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Shaft Alignment Training to Keep your Business Running Safely

Shaft alignment involves aligning more than one shaft to a certain margin for them to coexist and work effectively, and this is a necessity before any machinery is installed for use. Alignment is carried out with the aim of bringing the shafts within a close proximity to form a straight a line. If the shafts are not in a straight line, it results in angular misalignment or offset misalignment or a combination both of them.

Accurate shaft alignment increases the rotating machinery’s operating lifespan. In order to achieve this, components that are highly likely to malfunction must be allowed to operate within their design limits. Shaft alignment ensures efficient and smooth power transmission to the driven equipment.

Alignment of machinery requires extra care and attention. For many establishments, this remains an unpredictable, time and resource consuming job. Misalignment and its associated impacts such as equipment damage and vibrations are core issues for any equipment, especially large or high-speed machinery. Hence, manufacturers, operators, contractors and maintenance parties have to realize the importance of alignment in ensuring successful operation and durability of the machines.

Shaft Misalignment

Almost half of all costs related to the breakdown of rotating machines are directly related to shaft misalignments. Proper alignment can cut down a considerable amount of machine breakdown and cut on unplanned downtime due to repairs. Accurate shaft alignment is more important today than it has ever been given the challenges faced by organizations in trying to cut costs and optimize the productivity of the machines. Regular maintenance is key to ensuring that machinery works effectively and efficiently, and some of the activities conducted during the maintenance are lubrication and shaft alignment processes.

There’s a considerably high increase in the risk of unnecessary downtime when shafts and belts of rotating machines are misaligned. Seal damage brought about by shafts that are improperly aligned is often the cause of lubrication problems. This means that seal replacement won’t prevent the others from being faulty and only shaft alignment will be the solution.

Shaft misalignment gives rise to distress on different parts of the machinery and this causes a series of potential faults that will cost the company’s bottom line:

  • Increased friction, excessive wear, excessive consumption of energy, and the probability of machine breakdown
  • Bearings and seals get excessive wear and thus become faulty
  • Excessive leakage of seal lubricant
  • Failure of foundation bolts and couplings
  • Excessive noise and vibrations

Although on rare occasions, couplings may stand excess misalignment in the shafts and belts and might function normally, it’s definite that bearings and seals will fail when there is a case of misalignment. This is because seals and bearings are recipients of the harmonic running of the machines and not knocking forces that happen in case of misalignment.

Types of Shaft Misalignment

Shaft misalignment occurs in three forms:

  1. Angular misalignment– this occurs when there’s an angle mismatch on the left, right, above or below when the motor is being fitted on the driven equipment. If there would be a projection on centerlines of both the motor and the driven equipment, then they would cross each other instead of running along through or superimposing a common centerline. This misalignment can cause great damage to both the motor and the driven equipment.
  2. Parallel misalignment– this form of misalignment happens when two centerlines are parallel to each other but not in the same line. They are displaced to the right or left, vertically or horizontally, or positioned at varying elevations.
  3. Combination misalignment– this is a combination of both angular and parallel misalignments

Warning Signs

If you feel increased vibration and hear unusual noise, you should not ignore those warning signs. In assessing whether your equipment needs to undergo shaft alignment, all senses should be involved. The smell of overheating grease, chemical leaks, and the presence of unusual stains are all diagnostic clues. For safety purposes, all individuals in a plant must be alert for any unusual occurrence.

Aligning shafts can pose an array of dangers. Fortunately, the risks associated can be mitigated through safe work practices. Your equipment is only as safe as people handling it. It’s important for your employees to be trained regularly in working safely when aligning shafts. Training should include proper operations as well as how to check for diagnostic clues. When you replace or upgrade machines, workers should be exposed to periodic safety training, to keep themselves and their co-workers safe. It’s worth noting that workers cannot benefit from safety training if they won’t apply it when the need arises.

The Shaft Alignment with Laser seminar from NTT Inc. is the perfect way to have formally trained employees who can identify the symptoms of misaligned shafts and how to correct the problem safely. Contact our representatives today and enroll your employees in the seminar.

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