Saturday, January 23, 2010
BENEFITS OF GOOD MACHINERY ALIGNMENT
Industry worldwide is losing billions of dollars a year due to misalignment of machinery. The
heart and soul of virtually every industrial operation pivots on keeping rotating machinery in
good working order. Countless processes are dependent on the successful operation of
rotating machines that produce electric power, fuels, paper, steel, glass, pharmaceuticals,
the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the buildings we live and work in, and the vehicles that
transport us across the surface of the Earth. Just about everything you see around has
somehow been influenced by rotating machinery of some kind.
The primary objective of accurate alignment is to increase the operating life span of
rotating machinery. To achieve this goal, machinery components that are most likely to fail
must operate well within their design limits. As the parts that are most likely to fail are the
bearings, seals, coupling, and shafts, the accurately aligned machinery will reduce excessive
axial and radial forces on the bearings to insure longer bearing life and rotor stability under
dynamic operating conditions. Precise alignment will reduce the possibility of shaft failure
from cyclic fatigue; it will minimize the amount of wear in the coupling components, alleviate
the amount of shaft bending from the point of power transmission in the coupling to the
coupling end bearing, and it will maintain proper internal rotor clearances.
In a nutshell, accurate alignment will do nothing, but the good things and the key part of
making this happen centers on the people who are responsible for installing, troubleshooting,
maintaining, and operating this machinery.