An often overlooked use for precision shaft alignment tools is to utilize them as part of a preventative maintenance (PM) program. Performing alignment testing regularly on critical machines can help in early identification of misalignment and alignment-related problems, thus minimizing the risk of unplanned downtime, increased parts costs, and more frequent component replacement.
While it can be helpful on any coupled machine, it is especially beneficial on the following families of equipment:
- Turbines (gas, wind, steam). These machines can often go through large temperature hanges on a regular basis. These changes in temperature can cause movement in piping, foundations, etc.
- Refrigerant Chillers. Chiller compressors are often mounted on top of the machine, making the aligned components susceptible to unintended movement.
- Chilled Water, Condenser Water, and Feed Water Pumps. Temperature changes in the piping and pumps can cause movement of the machines, especially if the machine bases are not of sufficient mass.
- Extruders. Again, due to the large swings in temperature, machines can move over a period of time.
- Hammer Mills, Crushers, etc. Just due to the nature of their work, they can have unintended movement, even when rigidly bolted.
Even if you don’t have any of these types of machines, alignment PM testing offers other benefits:
- An opportunity to inspect the couplings and seals.
- A good chance to practice with the alignment tool, which helps proficiency.
An alignment check is quick, easy, and can help catch small problems before they become big ones.
For more information, visit VibrAlign.com