Clear signs your gearbox, pump and motor shafts are not in alignment

Clear signs your gearbox, pump and motor shafts are not in alignment

If your machine’s gearbox, pump and motor shafts are not in alignment, the cost of failures and repairs can be drastic. Misalignment of this nature will significantly reduce its performance and mean time between repairs, as well as the functional longevity of the gearbox, motor, and the machines as a whole!

It’s important to be proactive and ensure the gearbox, and motor pump shafts are in alignment and working order. This will not only prevent the above but holds notable benefits too. Any downtime will be eliminated thanks to increased productivity and availability of the machine, the bearings preserved, the seals will be protected for longer to prevent leakages and replacements, the risk of overheating and secondary damage will be removed, lubricants will not leak, and serious breakdowns will be avoided.

But, how do you know when your gearbox and motor shafts are not in alignment? Here are some helpful signs you can look out for.

Physical signs

As mentioned above, it’s vital to be proactive and make sure your gearbox, pump and motor shafts are in alignment before it wreaks havoc on your machines. Inspect and take a good look at your machines to assess the health of the interconnected components. If the damage is already done, you will notice:

  • Damaged seals and couplings
  • Deteriorating bearings
  • Vibrations in the gearbox
  • Damaged gears
  • Higher machine temperatures

Seal leakage

This tends to be the first sign that your gearbox, pump and motor shafts are not in alignment. More specifically, it indicates a significant angular misalignment! If your machine is a pump and has seals, the likelihood of angular misalignment, in this case, is almost guaranteed.

Essentially, the seal has been deflected by the misaligned shafts, causing them to deteriorate and allow leakages to appear. This can greatly reduce the efficiency of lubricant consumption and must be attended to immediately.

Damaged bearings

Unfortunately, this is a silent sign that tends to only be identifiable sometime after misalignment has begun. The bearings that support the shaft will have undergone extreme loads that cause pitting in the races or balls. Pitting of the gears themselves is also possible, as this excessive load will put pressure between the gear teeth. In severe cases, this can actually cause the cage to fail! Once your bearings are damaged, you may also notice drastically increased vibration.

If you notice any one of these signs, you should be ready to shutdown the machine for maintenance and alignment.

Does this raise any questions, or would you like some professional advice from an alignment expert? Don’t hesitate to contact the Easy-Laser distributor in your area!


This article was originally posted on the Benchmark PDM blog.

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