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Precision laser alignment of shafts

Only when the alignment of the bearings is precise it can reach its maximum lifecycle

Precision alignment of rotating machines and shafts is the first step to ensure maximum bearing and coupling life.

Moreover, it is essential practice to ensure a low level of vibration of pumps, fans or gearboxes keeping it within limits to ensure the maximum life cycle of the components.

Precision alignment is performed by positioning two laser heads on both sides of a joint, one for each shaft.

Just enter a few measurements and manually rotate the shafts by a little more than half a rotation:  allows the tool to understand the type and magnitude of any misalignment.

With the same tool, it is possible to understand if there is a “Soft foot“, in other words, a foot that does not rest well: in this case, it is possible to correct the situation with suitable thicknesses (a bit like at the table, in the pizzeria).

The best way to ensure maximum durability of mechanical parts is to make them “work well“.

How can two shafts that work unevenly work well?

The coupling does not perform miracles, but merely reduces a little the load created by misalignment: and the bearings suffer.

Only when a precise alignment is made can the life of the bearings reach its maximum

Once the technicians have understood the kind and extent of the misalignment, which can be of the type “angular” or “parallel” type, they will insert calibrated shims under each support bearing foot of the mobile machinery part (usually the motor).

This will ensure precise positioning with errors of up to a few hundredths of a millimetre.

In the case of alignment of machines subject to significant temperature variations, the technician will also provide the so-called “thermal compensation” of the expansion.

The maximum misalignment tolerated is suggested by tables commonly found in the literature, instrument manufacturers, and rotating machines.

Let’s see the steps with which the machinery shafts are aligned:


We define with you which machines should be aligned


We define the alignment tolerances according to the tables and type of machinery


We position the laser heads on each shaft so that they can “look at each other”.


We insert the main dimensions of the machinery to be aligned


We correct the “soft foot” before performing the actual alignment


We rotate the shafts to determine the misalignment and necessary corrections


We apply shims to correct the misalignment detected


We recheck after the intervention has taken place, detecting the “before” and “after”.

The first step towards Predictive Independence:
simple and effective tools for vibration and bearing analysis

Predictive Independence brought to a maximum:
advanced and expert tools for 360° vibrational analysis

Find out more about our Precision Laser Alignment Service

DarkWave Thermo S.r.l.

+39 331 3485866
+39 347 9272219
Via Mantova, 15-21 – 25123 Brescia – Italy

DarkWave Thermo Schweiz KLG

+41 796 111695
Furlängeweg, 655 - 5325 Leibstadt - Switzerland