Shaft alignment

Rotating machines are prone to misalignment. Correctly aligned and regularly controlled machines significantly reduce operating and maintenance costs. Conventional methods for shaft alignment, such as straightedge, thickness gage or dial gage, are very time consuming. The quality of the results also highly depends on the experience of the operator.

PRUFTECHNIK's laser measuring devices use unique state-of-the-art technology to ensure maximum precision and user-friendly alignment of shafts.

Precise alignment pays off in many ways:

  • Reduce power consumption
  • Decrease wear on bearings, seals, shafts and couplings
  • Avoid overheating of bearings and couplings
  • Reduce vibrations in shafts and foundation bolts
  • Significantly reduce damage to shafts and foundation bolts.


Customer Voices

"Today, using equipment by PRUFTECHNIK, precision alignment
is so quick and easy to achieve, there is no excuse at all for
bad alignment."

Mechanical Engineer

Shaft alignment

Importance of precise alignment in rotating machinery

Reduced machine downtime increases machine availability, at the same
time improves machine efficiency for higher productivity, while
lowering energy and operation costs and with it an enormous money-saving opportunity. 



Biggest contribution for improving operating costs is to align them correctly

Poorly aligned shafts are responsible for many machine problems: Tests have shown that incorrect alignment is the cause for around 50% of machine breakdowns. When misaligned, the loading of shafts dramatically increases due to the reaction forces created within the coupling.



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Perfect machine alignment in 5 steps

Preparation and Dimensions
Measurement and Alignment
Alignment and Result
Smiley and Confirmation
  1. Preparation and Dimensions
    • Identification of the machine
    • Setup
    • Initial adjustment
    • Enter machine dimensions
  2. Measurement and Alignment
    • A quarter of a revolution is generally sufficient for calculating the alignment.
    • Regardless of the position of the laser and sensor - simultaneous movement of the machine can be followed in real-time.
    • Machine alignment
    • PERMABLOC shims help for raising or lowering the machine.
  3. Measurement
    • A quarter of a revolution is generally sufficient for calculating the alignment
    • Measurement screen - all infomation at a glance.
    • Measurement table provides the result history.
  4. Alignment and Result
    • Regardless of the position of the laser and sensor - simultaneous movement of the machine can be followed in real-time
    • Vertical and horizontal alignment corrections are shown
    • Horizontal alignment of the machine
    • PERMABLOC shims support the vertical alignment
  5. Smiley and Confirmation
    • Smile - alignment job is done
    • Final vibration acceptance check
    • Save your final results

Effects of misalignment

Poor alignment or misalignment is the name given if the centrelines of two shafts don’t run in the same axis.

Poor alignment or misalignment is the name given if the centrelines of two shafts don’t run in the same axis.

Poor alignment means:

  • Premature bearing, seal, shaft and coupling failures
  • High Bearing and coupling temperatures
  • Excessive vibration
  • Looseness of foundation bolts
  • The breaking (or cracking) of shafts at, or close to the inboard
  • High power consumption

Only 7% of measured machines within acceptable tolerances

A survey conducted by one of the world's leading rotating equipment service organizations shows that less than
10% of the 160 machines randomly chosen for measurement were found to be aligned within acceptable limits.
Under which category do your machines fall?

Benefits of shaft alignment

Advantages at a glance:

  • Error free and accurate measurement: No human uncertainties, no bracket sag influence and no reading errors
  • Straightforward alignment procedure: System can be used by any operator
  • Quick on-screen laser beam adjustment Universal precision brackets designed for quick and rigid set-up
  • Automatic computation of horizontal and vertical coupling and foot values
  • Clear graphical representation of the machines with the corresponding foot correction value
    and direction "Live move" shows updated values and the direction of the correction.
    Reports generated directly from instrument, in conformity with ISO 9001 documentation requirements
  • Powerful Software



Effects on power consumption
Relation between offset misalignment and mechanical seal life
Rate of seal repairs
Rate of pump repairs

Effects on power consumption

  • Eliminates reaction forces and therefore reduces energy consumption.
  • Significant power savings can be made through accurate alignment.









Relation between offset misalignment and mechanical seal life

  • Protects the asset and increases the product quality as vibration is reduced to a very low level.
  • The larger the offset misalignment, the greater the reduction of mechanical seal life.








Rate of seal repairs

  • Extends machine availability as the Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) increases.
  • Mechanical seal repairs declined by 65% following the introduction of precision alignment.








Rate of pump repairs

  • Increases maintenance savings through reduced parts consumption and storage costs.
  • The rate of repairs was seen to decline as laser shaft alignment became an integral part of the pump repair schedule.





Conventional methods

Straightedge/feeler gauge methods

The straightedge/feeler gauge methods which depend on the limited resolution of the human eye,
produce a resolution of 1/10 mm (0.004").
This is far too inaccurate for most machines.

Dial gauges
Although dial gauges have a resolution of 1/100 mm (0.0004"),
calculations tend to be complicated, and users must be highly experienced.



Sagging indicator bracket
This should always be measured before actual alignment reading are taken irrespective of how solid the bracket appears.








Low resolution
Up to 0.005 mm rounding error may occur with each reading - for a total of up to 0.04 mm error in values used for result calculations. 








Sticking/jumping dial hands
Sometimes the gauge must be tapped in order for the indicator needle to settle on its final value (which may still not be the correct one).








Play in mechanical linkages
Slight amounts may not be noticed, yet produce large errors in results.









Reading errors
Simple human errors that occur all too often when dials must be read under cramped, poorly-lit conditions and severe time constraints.








Tilted dial indicator
The gauge may not be mounted perpendicular to the measurement surface so that part of the displacement reading is lost.








Axial shaft play
This can affect face readings taken to measure angularity unless two axially mounted gauges are used

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Product Overview

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Our Services:

Laser shaft alignment

Our services are available worldwide. With our experienced PRUFTECHNIK specialists and our global partner network we guarantee the best service quality wherever you are.

Find a service partner in your area

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Our seminars are very popular for training and skills development purposes. We deliver expert knowledge together with practice-oriented tips and tricks based on our field experience.


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