Machinery alignment is a key part of installing new equipment, maintaining your existing assets, or integrating new parts. Today’s equipment requires precise alignment to reach optimal performance, and you can’t always achieve that using tools like straight edges or dial indicators. That’s where laser alignment tools can make a major difference, pinpointing even the smallest misalignments so that you can correct them right away and keep your equipment operating smoothly.
Over time, misalignment can cause fuel leaks, wear and tear on parts, and even machine failure, which can lead to costly unplanned downtime. Even seemingly minor misalignment, which is difficult to observe using conventional tools, can eventually cause breakdowns in your equipment and assets. In fact, misalignment is one of the top reasons machines fail.
Laser alignment is the most accurate and precise way to check the alignment of two or more rotating shafts, pulleys, belts, or other machine components or structures. It’s also easy to learn how to apply laser alignment, even without specialized training. Overall, the right laser alignment tool will boost productivity while saving time and costs associated with unexpected downtime and maintenance.
How Does Laser Alignment Work?
Laser alignment tools fire a laser across the component, such as a rotating shaft, to precisely pinpoint misalignment. The tool then performs the complicated alignment calculations for you, ensuring a quick process and eliminating risk of error and miscalculation. This means you’ll have the answers you need to quickly align your machine and get your plant up and running fast.
Laser alignment tools have three key components: a laser emitter, a receiver, and software to indicate alignment levels. To get started, simply mount the laser emitter to one side and the receiver to the other side of the component(s) you are aligning. The laser emitter will send a laser beam to the receiver to test whether the two parts share the same line of rotation.
The sensors send that information to a dashboard, which you can access through a tablet or other device. In many cases, the display uses colors or symbols to show the degree of alignment. With this data, you have all the answers you need to begin adjusting the component vertically and horizontally, checking the display for immediate and dynamic feedback as you go. Simply keep making adjustments until the parts are as well aligned as possible.
What are the Advantages of Laser Alignment?
An estimated 50% of breakdowns in rotating machinery are caused by faulty alignment. Laser alignment tools can fix those issues. Here are just a few of the biggest advantages of working with laser alignment tools. They reduce downtime by saving wear and tear on your parts caused by high vibration and friction.
By ensuring precise alignment, you can reduce maintenance expenses, improve asset performance, increase the lifespan of your equipment, and even prevent costly unplanned downtime due to machine failure. Precise laser alignment can also help create a safer work environment by protecting employees from hazards caused by faulty alignment, including fuel leaks and high noise levels.
Three Types of Laser Alignment Tools
It is important to choose the right tool that will deliver the precision, flexibility, and reliability you need to effectively maintain your equipment. There are a number of laser alignment tools on the market. Here are some of the best tools for getting fast, accurate measurements.
Laser Shaft Alignment
Laser shaft alignment uses adaptive single-laser technology to measure shaft alignment on virtually any rotating asset. The tool can be used on simple motor pumps or complex pieces of equipment like machine trains and gearboxes. The best laser shaft alignment tools are designed to be user-friendly so that even inexperienced employees can successfully use them. Cloud-based collaboration tools are built in to make the user experience even smoother.
For more information, learn how to use laser shaft alignment to fix misalignment.
Laser Belt Alignment
You can still check for belt alignment using tools like levels and measuring tape; however, to ensure higher level of accuracy, a laser belt alignment tool is ideal. Accurately and precisely aligned belts help prevent excess energy use, improve your equipment’s performance, and reduce wear and tear on your parts.
Laser Pulley Alignment
Laser pully alignment tools provide fast, accurate readings so that you can correct any misalignments right away. This tool both more precise and easier to use than the old-fashioned manual tools, like wire and string. Laser pulley alignment makes pinpointing issues simply, so that even untrained employees can correct alignment.
Fixing pulley alignment issues cuts back on wear and tear and reduces your need for frequent repairs. It can also reduce fuel consumption and unplanned downtime.
Laser alignment tools are fast, accurate, and easy to use, saving time while making it easier to keep your assets in operating at peak levels of performance. For more information, see our best practices for choosing a laser shaft alignment tool.