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Machine Train Shaft Alignment-To Move or Not to Move

Blog posts   •   Jun 17, 2016 06:36 GMT

It is always the question with machine train shaft alignments: what needs to be moved? The best way to approach a multiple machine set shaft alignment project is to know where everything is and where everything needs to be.

This particular auxiliary generator set has 10 pieces of rotating equipment to align. An induction motor in the middle with five pieces going to the north and four pieces going to the south, all rotating at 1800 rpm

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This assessment is tackled by measuring the alignment condition from the induction motor to the first piece north. After this is measured, then the remaining pieces going north will be measured by using the Machine Train program. With the Fixturlaser XA Pro, we can make the machine template with machine names and dimensions and store it in the XA’s memory before the shaft alignment conditions are assessed. When the alignment assessment is needed, just recall the saved fie from memory and measure the rotational centerlines from machine to machine.

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The Results

The induction motor to delivery bridle top generator alignment is clearly within the 1800 rpm tolerances of 0.7 mils/inch angularity and 4.0 mils offset.

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As for the remaining pieces of equipment, the results again meet the correct shaft alignment tolerances.

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Best Fit coupling Values

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Best Fit Foot Values

Now the south generator set needs to be assessed. Remember the induction motor has a shaft that connects to both the north and south stands. After measuring across four couplings, the results are a bit more interesting. The XA Pro has a default “Best Fit” solution that is displayed after the measurements are completed. There are two machines out of alignment (designated by orange values), both Stand 1 and Stand 2 Front Screw Down Generators. The best fit solution has the Stand 2 Front Screw Down Generator with the least amount of correction (shimming less than 90 mils). Let’s not forget that the induction motor is also coupled with the north generator set and that is completely within tolerance. If the induction motor is moved, the north generator set will be out of alignment. The best solution (not necessarily the ‘best fit’) is to select the induction motor by touching the lock over the induction motor and now the assessment can be done to see if there is enough movement both vertically and horizontally to meet the alignment specifications.

As seen in the report below, if the induction motor is now the “fixed” machine, the vertical and horizontal values are recalculated to show the corrections needed in this scenario. The farther away from the fixed machine, the more the correction. The horizontal adjustment will be easily met with a correction at the back foot of Stand 2 Rear Screw Down Generator (far right) of 114 mils. The vertical correction could be more dubious; but, there were over 500 mils of shims at both of the Stand 2 Front and Rear Generators and over 300 mils of shims for both of the Stand 1 Front and Rear Generators.

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In conclusion, a machine train alignment can be completed with much less frustration if the proper tools are utilized. It is always better to see where you are before you start moving equipment around–plan your work then work your plan.

By Brian Shanovich

By Brian Shanovich It is always the question with machine train shaft alignments: what needs to be moved? The best way to approach a multiple machine set shaft alignment project is to know where everything is and where everything needs to be.

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VertiZontal - Most innovative feature of shaft alignment world!

News   •   Jul 13, 2016 11:34 GMT

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Environmental Impact on Precision Shaft Alignment

Blog posts   •   Jul 12, 2016 13:41 GMT

We work with clients in many types of harsh climates, from cold with rain, sleet, snow & ice to hot humid and hot & dry and everything in between. Whatever the climate, the need for equipment maintenance intensifies with the severity of the climate. Harsh climate conditions will create situations where precision shaft alignment of pumps and outdoor equipment may be difficult or near impossible. Increased attention to maintenance will minimize the negative effects of climate on rotating equipment.

In the late summer months last year, I performed shaft alignment training at a facility in a desert environment in the Southwest U.S. During their winter months the climate can be well below freezing and during summer, temps can be 115+ degrees. These extremes in temperatures will cause damage to the rotating machinery as well as the concrete and grout mounting platforms and steel machine skids if precautions are not taken, such as:

  • More frequent PM checks.
  • Additional lubrication frequency.
  • Applying protective coating to exposed concrete and hardware.
  • Taking steps to prevent the infiltration of moisture.

During rainy seasons, moisture will get into cracks and pores in the concrete, then freeze cracking the foundations and mounting platforms. This is a significant issue for areas in the northern part of the country. Foundation cracking/settling is a major cause of previously aligned machines “mysteriously” becoming misaligned. Rust and corrosion build up also contributes to this and makes realignment difficult if not cleaned off.

