Thursday, October 06, 2005

@ Work: Alignment

Alignment [..'lain.m..nt]:

  • Placing two pieces of equipment/'things' in position, so they sit where YOU want them to sit a.k.a. LINE THEM UP.
  • That's why I start work from 3 a.m. for the next few days.
Basically on Unit no.3 of our power plant, we got to the stage of the project where we've started aligning the gas turbine to the generator. Sounds Easy?

Nope ~ Here's the deal...

Our turbine and generator has components that spin at high speed. 3600rpm to be exact. Now, since both of the parts of the machines the turn rotate TOGETHER, and are connected, they MUST be placed SPOT ON dead center to one another. This is what we call "Alignment".

Consequence of an improper alignment? The turbine will vibrate like a whore on amphetamines while having a seizure.

You DO NOT want to be ANYWHERE near the thing when she runs... Worst case, the machine could destroy itself under such large forces, due to the machine's weight and speed.

There are certain measurements we have to take for an alignment.

We will have to move either one of the equipment if the numbers do not look right. There is no more-or-less in alignment and we have fixed allowances (tolerances) for errors.

In our case, if our measurements are out by a distance of 0.010mm, we have to re-do the alignment.

To give you a sense of how accurate we have to be, human hair ranges from 0.018mm ~ 0.180mm in thickness.

Since tolerances are so small, even the slightest things could influence our measurements. Hence, we have to take readings when the turbine is COLD prior to day-break. Hence explains why I have to start work at 3 a.m. The moment first light breaks in the horizon... virtually all measurements will be thrown out of proportion. Or so my previous experiences tell me.

Everything you take for granted in this world is aligned...

  • Wheels are aligned to one another on a car.
  • You align your rear-view mirrors to see whats coming from behind.
  • Dials on your mechanical watches/clocks are aligned.
  • Doors on your refridgerator are aligned to its axle.
  • Lips align when you kiss...

On that note, we will finish on the topic of alignment. Questions?


At October 08, 2005 1:42 AM, Blogger Sewing said...

One one-thousandth of a millimetre's leeway? Ouch!

At October 08, 2005 12:27 PM, Blogger Kurios1978 said...

Muah ha ha ha... I just realised I threw in an added zero... Should be 0.01mm (blushes with embarassment!).

Sewing, thanks for taking note. Only a true engineer would have picked that up!


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