Why Shaft Alignment?

ludeca KIR 200px Why Shaft Alignment?A couple of months ago, I attended the annual Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) Trade Show in Duluth as a part of the L&S Electric team. I walked the exhibition hall and came upon the LUDECA booth and discovered a truly well-done brochure regarding the role shaft alignment plays in equipment reliability.

I’d like to thank LUDECA for their permission to share this information.

Why Alignment

Reliability starts with precision shaft alignment

Extend machine availability and efficiency

Pruftechnic logo Why Shaft Alignment?Precision alignment pays back

Rotating machinery is susceptible to misalignment. Machines that are well aligned at the commissioning stage and thereafter regularly maintained, will in the long-term reduce both plant operating and maintenance costs.

Laser precision alignment extends machine availability as the Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) increases. It protects assets and increases product quality, asvibration is reduced to very low levels.

When misaligned, the loading of the shafts dramatically increases due to the reaction forces created within the coupling.

Precision alignment guarantees:

  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Reduction in bearing, seal, shaft and coupling failure
  • Reduced bearing and coupling temperatures
  • Reduced vibration No breaking (or cracking) of shafts
  • Secure foundation bolts

Accurate shaft alignment contributes in more than one way towards great savings and a cleaner environment.

The effect of increased coupling loading due to misalignment can readily be shown using infrared thermography.

1out Why Shaft Alignment?1. In this case, the flexible coupling element heats up. The machine develops elevated temperatures, particularly around the bearing housings.

2within Why Shaft Alignment?

2. Precision alignment drastically reduces factors that may cause machinery breakdown.

3 benefits of precision alignment

1. Reduced energy consumption

Effects on power consumption Significant power savings can be made through accurate alignment. Precise alignment eliminates reaction forces and reduces energy consumption by up to 10%. (Courtesy of © ICI PLC)

2. Reduced repair incidences

Mechanical seal repairs Mechanical seal repairs decline by up to 65% when precision alignment is carried out on a regular basis. (Courtesy of © HOECHST AG Gendorf / Germany)

Pump repairs

The rate of repairs declines by up to 30% when precision laser alignment becomes an integral part of the pump repair schedule. Maintenance costs are also reduced through lower parts expense and inventory levels. (Courtesy of © HOECHST AG Gendorf/Germany)

3. Longer machine life

Relation between offset and bearing life cycle The smaller the offset misalignment, the higher the expected bearing life cycle. (Courtesy of © The University of Tennessee)

survey1 Why Shaft Alignment?

Traditional shaft alignment methods

Conventional measurement methods possess a low resolution for the adjustment of modern machinery. The straightedge/feeler gauge methods depend on the limited resolution of the human eye. The resulting resolution of 1/10 mm is for most machinery inadequate.

Dial indicators normally have a resolution of 1/100 mm, but calculations tend to be complicated, requiring highly experienced users, and jobs take longer to accomplish. These methods are prone to human influences when reading dial indicator values or computing the alignment condition.

How accurate are dial indicator readings?

sagging indicator Why Shaft Alignment? Sagging indicator brackets

Sag should always be measured before actual alignment readings are taken irrespective of how solid the bracket appears.

low resolution Why Shaft Alignment?Low resolution →

Up to 0.005 mm rounding error may occur with each reading – which easily results in an error of up to 0.04 mm in the calculated results.

sticking jumping 300x182 Why Shaft Alignment?Sticking/jumping dial hands

Sometimes the indicator must be tapped in order for the needle to settle on its final value.

play in mech 300x187 Why Shaft Alignment?Play in mechanical linkages

Slight amounts of looseness may not be noticed, yet produce large errors in results.

reading error 300x235 Why Shaft Alignment?Reading errors

Human errors occur all too often when dials must be read under cramped, poorly lit conditions and severe time constraints.

tilted dial01 300x222 Why Shaft Alignment?Tilted dial indicator

The indicator may not be mounted perpendicular to the measurement surface so that part of the displacement reading is lost.

axial shaft play 300x236 Why Shaft Alignment?Axial shaft play

This can affect face readings taken to measure angularity unless two axially mounted indicators are used.

Advantages of laser shaft alignment

Straightforward alignment procedure


  • Systems are user-friendly and intuitive
  • Quick set-up of the fully assembled ready-to-use sag-free brackets
  • Follow the simple on-screen guidance to enter required machine data.
  • Bracket variety for any shaft or coupling


  • Error-free and accurate measurement with a resolution of
    1 micron (0.00004”)
  • No human reading errors and bracket sag influences
  • Quick on-screen laser beam adjustment
  • Take readings at any desired position


  • Instant display of the coupling & feet values in both horizontal and vertical directions
  • Evaluation of the alignment condition according to coupling tolerance
  • Repeatability of results
  • Reports generated directly from instrument, in conformity with ISO 9001 requirements

Go Lean and Green: Align the Machine

Shaft alignment contributes in more than one way towards great savings and a greener environment. Precision alignment produces green benefits through energy cost savingsand increased machinery reliability and uptime by reducing stresses on couplings, bearings, shafts, and seals. Well aligned machines produce better quality products through reduced vibration, resulting in less waste and increased production. Better alignment means less pollution by preventing shaft seal failures that lead to leaks and spills.

Updated: Changed LUDECA logo

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