Alignment tools

Shaft alignment

Reduce machinery breakdowns by up to 50% and increase your uptime
It’s a fact. Shaft misalignment is responsible for up to 50% of all costs related to rotating machinery breakdowns. Accurately aligning shafts can prevent a large number of machinery breakdowns and reduce unplanned downtime that results in a loss of production. In today’s challenging environment of reducing costs and optimizing assets, the necessity of accurate shaft alignment is now greater than ever.

What is shaft misalignment?
Machines need to be aligned in both horizontal and vertical plane. The misalignment can be due to parallel or angular misalignment and in fact is a combination of both.

Incorrect and correct shaft alignment

A. Parallel misalignment (or offset)
B. Angular misalignment
C. Correct alignment

The possible consequences of shaft misalignment are serious to any company’s bottom line and include:
  • Increased friction and thereby energy consumption
  • Premature bearing and seal failure
  • Premature shaft and coupling failure 
  • Excessive seal lubricant leakage 
  • Failure of coupling and foundation bolts 
  • Increased vibration and noise

What methods can be used to align shafts?

A. Straight edge: Accuracy = poor, Speed = good, Ease of use = good
B. Dial indicators: Accuracy = good, Speed = poor, Ease of use = poor
C. Laser shaft alignment: Accuracy = good, Speed = good, Ease of use = good

In summary, it's clear that laser alignment systems are quicker and easier to use than dial indicators, have better accuracy and don’t require special skills to get accurate results virtually every time.

Which type of laser alignment system should be considered?
Before considering purchasing a system, identify the applications where it is to be used and make a list of requirements. Buying an expensive system that can accommodate virtually every need can be a costly mistake, as the technicians need to be skilled in using it. The majority of alignment tasks consist of such things as a horizontally placed electric motor with a pump or fan with a single coupling. For such tasks, the technician needs a system that is quick and easy to use and doesn’t need a long set up time.

To complete the alignment task, the motor often has to be moved, both sideways and in height. For this operation, shims must be used. SKF offers a comprehensive range of precision machinery shims to suit most applications, available in single packs or in cased sets.
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