1660318715014 1902alignment1

Your checklist for precision collinear alignment

Feb. 25, 2019
These rotating shaft coupling alignment basics will help you keep everything straight.

You’ve heard the adage “look before you leap.” Do you also look before you align? When conducting rotating shaft centerline alignment, it’s imperative that you perform proper preliminary steps. Even though laser alignment systems are taking the place of traditional alignment practices, it is vital to adhere to best practices before and during the alignment process.

I often hear maintenance mechanics and millwrights use the phrase “coupling alignment,” but this is actually a misnomer. “Rotating equipment shaft centerline alignment” is a mouthful, but it’s a more-precise description. The centerlines of the two pieces of rotating equipment must be made collinear.

Laser systems alone do not magically ensure that machine centerlines will be collinear. The technician still has to make the moves. Think of old-school compass orienteering – someone has to do the legwork. Even with modern GPS, which tells you where you are and how to get where you want to go, you still have to take action to get there. And along the way, some hills and valleys need to be considered.

It is also important to understand that flexible shaft couplings allow for some misalignment, depending on the type, but they have limits, as well. Moment loads and forces don’t disappear; rather, they show up in the form of heat or result in distortion in the machine’s components.

Why perform precision alignment? Simply, for this reason: We want to ensure a long service life of both connected machines and reduce downtime.

What are the results of precision collinear alignment?

  • Reduced power consumption
  • Lowered bearing and operating temperatures
  • Extended bearing life
  • Lessened shaft fatigue
  • Decreased coupling wear
  • Minimized vibration
  • Prevention of seal failure
  • Assurance of proper rotor and impeller clearances
  • More-precise manufacturing

Here, then, is your collinear alignment checklist to help you achieve precision alignment:

The race isn’t always to the swift, but to those who keep on going. In a similar way, the alignment victory belongs to those who are precise.

Sponsored Recommendations

Arc Flash Prevention: What You Need to Know

March 28, 2024
Download to learn: how an arc flash forms and common causes, safety recommendations to help prevent arc flash exposure (including the use of lockout tagout and energy isolating...

Reduce engineering time by 50%

March 28, 2024
Learn how smart value chain applications are made possible by moving from manually-intensive CAD-based drafting packages to modern CAE software.

Filter Monitoring with Rittal's Blue e Air Conditioner

March 28, 2024
Steve Sullivan, Training Supervisor for Rittal North America, provides an overview of the filter monitoring capabilities of the Blue e line of industrial air conditioners.

Limitations of MERV Ratings for Dust Collector Filters

Feb. 23, 2024
It can be complicated and confusing to select the safest and most efficient dust collector filters for your facility. For the HVAC industry, MERV ratings are king. But MERV ratings...