Easy-Laser & The Importance of a Soft Foot Check
Nearly everyone has experienced the problem of soft foot in daily life. If you’ve ever been to a restaurant and been unlucky enough to be seated at the only rickety table in the whole room, you’ve experienced soft foot! It rocks back and forth putting your whole meal at risk because only three of the four table feet are in contact with the floor at the one time. While this is annoying for the casual diner, there is a lot more at risk than just a delicious meal for a technician dealing with soft foot.
The presence of soft foot leads to distortion of the motor frame as all four feet are bolted down and forced to contact the base. This can create more issues than just misalignment, it can cascade into a plethora of issues such as:
- Increased stress on the motor feet which can eventually lead to cracks or breakage
- Distortion of the motor frame
- Distortion of the stator – reducing the critical stator/rotor air gap
- Increased loads on the motor bearings
- Coupling misalignment and
- Increased strain on the connected machinery & more.
Soft foot can therefore cause significant problems when trying to carry out precise and accurate alignment readings, which ultimately results in a lack of confidence and reliability in equipment.
If the rickety table sounds familiar, the solution would too! To the restaurant customer ‘shimming’ would be folding your napkin several times and sticking it between the odd foot and the floor, thus evening out the rocking. However, to a technician, it is far more important to precisely shim the motor feet prior to conducting a laser alignment using pre-cut stainless steel shims (rather than a napkin!).
While most laser shaft alignment technicians are aware of the issues of ‘soft foot’ in movable machinery, those who neglect it in their stationary equipment are open to major issues arising and wreaking havoc on not only said equipment but machinery connected to it. Fortunately, Easy-Laser has introduced the XT-Series of laser shaft alignment systems that can perform soft for checks on both stationary and movable machinery!
Using any of the Easy-Laser XT-Series systems, the technician is able to easily identify soft foot issues occurring in both stationary and movable equipment. As pictured below, the machine in question – a high speed compressor, is experiencing severe soft foot issues which has been calculated and identified using the Easy-Laser XT-Series system. Had this not been discovered it would have caused significant downtime and costly solutions!
The technician can now rest easy knowing all of his machinery and connecting equipment is free of problems such as soft foot and can function properly and efficiently.
For further information on addressing soft foot or on any of the leading Easy-Laser products, please contact us at GVS Reliability Products Pty Ltd.