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If You Don’t Use Laser Alignment, You Could Be Throwing Money Down The Drain

If your operation still relies on old-fashioned methods for aligning sheaves and pulleys on your belt-driven machines, you need to read this.

Rulers or pieces of string may have served you well in the past, but you could be missing out on opportunities for substantial cost savings if you don’t move on from them.

It’s widely known that incorrect shaft alignment accounts for up to 50% of all machine damage and a smart operator knows how quickly the cost of repairs and replacement parts can add up.   Less evident but often more substantial however, is the cost of energy that’s required to run misaligned machinery.

A few tenths of a millimetre out of kilter can result in excess machine loading which dramatically reduces the service life of components such as bearings, seals and couplings.  But what many people don’t realise is that the energy costs involved in running a misaligned machine can actually be more than the cost of buying new spare parts.

Consider this: Correctly aligned machinery can result in savings of between 5% and 20% in energy costs, so if your operation doesn’t have a fail-safe alignment programme in place, you could be wasting money unnecessarily.

Before we look into how you can save money by having correctly aligned machinery and belts that are tensioned properly, it’s worth emphasising that good belt alignment leads to:

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased production efficiencies
  • Fewer unplanned work stoppages
  • Longer equipment life
  • Better working environment
  • Reduced energy consumption

Poor belt alignment leads to:

  • Higher temperatures in the machinery
  • Cracked belts
  • Unscheduled equipment downtime
  • Premature wear and tear (or even total failure) of components
  • Higher energy costs
  • Excessive vibrations
  • Production losses

A thermal camera could be a very useful resource for identifying areas in the machinery where there are abnormally high temperatures as a result of misalignment – so talk to your technical equipment partner to make sure they are looking at your inspection challenges from a holistic perspective.

What you should do

To maximise opportunities to save money, you need to get the big picture with regards to your equipment and ensure that your installation, maintenance and operational procedures are spot on.

  • Set up equipment according to manufacturer’s specifications
  • Use high quality parts and belts
  • Avoid using different types/makes of belts
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions with regards to belt tensioning
  • Maintain a clean operating environment and make sure all equipment is on a solid foundation
  • Make sure maintenance work is done by a trained technician
  • Draw up a programme of regular inspections and preventative maintenance
  • Store spare parts appropriately

Most importantly however, you need to ensure your belt drives are aligned correctly.

Mechanical measuring methods align the surface of two couplings only, whereas a laser alignment tool determines the actual rotational axis without risk of interference from the surface quality.  It does require an investment, but a laser alignment tool can be used for multiple machines and will quickly pay for itself.

A laser alignment tool gives you the peace-of-mind that you can rely on your machines one hundred per cent and it enables substantial savings – which all add up to a significant competitive advantage for your company.

Nexxis can help you manage your equipment assets properly, maximise their service life and ensure optimum lifecycle costs through a carefully planned and well-managed programme of inspection and non-destructive testing (NDT).  Your technical equipment choices shouldn’t be made on the basis of the instrument’s specs and capabilities, but rather on how they meet the overall needs of your operation – and that’s where our experts can really make a difference to your business.

View our range of laser alignment tools or call and speak to one of our experts about a tailor-made technical equipment solution.

 

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