One thing our customers are asking us more and more for over the last few years is our field services. And one service we provide and do well, is on-site laser alignment. Our Technical expert Steve Jezowski, who has been a major part of the inception and growth of our field service department, led our team to the challenge.
A large utilities customer asked if we would quote a 7000 HP motor alignment. They had received another quote from another vendor that stated it could take up to 3 weeks to do the alignment! Knowing they could not afford such lengthy downtime, they decided to call us. So we came in and took a look at it for an evaluation. We were told that the other vendor wanted to take covers off and unhook an oil system along with disconnect the unit electrically. Disconnecting the oil system that would be a process that would take 4 hours and you would have to do it each time you made a spin. To do all these things plus the alignment they would have to bring along several specialists to complete the job.
During our evaluation, we found that the only need to go through this would be to make it physically easier to get to the bolts and not have to be on your back. Steve and his team showed up at 7am on a Wednesday morning. After going through the safety overview, we started the job at 9:30am. By 12pm, we made our first turn.
The reason this job came about was the customer had to do some work on the bearings of this 7000HP, motor – fan combo. The motor usually sits 8,000ths high. When they finished working on it, they were 28,000ths high-20,000ths too high. They know that there is 8,000ths growth, which means that this unit moves hot air and the growth occurs from the time it’s cold to the time it is up to correct temperature. Where the motor sits and when the fan heats up, the 2 shafts are in alignment. When they are not, the wiggle will create vibration. So in the end, they need the motor lowered 20,000ths to meet the 8,000ths requirement. We had to take shims out at the feet and use our laser to gauge where it was at. We did this until we were at the required position. And when we finally made our goal, we had to measure it (3) times to match the readings that the customer was getting.
In the end, we did not have to disconnect anything and just made our spins with the oil connected, dropped it into spec, and brought the unit back into alignment. Because we simplified the process, we were able to finish by 6pm the same day! Boasting of our accomplishment, the plant manager added, “because of the outcome and the very fast and professional service, we will not hesitate to call you in future for field services. The boiler was fired up ahead of time, saving us who knows how much downtime. Can’t thank you guys enough!”