Virtually everything you see or touch made by man at some point in its life has to be processed and transported. Every manufacturing process requires that power be transmitted to a machine, pump, roller, axle or thousands of other examples as a fundamental part of the process of taking a raw material and turning it into a product. In almost all cases, this power is transmitted by a motor or force which is converted in to the rotation of a shaft and then transmitted to another shaft. Bearings are fitted around the shaft to ensure that it rotates as freely as possible. Both the shafts must be joined to transfer the power through a coupling of some sort. Any coupling’s main purpose is to drive another shaft as efficiently as possible to reduce the energy loss. Various types of couplings have been used from animal skin, rope, rubber belts through to ingenious bands, gear couplings, steel and alloy membranes.
Misalignment manifests itself in five interrelated problems
- Increased vibration
- Increased energy loss
- Increased load on bearings, seals and other mechanical components
- Reduced production capacity
- Reduced product quality
Even the most conservative surveys carried out over the last ten year in a wide variety of industries indicate that 50% of all machine breakdowns are directly due to poor alignment. Some surveys have shown that as much of 90% of machines are running beyond their recommended tolerances.