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Machine Reliability News and Product Updates

September 9th, 2021

In general, laser shaft alignment systems have increased the ability to eliminate misalignment defects.  There are many systems on the market, with varying capabilities, but the core benefit has been that the computer and laser work together to create an alignment report that can be used to assess and determine corrective action. With advances in the interface and measurement technology, the skill required to take measurements has been reduced when compared to older methods, such as dial indicators.  Thus, more users can perform the job with less training for the task of gathering the measurements.  Unfortunately, this convenience has in some cases resulted in the good practices of the fundamentals of shaft alignment falling by the wayside, given the perceived ease of use.  It has gone so far that some systems have…

August 17th, 2021

Shaft Alignment is a critical step in any world-class maintenance program, and when done properly, can help decrease unscheduled downtime and keep equipment running longer and more efficiently. This means machines need to be aligned within the recommended tolerances based on the RPM of the equipment. However, this is sometimes easier said than done, especially if any residual soft foot is present, or due to bad geometry in the movable piece of equipment. If you find yourself struggling to complete an alignment to tolerance, here are some tips that, when combined with Ludeca’s 5-Step Shaft Alignment Procedure, may help you complete the alignment faster and with less frustration. Get the position of the front feet close to the alignment offset tolerance. Once the front feet are close to or within the…

August 2nd, 2021

Saving short-term money at the cost of long-term loss could never be a good idea. Soft foot is one of the most prevalent problems in rotating machinery, and the improper use of shims is one of the bad guys. This is way too common and is the cause of countless machinery problems worldwide. But let’s not let that happen. Instead, let us guide you through the ideal shims procedure, for an easier alignment task. 1. INITIAL CHECK For safety, always remember lockout and tagout of the machine. Then you can go about inspecting the foundation, grout, and baseplate with your eyes. If there is rust, scale, paint, or dirt, remove all of this from under and around the feet. Then you replace damaged shims with new ones, that are corrosion…

June 28th, 2021

OIL FILTER PERFORMANCE RATINGS You may have heard someone say, “a filter is a filter.”  Although catchy, this phrase is very misleading.  It is said assuming any filter will get the job done.  Not all filters and lubricants are created equally.  There is no one size fits all in this world of lubrication.  Lubricants and filters must be selected based on the application.  So why do we view oil as a consumable instead of an asset? Why do we see changing oil filters as a task that we complete off a schedule or perform filtration only when the oil lab says the oil is dirty?  An oil filter to our oil is like a liver to our blood.  With that understanding, we can appreciate the importance of proper filter selection…

June 1st, 2021

Belt-driven rotating equipment is commonly found in all types of facilities. Typical applications include rolls, fans, motors, shafts, and blowers. It is important to maintain that equipment in order to increase its reliability. Maintenance is essential in today’s industrial environment to ensure assets and equipment are running as reliably as they should. Like any part that can wear over time, belt-driven equipment should be periodically inspected.  This includes the inspection of the pulleys, sheaves, and belts. Worn belts and sheaves should be replaced. Belts should be properly tensioned and the equipment aligned. It is important to have quantitative values so that the condition of the machine can be evaluated and monitored over time. One way this can be accomplished is through ultrasound and vibration readings. Another value that can be…

May 19th, 2021

When performing shaft alignment, the best way to accomplish the horizontal (side-to-side) corrections is using jack bolts. You do not want to hit your machines with a hammer in order to move them. Always remember to back off the jack bolts on the opposite side. Remember that once you are done with your side-to-side correction, we recommend that you always back off all jack bolts after the alignment is completed and the anchor bolts are tight. WHERE TO PUT THE JACK BOLTS ON YOUR MACHINE? Place the jack bolts in such a way that they do not interfere with the shimming and allow you to pivot the machine you are moving. See figures 1 and 2 below.

May 7th, 2021

Belt driven machines are the Rodney Dangerfield of the maintenance industry – “they don’t get no respect!” For example, look at the image below. Belt driven machines do need a little bit more TLC than they currently get. I want to show you two innovations that will greatly improve your maintenance efforts on these highly efficient drives. I also want to show you why the general way in which we work with belt drives is a good example of what keeps reliability unachievable for many. First let me say that there are some individuals/organizations who really understand the value of doing this work right. I am reminded of a gentleman called Gary Burger who wrote a very good article on improving the efficiency of belt drives.  He says that he…

April 26th, 2021

A FEW THINGS THAT SHOULD ALWAYS BE INSPECTED DURING BELT PM’S ARE: Inspect grooves for V-belts for wear using a sheave gauge following supplier recommendations.Rusted or pitted sheaves should be replaced. Otherwise, belt damage/wear and premature failure can easily result.Shiny grooves should not be overlooked and can indicate heavy wear.Corrosion on the sheave and especially in the grooves will build up and rapidly wear the belt and result in premature failure. Sheaves should be replaced if corrosion is found.Bent sides can introduce wear and damage.Replace all belts and never a single belt. Mixing old and new belts results in the load not being shared evenly and could easily lead to damage, premature belt failure and sheave wear.The same manufacturer should always be used. In other words, do not mix and…

April 13th, 2021

A pump housing must be installed so that the surface is flat and level to the required installation tolerances. Doing so requires great precision and ideally the task would be easy to accomplish. In the application below, the user needed to perform such a measurement.  This task was usually reserved for a separate crew that would bring over optics or theodolites to perform the measurements. In this case, the crew was not available and they needed an accurate measurement that day. Application and Photo courtesy of Aneesh Francis with Measurements and Automation Systems The Easy-Laser E920 system was on hand for a shaft alignment application.  This system also happened to have the compact and versatile D-22 rotating laser for flatness and level measurements.  In a quick setup, both pump housings were measured…

March 1st, 2021

When a failure occurs, one of two things happen: 1. A Failure Analysis program kicks in to figure out what truly caused the failure in order to eliminate the condition that caused that specific failure. Or… 2.The easiest thing to see gets blamed. That “blame game” can be influenced by factors that have nothing to do with that specific failure, like past experiences, mechanical prejudices (preferring one brand over another), personal differences (doubting another’s workmanship), and even possibly looking to sweep the whole problem “under the rug” to distance someone from that blame. When it comes to the failure of a crankshaft, or any other component of a rotating assembly, alignment is one of the things often brought up, like a “low hanging fruit”. This is why having a proper…