in 2004. Prior to Additive Communications, she had 11 years of experience implementing industrial information systems. Kennedy earned her B.S. at Purdue University and her MBA at the University of Phoenix. She can be reached at [email protected] or

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