Hi-Tek Blog

Balancing Jet Fuel-Powered Turbine Engines

picture of a marine turbineLarge stationary jet fuel-powered turbines are the solution for many industrial applications where large amounts of rotational energy is needed in a comparatively small and compact package. As evident in commercial airline applications, the design constraints and the engineering solutions provided by jet turbine power, allow these motors to be used in a variety of relatively portable applications.

At HI-TEK Balancing, Inc, we have set the industry standard for solving vibration problems that arise in turbine engines and are implemented in new portable applications during the design and installation stages. These applications where large power density is required include cruise ships, large oil tankers, large cargo ships, and military vessels. Turbine engines must be mated to either a generator or directly to a propeller via a transmission. The shafts that are used to connect these devices are often unique to the application of the turbine. Turbines are balanced by the manufacturer, but the unique connecting shafts require balancing due to error generated by the realities of the shaft manufacturing tolerances and reassembly fit-up error.

With the assumption that the majority of vibration is caused by unbalance of the shaft, the shaft vibration is measured by reading the orbital acceleration data at the ends of the shafts. Technically speaking, four accelerometers are attached to the turbine engine, two horizontal, two vertical. Four additional accelerometers in the same orientation are attached to the receiving end, gearbox or generator, depending on the driving method of the particular ship.

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We Look at All the Causes and Effects of Vibration and Balancing Analysis

Causes and Effects of Vibration and Balancing AnalysisWe recently received a call from a customer who makes fiber optic strands. Fiber optic strands are glass tubes that are heated and stretched into long optic fibers that are later incorporated into a data transmission cable. They hired us to help find the cause of a vibration problem in the fan enclosure used in the production of making the fiber optic strands.

The Job
The main stranding room has a highly controlled atmosphere that is dust filtered, as well as, having the humidity and temperature control highly monitored. On a floor, just above the production room, sits a fabricated steel box enclosure with two 30 hp direct drive fans. The steel box is decent sized. To give you a good visual idea, it is about one-half the size of an overseas shipping container. There is some bracing in the long spans along with ductwork attached to the outside going in and out. The ducting is about 4’ square in cross section.

The Fans
Inside the box are two 30 hp direct drive fans. The fan wheels are about 48” in diameter. The motors sit on a chassis suspended on vibration isolators with the required “more than an inch of static deflection.” The fans sit side-by-side.  A series of airflow control devices are employed. There is an adjustable damper just outside the enclosure on the inlet duct. Both fans are speed controlled on variable speed AC drives. There are sophisticated inlet dampers built into each fan inlet. The complaint was that vibration was transmitting from the fans into the walls of the enclosure. During full production, the fan enclosure vibration was enough to concern the facility manager. His concern was vibration would begin to break apart the enclosure. Conversely, it seemed unlikely the fans were the culprit of the destructive vibration, as the isolators seemed to be doing what they were intended to do. The vibration seemed to be at much lower frequency than the fan speed. Finding the cause of vibration requires eliminating sources one at a time.

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3 Top Reasons for Balancing With Hi-Tek

Rotating machinery is everywhere. We are often asked, ”What do you balance?” Rotating machines are responsible for making daily life possible. From heavy manufacturing to high rise building air conditioning – Rotating machinery utilizes high speed moving parts. These high speed moving parts need balancing. Over time those parts may go out of balance and begin to vibrate,causing the machine to run less efficiently. Also if the vibration and imbalance are not properly addressed it can cause adverse conditions on structures and the human environment. Severe vibration causes noise and human fatigue. That’s why there are companies such as ours that can analyze vibration and provide dynamic balancing and mechanical repairs and solutions to eliminate it.

There are any number of balancing service providers out there, so picking the right one to balance your machinery can be tricky. Here are three top reasons why you should balance with HI-TEK:

  1. Vibration analysis and balancing is all we do.

Many companies and repair shops offer balancing as just one of many services. If balancing is not their primary business, you run the risk of getting just an okay balancing job that will eventually need to be rebalanced, costing more time and money. Just because a facility is certified doesn’t mean they’re especially skilled at balancing. From highly-precise micro and medical balancing to large rotator balancing – from prototype to production — dynamic balancing is our main business. Continue reading “3 Top Reasons for Balancing With Hi-Tek”

Machine Balance: The Art and Science

Balancing machineVibration in most machinery is not a good thing. It creates unnecessary noise and wear and can eventually result in failure that can be costly in terms of both time and money. Machine balancing is therefore vital for ensuring smooth and efficient operation and to help prolong the life of the machine.

