Don’t Let The Weather Ruin Your Shaft Alignment!
Climatic conditions play a significant part in the performance and efficiency of rotating equipment and the more severe the weather, the greater the need for regular and thorough equipment maintenance.
Australia is a land of contrasts and many industrial operations are located in areas which experience environmental extremes – from freezing cold in winter to searing heat in summer and everything in between. These operations rely on the optimum performance of their outdoor machinery but the harsh conditions can make it extremely difficult to ensure precision shaft alignment.
Extreme weather conditions such as high heat, snow and ice, rain, dryness, humidity, salty coastal air can result in the following:
- Infiltration of moisture into cracks and pores of concrete mounting platforms and grout
- In winter, this moisture can freeze, causing the foundations and platforms to fracture or settle unevenly
- Substantial swings in ambient temperatures can result in changes to the thermal growth of metal components, negatively affecting alignment
- Constant humidity and salty coastal air can result in corrosion to pipes, shims, couplings and mounting hardware. Rust can be a significant problem and will not only impair the performance of the machinery but can prove extremely difficult and costly to fix.
A carefully planned and meticulously executed maintenance programme will help mitigate the adverse effects of the environmental conditions on equipment and help to keep it functioning within prescribed tolerances.
If your outdoor machinery is subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations or other severe climatic conditions, your maintenance programme should include:
- More frequent lubrication
- More frequent cleaning
- Application of protective coatings (eg insulating thermal blankets, waterproofing) to hardware, pipework and any areas of exposed concrete
- Regular alignment checks
Shaft alignment can be done in a number of ways, but lasers are acknowledged to be the easiest, fastest and most reliable tools. Importantly, they are far more accurate than conventional dial gauges or rulers.
Laser alignment tools are easy to learn and operate and are very precise – with the added advantage that they don’t require complicated calculations or interpretation by the operator. They can also automatically compensate for thermal growth, which is a key concern in outdoor machinery that is subjected to temperature fluctuations.
Remember, when considering the best options for shaft alignment of pumps, turbines and other outdoor equipment, it’s important to choose the technology which has the right attributes for your particular application. Nexxis is genuinely interested in making sure that you have the right solution and will invest time and effort to understand your needs and give you qualified, expert advice.