Proper motor shaft alignment increases the operating life span of rotating machinery. To achieve this goal, components that are the most likely to fail must be made to operate within their acceptable design limits.

While misalignment has no measurable effect on motor efficiency, correct shaft alignment ensures the smooth, efficient transmission of power from the motor to the driven equipment. Incorrect alignment occurs when the centerlines of the motor and the driven equipment shafts are not in line with each other . Misalignment produces excessive vibration, noise, coupling- and bearing-temperature increases, and premature failure of bearings, couplings or shafts.

There are three types of motor misalignment:

Angular misalignment occurs when the motor is set at an angle to the driven equipment. If the centerlines of the motor and the driven equipment shafts were to be extended, they would cross each other, rather than superimpose or run along a common centerline. The “ gap" (gap difference between coupling faces) or difference in slope of the motor shaft, when compared with the slope of the stationary machine shaft, can occur in the horizontal direction, vertical direction or both. Angular misalignment, in particular, can cause severe damage to the driven equipment and the motor.

Parallel misalignment occurs when the two shaft centerlines are parallel, but not in the same line. There are two planes of parallel misalignment as shafts may be offset horizontally (displaced to the left or right), vertically (positioned at different elevations) or both.

Combination misalignment occurs when the motor shaft suffers from both angular misalignment and parallel misalignment simultaneously. This is the most common misalignment situation encountered in the field.

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