The global site of the UK's leading magazine for automation, motion engineering and power transmission
27 May, 2024

Twitter link

App-based shaft alignment system ‘costs half as much’

25 June, 2014

SKF has announced a shaft alignment tool that it claims is the first to use inductive proximity sensors, rather than traditional lasers, dial gauges or line-of-sight techniques. The TKSA 11 system is designed to be used with an app running on a smartphone or tablet, thus eliminating the need for a dedicated display and cutting the instrument’s cost to about half that of competing systems.

SKF says that traditional laser tools can be expensive, while dial indicators are difficult to use, and line-of-sight methods are inaccurate. The new tool – the first of a new generation of shaft alignment tools from the company ­– allows quick, accurate and reliable shaft alignment, and is ideal for small- to medium-sized applications.

The instrument incorporates two inductive proximity sensors in a compact, robust electronic measuring module that is attached to shafts or coupling sleeves on the moveable machine side, while a reference bar is attached to the fixed machine side. The app guides the user through the measurement and correction of shaft misalignments, while a live view of the measuring unit and horizontal machine position simplifies the process.

The new instrument’s low cost – coupled with its simplicity, accuracy and repeatability – will make precision shaft alignment technology available to a far wider audience, SKF predicts.

It adds that the system will be an ideal entry-level tool for maintenance or production engineers who need to carry out shaft alignments quickly, simply and accurately for motor, fan, pump and compressor applications, among others.

SKF's shaft alignment system costs about half as much as traditional alternatives

The system can be used in bright sunlight and enables consistently high measurement accuracy regardless of the distances between the mounting brackets. It is ideal for aligning narrow couplings, or for use in confined spaces. Optional extension rods and chains are available for use with large couplings and shafts.

The measuring module connects to an Apple iOS smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. It uses the mobile device’s computing and display performance to allow intuitive alignment using live views and animations. On-screen instructions help users to perform alignments quickly and to generate reports, with the option of a signature and picture, for export as PDFs.

Misaligned shafts are responsible for up to half of all machine failures, and can affect the reliability of bearings, seals couplings and belts. In addition, incorrect alignment can raise energy consumption.

  • To view a digital copy of the latest issue of Drives & Controls, click here.

    To visit the digital library of past issues, click here

    To subscribe to the magazine, click here



"Do you think that robots create or destroy jobs?"



Most Read Articles