Welcome to Benchmark PDM’s new website!

Hello and welcome to our new website!

It has taken some time but we are officially launched with our new and improved look and are very pleased with the final product. You will find the site easy to navigate, with up-to-date information on any of our products. Benchmark PDM is committed to the customer and end-user so if there is anything not on the site you would like to talk to us about, please don’t hesitate to call and ask! We will continue to serve and provide the Canadian industry with excellent Laser Alignment systems from Easy-Laser for Shaft to Shaft and Belt Alignment as well as Geometric Measurement. We are also very experienced in Condition Monitoring products including vibration, balancing ultrasonic instruments.

If you have any questions at all about any of our products, services, or training programs please contact us. You may also find some useful resources in our MAAD Maintenance Blog which includes technical articles, blogs, latest news and more. We would love to hear your thoughts on the new site so go to the Contact Us page and send us your feedback.

Best Regards,

John-Paul

Special End of the Year XT Generation Laser Alignment Offer!

Save your maintenance team and company time and money with an Easy-Laser XT Generation wireless shaft alignment system!

EASY-LASER LOGO

In the Spring of 2016 we offered free or half price accessories like the D90 BTA, the E180 BTA and the E285 Vibrometer with the purchase of certain Easy-Laser Shaft Alignment systems like the E420 entry-level, E540 mid-range and E710 Professional. With the success of those promotional offers in conjunction with the new XT Generation line of alignment systems, we've decided to reintroduce this offer as an End-of-the-Year Special!

See below our end-of-the-year specials. For more details or to request a quote fill out our contact us form here! Click the alignment tool/instrument for more info.

  • Purchase one (1) XT440 Shaft Alignment system (12-0967) * and get one (1) D90 BTA Belt Alignment system for FREE! *this system must be used with customers own phone or tablet device (Apple or Android) using free XT Alignment app.

For a quote or more information please contact us here, call us at 1(800)598-1117 or email us at info@benchmarkpdm.com.

This offer is valid until December 31, 2017.

Maintaining Growth in the Wind Power Industry

You cannot say it’s a new industry because its been around for quite some time however, you can call it a growth industry because yes, it’s still growing. In fact, I can see it getting bigger. My reason for this is that I can see some remote communities taking advantage of this technology, technology that is improving with better power storage for example. I can also see some large manufacturing plants generating their own power to save on the costs because as we know, power is expensive to buy. I cannot say that we are there yet but as costs come down it looks like a viable alternative to what we do now in many cases.

Seeing wind turbines is common place these days and they are a large part of energy production. A wind turbine harnesses wind power to generate electricity. The most common is a horizontal axis wind turbine application which have three main components. A rotor, which the blades are attached to. A gearbox which increases the RPM of the rotor. And a generator, that is rotated and produces electricity, power.

Inside the nacelle. From left to right: rotor, gearbox and generator.

The rotor, which is relatively low speed (low RPM), converts the kinetic energy of the wind to rotate the shaft. Based on the length and width of the blade, this is a very powerful force. To generate enough power, we need it to be faster, hence the gearbox. The gearbox is a speed increaser having a ratio of 92 to 1. This powerful and now high speed rotational torque is passed through a coupling which turns the generator to make the electrical power. Easy right?

All of this plus a hydraulic system that allows the blade to tilt/pitch into the wind – much the same as a ships propeller can – and its all in a container called a Nacelle. This nacelle sits on top of a tower which can be several hundred feet in the air. The whole nacelle is geared so it can rotate or “yaw” into the wind as it’s called.  As you can imagine, it can get battered by the elements like heat, cold, wet, etc.

It’s a sophisticated asset that can pay for itself (we should all have one!). However, it requires high quality maintenance and this is critical to its life expectancy. Consider the cost of replacing one of these components that I listed out. Its not just man power that’s needed; for some items cranes need to be on site. So, think about what you don’t wont in the nacelle. One thing would be vibration. We all know that excessive vibration destroys machines, so making a reduction or elimination of vibration is very important. One of, if not, the most common cause of vibration is shaft misalignment. Therefore, it’s should be a priority that the gearbox to generator shaft is aligned correctly.

Some time ago I did some alignment work on a ship. The gentleman that I was working with described the ship as a floating upside-down bell. He pointed out that the vessel would ring (vibrate) when excited by the right natural vibration frequency. The vibration would travel through the steel structure of the ship. Transient vibrations do pass from one machine to another and it’s the same in a nacelle, like a ship, its one big steel frame. The reason is that there is no mass to absorb the vibration (no ground), at least not close by. We all know that mass dampens vibration. If you have a machine mounted on a platform or mezzanine it will most likely vibrate more than the same machine mounted on a concrete base.

One of two Easy-Laser PSD’s (aka measuring units) mounted with a magnetic bracket on the coupling hub closest to the generator.

The alignment procedure is quite simple. You normally use the gearbox as the stationary machine and align the generator to it. You use shims to adjust the misalignment in the vertical plane and jacking bolts for the misalignment in the horizontal plane. The OEM will normally give a tolerance as well as any offsets that may be required. For instance, on some models the sheer torque of the rotor when in service (online) will offset the gearbox. Because of this, a target value is set in the alignment laser system to compensate for the offset when aligning while offline.

Tolerances are based on RPM and this drive system would be variable speed, so you use the highest speed. A normal rotor input is 20 RPM which will give the gearbox an output of 1840 RPM. However, regardless of what the tolerance is we recommend that you minimize it to the best that you can get because in this case, less is more. Less vibration equals more exerted life of seals, bearings, gears, etc.

