Considerations for Precision Equipment Alignment

In today’s precision-focused manufacturing world, the slightest problem with equipment alignment can be costly—both financially and environmentally. Machinery misalignment leads to inconsistent product quality, decreased equipment lifespan, increased energy consumption, and increased unplanned downtime. 

Whether you’re building a new industrial plant or replacing existing rotating equipment, you need a reliable partner that can help you set things straight.

Machinery Misalignment: Causes and Effects

First, the bad news: Machinery misalignment is common. Now, the good news: It’s easy to spot. You just need to look and listen for the telltale signs.

Equipment alignment problems reveal themselves in several ways, including:

  • Excessive heat. Every machine generates a certain amount of warmth. If a piece of equipment starts to produce more heat than you’re used to, that’s a red flag that can indicate an alignment issue.
  • Unusual wear. Over time, equipment typically develops wear patterns. However, if you observe significant or unexpected changes in those patterns, you should check the alignment. 
  • Increased vibration. If you used to be able to lay a hand on a machine and barely detect that it was operating, but now you feel or hear significant vibration, a change in alignment is likely the culprit.  
  • Excessive noise. Few industrial machines operate silently. But if you start to sense that a piece of equipment is making more noise than usual, you should suspect misalignment. 

You shouldn’t dismiss any of these problems as a normal evolution in how a machine functions. In addition to the financial and environmental issues mentioned above, alignment issues can increase the safety risk for anyone near the equipment. 

And, of course, it’s difficult to determine how high the risk is. Will a machine continue to operate in its current state indefinitely? Or will it suffer a dangerous, catastrophic failure today?

Even if a catastrophic failure doesn’t occur, equipment alignment issues can adversely affect your operations. The consequences include:

  • Seal failures
  • Fluid leaks
  • Cascading lubrication breakdowns
  • Energy loss

Damage suffered by one misaligned machine can subsequently damage other nearby equipment if you don’t contact a qualified service provider to correct the issue. Plus, companies that operate inefficiently or wastefully can develop a reputation for being environmentally negligent. As a result, they may lose investments or funding opportunities to other businesses. 

Why Precise Equipment Alignment Is Essential 

There are several benefits to establishing and maintaining proper alignment in your process lines, equipment, and components. Some of the most significant are that you:

  • Reduce reactive forces and thereby energy consumption
  • Increase the machine’s efficiency and accuracy 
  • Enable the equipment to maintain proper operating temperature
  • Reduce vibration and noise levels
  • Increase equipment uptime
  • Reduce the risk of damage
  • Improve product quality

The Coker team’s work with one Florida company is an excellent example of the importance of equipment alignment. Sofidel America needed an industrial contractor in Florida that could replace a warped refiner base. Coker delivered a new base and ensured all components were precisely aligned.  

The Proactive Solution: Schedule Regular Inspections

People who own or operate industrial businesses often find themselves too busy to inspect their equipment and look for machine misalignment and other issues. If you’re in that situation now, you can address the problem by scheduling regular product inspections with a qualified expert.  

How often should you have your equipment inspected? That depends on multiple factors, including the type of equipment, its age, your work environment, and others. However, when you reach out to a mechanical contractor in Florida, like ours at Coker Industrial, they can recommend the appropriate inspection cadence. 

Take Action Today to Ensure Proper Equipment Alignment

Equipment alignment problems can cause significant damage to machines and severe financial ramifications for companies. Coker Industrial can resolve these types of issues and help prevent them in the future. All it takes to get started is a conversation about your challenges and our services. Contact Coker Industrial today.