Is Your Laser Shaft Alignment Tool Accurate?
Before laser tools were developed as a means of measuring shaft alignment, traditional methods such as visual inspection combined with a straightedge or ruler, gauge blocks and dial indicators were considered to be ‘accurate’.
However, the introduction of laser technology has transformed the measurement landscape with some laser tools capable of delivering accuracy down to 0.001mm. Even though dial test indicators can measure down to the ten-thousandths and gauge blocks capable of even tighter tolerances, laser tools are 100% more accurate than traditional methods, and have consequently totally transformed the concept of ‘accuracy’ in measuring shaft alignment.
But not all laser tools are equal. The accuracy of the sensors themselves is variable and more importantly, how these tools are used, the operating conditions at the time of their use and the application they are used for all have an impact on the accuracy of the results.
The term ‘laser’ shouldn’t automatically connote high accuracy.
Some laser systems are capable of taking into account both intended and unintended movement, whereas others can only provide approximate positional estimates based on the static measurements. In most instances where general shaft alignment is involved, laser tools will deliver highly accurate measurements but as soon as the application increases in complexity (for example an uncoupled spacer where rotation is limited), only those systems with higher levels of functionality will be able to complete the job accurately.
It’s also important to note that not all operators are equal and although modern laser shaft alignment tools are highly advanced with user-friendly features and high levels of automation, they aren’t magic. Whilst operators don’t need to be specialists, they still need to use skill and creativity to interpret results and solve complex alignment challenges. Training is important and the more that operators understand about laser measurement technology, the more likely they’ll be to use the tools to their maximum potential so that businesses avoid mistakes and costly and unexpected downtime.
Moreover, it’s crucial to note that external influences can affect the accuracy of laser shaft alignment tools. The technician needs to be aware of factors like temperature, moving air, dust, vibration and measurement distances when interpreting the results, otherwise accuracy may be compromised.
For a complete answer to the question of whether your laser shaft alignment tool is accurate, it is probably best to get a qualified opinion from someone who is not only extremely knowledgeable in the technical side of the equipment, but who also has first-hand industry experience. The more you understand and know about measurement technology, the more value you will get from your technical tools and greater the impact they will make on the overall operating efficiency of your business.
Nexxis can help you in your decision-making. We will assess your business and make informed recommendations based on a holistic assessment of your operation’s budget, current and future requirements, goals and expectations and will make sure that your inspection and testing solutions are customised for optimum outcomes. We also offer full training on all of their equipment. To see our extensive range of non destructive testing and inspection equipment, browse our website or contact us today.