Our second post in a series of three. Last time, we talked about vibration and the human sense of touch. Today, it’s the sense of sight: laser shaft alignment
Also referred to as coupling alignment, laser shaft alignment involves the act of putting rotating shafts in either one straight line or co-linear. This technique is also often performed with the application of a wide range of tools and methods including dial indicators, laser systems, straight edges and calipers. However, among all of these techniques, the method that offers the most precise result is laser shaft alignment.
The Benefits of Laser Shaft Alignment Systems
There are several benefits linked with shaft alignment. For instance, there are no effects by a bracket sag or gravity to the laser beams. Moreover, tools are rotated to different positions that surrounding the rotational shaft centers. Because of this, the laser is able to measure rotational centers without any impact from the run-out or shaft.
Various shaft alignment systems come with a board software, a tool that can calculate accurate values relevant for horizontal and shimming corrections. On the other hand, there are some shaft alignment systems that make use of measuring modes in tracking the shaft rotational center while in motion. These tools also consider intended and unintended motions, which helps the aligner determine the overall movement created including the right time to stop.
With shaft alignment systems, it is possible to store digitally the alignment values that were corrected. This is essential for record keeping and reference for later use. There are also some systems that include different programs intended to correct and measure the bolt bound or base bound conditions, as well as various shaft alignment concerns.
With the different tools used in laser shaft alignment, it is possible to determine the alignments on a long-term basis. This is mostly a necessity in paper machine and cooling tower applications.
Considering all of these aspects, laser alignment is indeed a must in ensuring higher productivity. As the lifespan of machines is improved, this can result to plant availability and reliability. In the long run, there is a reduction in the total cost of spare parts that are used and consumed. What’s more, this can significantly cut down expenses for maintenance when the plant starts to experience production loss.
Indeed, there are numerous requirements for shaft alignment. Whether it is for satellite antenna up to roll alignment, professionals can gain benefits from a selection of methods and techniques to obtain the alignment and measurement needs.
What You Should Know about Laser Shaft Alignment
Whether for economical or maintenance reasons, the use and construction of motors and pumps with the same shaft is difficult. Furthermore, when there is a perfect alignment in between the different components, then there is no such thing as an issue occurring in this situation. In any instance that there is a misalignment, it is possible for the rigid coupling to become prone to fatigue failure all because of the increased cycles of bending as made visible on the shafts.
Generally, couplings are referred to as mechanical devices that contain moving parts. These parts are also activated during each cycle. However, depending on the coupling type, which is often identified by the loading and speed requirements, the tolerances of couplings may vary. For instance, couplings in the radial motion are often more forgiving than those that take an angular misalignment issue. To put it simply, if there is a severe misalignment, then this can result to more movements of the different part during the coupling. Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons why there is a higher possibility for wear.
Based on these issues, with an improved alignment, the coupling life is also prolonged. While couplings may exist to minimize the necessity to obtain the perfect alignment, it is largely essential for the driver, as well as the machine being operated to enhance the coupling life. Hence, shaft alignment may be attained with a number of techniques such as laser, optical and mechanical.
It is worth noting that mechanical methods, which largely use parallel bars, feeler gauges and dial indicators are known to be tested through time. A huge drawback, though, is that these techniques are greatly dependent on manual interpretation of data. This means, the entire process can be quite tedious and time-consuming.
Primarily, optical methods are utilized when the different components are separated by vast distances or guards. This is also applicable with the involvement of large offsets such as in the case of the universal joint type of shafts.
When implements optical methods, it is important that the ones utilizing this technique has an expertise in it. This is a major requirement as the method is completely dependent on humans when it comes to the interpretation of the data gathered and the calculation of alignments.
At present, laser shaft alignment systems are the widely used means of aligning a wide range of drive systems and industrial shaft. In addition, the ones tasked to perform these techniques are only required to enter specific geometric parameters while rotating the components, which will enable the computer to conduct corrective parameters and an accurate calculation of the alignment.
Importance of Laser Shaft Alignment
While the reasons behind the necessity for shaft alignment have never been quite evident, yet there is an increasing need for alignment in today’s high-technology world. In fact, with an extensive range of optimized machinery, there is no doubt that alignment is an important aspect of regular maintenance. An increasing need for machines to be online regularly means constant maintenance is required to ensure its proper working condition at all times. Once machines break down, this can lead to a significant loss in terms of productivity. Since misalignment is the common cause of breakdowns, this only justifies the great need to keep all units properly aligned.
Various tools are used in performing shaft alignment, although the simplest way is by using a straight edge or ruler placed over the two coupling halves. Then these are aligned carefully manually. Keep in mind that this technique may not yield to precise results, and it is entirely dependent to an operator. Thus, to achieve better outcomes, it helps to use mechanical dial indicators, which an expert operator can monitor and utilize.
However, if you want to attain the finest result at the quickest amount of time, laser alignment systems prove to be your best option. There are no advanced skills required in this technique, and it can yield the most accurate results that will secure the condition of your machinery while boosting productivity.