When people research the internet for pulley alignment tools, they also look for tools in belt alignment or V belt alignment, sheave alignment, chain or sprocket alignment. It really all depends on the machinery application. However, pulley alignment tools is probably the most popular term.
It is surprising that a lot of companies still don’t have or use Pulley Alignment tools or systems. The Laser Pulley Alignment Tool D90 BTA is a lower cost affordable tool that all can use. Yet some companies are still using a string or straightedge to do this alignment which is still probably the most common form of pulley or belt alignment today. With all the advances we have made in the maintenance world, using a piece of string to align two pulleys, or sheaves should be left in the past. It belongs in the dark ages.
When using a pulley alignment system, we are trying to correct the offset and angular misalignment in both the Horizontal and Vertical planes. For most belt or pulley alignment work, only the horizontal plane is measured when using a string or straightedge. They measure from the 9 o’clock to the 3 o’clock position on both pulleys. We know this because when we walk through plants like we do, you don’t see and shims under the feet of the driver (ie. motor) which you would need in order to correct the vertical plane.
There are technical papers published by leading belt manufacturers saying you can use a straightedge but you have to measure on the outside and inside surfaces of the sheave. The reason for this is if you have mismatched sheave/pulleys. Do you think that on your belt drives that you can get a straightedge between the sheave and the machines casing? No, so this is not done. The fact of the matter is that the differences between the wall thickness of sheaves have been ignored probably over 90% of the time. How would you do this if you were using a string? With laser pulley alignment tools, you can compensate for this error.
It is said by some industrial experts that you should get 7 years of operational life from a belt drive. Whatever you get from your belt drives, if you want to improve on it, make sure your team is using the right tool to do the job. As mentioned, we offer low cost laser pulley alignment tools and systems as well digital systems like that Laser Pulley Alignment Tool XT190 BTA that provides you with a PDF report. You can also use the free XT Alignment app with this tool!