Here at Hi-Tek Balancing we specialize in the art and science of dynamic machine balance. We can identify problems such as unbalance by recognizing the distribution of mass – called the dynamic — in relation to force and vibration and then correcting that unbalance by adding or removing weight from the rotating component to minimize the force and vibration.

Proper machine balance is, of course, critical to a wide variety of applications and systems such as manufacturing, scientific, and test and measurement equipment. These can vary greatly — from small, highly delicate, high-speed laboratory equipment to massive, rugged industrial machines. Despite the extremes between these two very different examples, the challenges of vibration and wear are the same, just on different scales. The process and methodology of machine balancing is theoretically the same in both cases, where the effects of centrifugal force are usually the cause of increased vibration and decreased performance.

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What is Dynamic Balancing and why is HI-TEK the best choice?

Vibration AnalysisAll rotating components create some amount of vibration. When vibration becomes severe it can be very destructive when not corrected. Irregularities or asymmetries created either during the manufacturing process or due to wear are often the cause of vibration. They create a mismatch between the rotating axis established by the supporting shaft and bearings, and the axis of orbit around the actual center of mass of the rotating object. An unbalanced part tries to orbit about this axis of inertia while the shaft and bearings force the part to orbit about the different axis they dictate. This mismatch transmits the forces of vibration into the shaft and bearings, and their support structure causing stress and strain that these systems are not designed to handle.

Dynamic balancing is the process used to diagnose and correct the harmful vibration described above. We use purpose built dynamic balancing electronic instruments to aid in matching the axis of inertia about the center off mass, to the rotating axis established by the shaft and bearings.

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We ask the right questions to get you the right answers for your vibration problems.

We perform vibration analysis on a wide range of components and assemblies - from sophisticated micro drives to industrial components that weigh thousands of pounds, such as this impeller.
We perform vibration analysis on a wide range of components and assemblies – from sophisticated micro drives to industrial components that weigh thousands of pounds, such as this impeller.

Vibration is usually caused by parts that are unbalanced as a result of asymmetrical manufacturing.  To really understand vibration and its sources, you need to have a thorough knowledge of manufacturing processes. Resolving a vibration problem requires going beyond just balancing components to address the manufacturing cause.

We know the questions to ask to get you the solutions you need.
What sets us apart from the competition is our in-depth manufacturing expertise. Our firsthand experience in machining, molding, and finishing enable us to know where problems occur, quickly identify your vibration source, and provide the best, most economical remedy to eliminate it. Our vibration analyses and solutions are precise, practical, and presented in a clear, easy-to-understand way that enables you to implement them in hours or days, not weeks or months.

Complete vibration analysis and balancing services, from prototype to production
Around the corner or around the world, we can accurately diagnose and solve your rotating or oscillating equipment vibration challenges quickly and cost-efficiently, in our facility or yours. Our in-house capabilities range from diagnosing and fixing components weighing under an ounce, all the way up to ten tons. From wire winders in China to prototype micro-medical breathing assist blowers, we can analyze and solve virtually any vibration problem, from the largest industrial applications to the smallest technological ones.

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Boeing 787 Air Shafts

Precision balancing air shafts that end up on the Boeing 787 is an art. The corrections are made in a milling machine using carbide end mills with very specific corner radii. The part is gripped on one end in an index head and is supported in a lathe steady rest to mill to precision requirements. These parts are extremely delicate and have fragile labyrinth seals that can be destroyed with a very light bump. The value of the shaft as you see here is over $10,000 USD.

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16,000 pound Impeller for Providence Rhode Island Hurricane Barrier Pump Station

A large 16,000 pound impeller for Providence Rhode Island Hurricane Barrier Pump Station is loaded into the 30,000 pound soft bearing balancing machine. This machine is particularly suited for precision balancing large rotors. It can measure unbalance at speeds as low as 80 rpm and as high as 5,000 rpm. The machine supports sit on a bed custom built at HI-TEK Balancing and the stations are Gisholt with our own self aligning bearing blocks designed in house. The balancing electronics are IRD 236. The combined weight of the arbor and rotor is 21,000 pounds.

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