Foundation 2a

In the Southwest desert areas, the extreme fluctuations in temperature and dryness also cause foundation problems but can cause another unforeseen issue, such as thermal growth problems simply from the changes in ambient air temperature from night to day. During winter the alignment at ambient will often be different than during extremely hot weather due to huge temperature differences. Many parts of the country experience temp swings of 80 to 100+ degrees F from winter to summer. This can cause significant changes to the growth rate of metals. Many outdoor facilities will have their technicians align the critical pump systems twice per year. Once in the cold winter and again in the hot summer.

In coastal areas the constant humidity combined with salty air causes severe rust and corrosion to mounting hardware, couplings and piping. Damage from rust corrosion can be a severe factor for facilities and maintenance teams to deal with.

Rust 1 Rust 2

The above and below pictures are of a pump skid experiencing all of these environmental related issues. The foundation was severely fractured from water infiltrating cracks in the concrete foundation then freezing. The shims and mounting hardware were rusted and corroded and the huge temperature swings were causing misalignment from summer to winter.

Shim 1 shim 2

In one picture you can see that the thermal growth had caused a “bolt bound” situation to where the motor feet bolt holes were slotted so much that the mechanics had to stack washers under the bolt head to provide a enough surface in which to clamp down on. (This is not recommended, however it was what they had to work with at the time until more extensive corrections can be made.)


Damage like this can be minimized with protective coatings applied to the hardware, concrete bases and shims, thermal blankets applied to the pipes and protecting against water, frequent maintenance, cleaning and alignment checks.

By James Pekarek

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The Three T’s

Blog posts   •   Jun 29, 2016 08:30 GMT


Geometric Flatness “Buck In” Procedure

Blog posts   •   Jun 27, 2016 09:21 GMT


What is ‘soft foot anyway?

Blog posts   •   Jun 21, 2016 08:09 GMT

A gap between one foot of a machine and the foundation generally is referred to as “soft foot.”



News   •   Jun 20, 2016 08:57 GMT

Alignment applications plus geometric measurement make this the ultimate measurement instrument.


Benefits of Machine Maintenance and Cleanliness

Blog posts   •   Jun 20, 2016 08:11 GMT

As technical trainers, we travel all over the country visiting factories, mills, power plants and refineries. Just to mention a few. We see and work on equipment of every type and size. From small 10 HP electric motors and pumps moving cooling water, to house sized engines turning generators that power our cities.



News   •   Jun 16, 2016 12:26 GMT

The FIXTURLASER Laser Kit is a wireless laser shaft alignment system, featuring two laser transmitter-detector units that pair via Bluetooth to the user’s iOS or Android device running the Laser Kit app. The app is designed to be installed on an iOS or Android mobile device, which replaces the traditional display unit.


Fixturlaser rewarded with Gold Product of the Year!

Press Releases   •   Apr 01, 2015 08:34 GMT

The Fixturlaser EVO, introduced to the global market in April of 2014 by Acoem AB, (former Elos Fixturlaser AB), has been named a Gold Product of the Year by Plant Engineering Magazine. This is the second year in a row that a Fixturlaser alignment system has been named a Product of the Year in the Maintenance Tools & Equipment category.

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  • Responsible for the Nordic markets
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Welcome to our world of shaft alignment

Since the very beginning in 1984, ACOEM AB (former Fixturlaser AB) has helped industry throughout the world to achieve more profitable and sustainable production. We have reached where we are today by having the courage to think beyond the norm and follow slightly unconventional paths. We have had the courage to make mistakes and find new directions. Through our resolve, ambition and knowledge we have become a global player and a leader in innovative, user-friendly shaft alignment.

Sustainable innovations
During our almost 30 years in the industry, we have drafted, adjusted and experimented more than anyone. Some might say we are incurable innovators whereas others might say that we are highly focused. They probably have a point. If we hadn't been devoted and ambitious, we wouldn't have been the first in the industry to have a touch screen. Nor would we have been pioneers in the use of visible lasers and dual measuring heads.

Over the years, we have learnt to never compromise on quality and we are constantly in search of new, unexplored opportunities by combining advanced technology with design and function. By doing so, we have become the leading innovator in our sector. Not only do we minimize wear, production stoppages and costs, we also help save the environment. Natural resources are in short supply and if we can contribute to a more sustainable world by making it a little bit straighter, we couldn't be happier.


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