Tips to Diagnose and Fix Misalignment

Common misalignments can happen to machines in several ways, but if not fixed, the problem can reduce the longevity of seals, shafts, bearings, and couplings.

More than 50% of machine failures occur due to misalignment that can be resolved by a soft-foot correction, dial indicator alterations, or laser alignment. Moreover, today’s technology makes it easier to identify misalignment issues in machinery. Once diagnosed, different tools and equipment can handle these challenges to achieve precise machinery alignment.

Know the Types of Misalignment

For an accurate diagnosis, you must have complete knowledge about the different types and magnitudes of misalignment.

  • Parallel misalignment – occurs when two shafts don’t exist on a parallel plane. While their centerlines may be parallel, the actual centerline is offset.
  • Vertical angled and offset misalignment – it occurs a shaft is offset and unusually angled than the other shaft along the vertical plane.
  • Horizontal angled and offset misalignment – it’s a compound misalignment that occurs when a shaft is offset and unusually angled than the other shaft along the horizontal plane.
  • Vertical angle misalignment – occurs when the angle of a shaft is different from the angle of another one on a vertical plane.
  • Horizontal angle misalignment – occurs when the angle of a shaft is different from another on a horizontal plane.
Mechanical seal wear plate

Thermography – Misalignment Detection Technique

An increase in friction indicates misalignment as the offset or angular shafts may be pulling against one another more than often. As a result, this increases the temperature of the machine in the affected area. Thermography helps measure these hot spots to determine where the problem is occurring.

Carry out Vibration Analysis

Though every machine has an optimum vibration level, there are instances when these vibrations increase or exceed normal parameters. Some of the common reasons for vibration include resonance, unbalance, looseness and misalignment. Accelerometers are used to measure vibrations. Once these signals are obtained with a data collector, a vibration analyst can diagnose the machine’s faults.

Identify the Causes of Misalignment

The main triggers of machinery misalignment include settling a baseplate in the soft foot or shaft deformation due to torsion during startup. Moreover, insufficient or poor-quality alignment measurements because of human error may create technical issues. Pipe strains might as well result in angular and parallel misalignment.

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For more information, call us at 800-662-0585.

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