You still have all the other concerns to address such as base flatness, soft foot issues, etc. However, proper wind turbine alignment can minimize wasted energy, increase component life of the machines, and help reduce the possibility of catastrophic failure. With a customized Easy-Laser® shaft alignment system using special brackets, the gearbox and generator can be aligned even if the coupling is removed and the brake is locked. This way the maintenance technicians can make alignments even in bad weather conditions when the wind is stronger, but keep safe. Speaking of keeping safe, we had one of our own do some on-the job training for a customer in Southern, Ontario recently, see photo below.

John-Paul Lambert of Benchmark PDM on top of the nacelle, taking a break for a photo with a view.

All of this should give us food for thought. Is the lack of mass making these machines more sensitive to vibration a positive thing or a negative thing? I say it a positive thing because if you are aware of it you will do something about it. On land/ground-based machines the damaging forces are there but we do not see them as much because mass dampens the vibration. So often it is ignored which leads to machine failure in many cases. But that’s what I think, what do you think?

Benchmark PDM joins HP Reliability at PEMAC’s MainTrain Conference in Saskatoon

This week we joined up with HP Reliability’s James Kovacevic (pictured above speaking with PEMAC President, Susan Lubell) to exhibit at PEMAC’s MainTrain Conference in Saskatoon. HP Reliability are proud representatives of Benchmark PDM and Easy-Laser alignment and measurement systems in the South Western Ontario region. As such, we were happy to exhibit our brand new alignment systems: the Easy-Laser XT660 Shaft Alignment system and the XT190 BTA Belt Alignment system.

Distributing Easy-Laser products is only part of what HP Reliability does. To put it in a couple sentences, James explains that:

“We provide an online toolbox full of real world tips, techniques, and training your business can implement to achieve world-class efficiency and bring profit back to industry.

We cover every aspect of the reliability & maintenance process depending on your specific needs. From core fundamentals that will allow your organization to build a solid maintenance foundation, to the advanced techniques that have been refined over 12+ years of real-world experience on the shop floors.”

On top of exhibiting at the conference, James also was one of the speakers where he discussed PM Optimization – Integrating “Lean” Into Your Maintenance Strategy.

Easy-Laser release brand new XT660 Shaft Alignment and XT190 BTA Belt Alignment Systems

The Easy-Laser® XT660 is here!

We are happy to announce the next system in Generation XT, the Easy-Laser® XT660, which builds on Easy-Laser’s groundbreaking cross-platform technology. You can use your own iOS/Android phone or tablet as a display unit, or purchase the watertight, rugged XT11. Or why not do both? The app is free to download, both now and in the future. The choice is yours!

The XT660 offers measuring units with dot laser. You now have access to advanced measurement methods, such as continuous sweep and multipoint. You can perform measurements on larger machines and over longer distances. You have even greater potential to perform correct machine installation right from the start, by checking the twist/flatness of the base. In short, Easy-Laser® XT660 is the system for machine aligners who see the bigger picture.

Other new features in the XT Alignment app:

  • It is now possible to set intervals and time periods in order to register measurement values automatically in the Value program.
  • It is now also possible to e-mail measurement reports from the XT11.
  • New program: digital alignment of sheaves/pulleys (accessory required)
  • Improved graphics and interface.

Note that the other new features (above) in the app will also benefit users of the XT440 system. The new version of the app is expected to be available at the AppStore/GooglePlay and on our website at the beginning of October. Click here for more information on the XT660.

Easy-Laser® XT190 BTA

Easy-Laser is now also launching their new digital tool for belt drive alignment, the Easy-Laser® XT190 BTA. It can be used as “stand-alone” system with the built-in display, or you can download the free app for your phone or tablet. You can follow the adjustment of the machine in real time from the side of the machine where you are making adjustments. Other benefits include access to shim values, checking against the manufacturer’s alignment tolerances and the potential to document the alignment. You naturally also enjoy the same opportunities with our own display unit, the XT11! Click here for more information on the XT190 BTA.

Another Successful Easy-Laser Shaft Alignment Training Session

Benchmark PDM recently conducted a one-day training session with EMW Industrial in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. EMW Industrial is an industrial company specializing in industrial field services, fabrication, piping/welding services and much more. They have a very experienced and professional crew of millwrights and they had no problem being trained on the mid-range Easy-Laser E540 Shaft alignment system.

We were happy make the visit and train them on a precision shaft alignment system and know they will continue to deliver the best in quality and value in their work. Job well done by all!

Listen to latest Rooted in Reliability podcast on “Condition Monitoring”

The Rooted in Reliability podcast is a weekly Maintenance and Reliability podcast covering common industry challenges and what you can learn from them. Each episode dives deeper into critical issues and explains who you can begin correcting theses maintenance flaws today. Sharing new tips and techniques to help you achieve industry best practice and shining a light on widely debated maintenance topics with special guest experts. In the most recent episode, host James Kovacevic, of HP Reliability, interviews John Lambert, President of Benchmark PDM, in Toronto, Canada. John has 30+ years experience in machinery installation and condition monitoring. He has trained many people over the years on these subjects. Below is an excerpt from James’ post:

Ever wonder why your assets aren’t producing the value they are supposed to even if you have trained staff and big budgets? Are you a fan of Predictive maintenance improvement of your organizational processes? Then, condition monitoring is where you should start. The meaning of this word is as simple as the word itself. You just need to check the state of your asset on a regular basis and as the state of your asset changes, you would know what possible failures that change can lead to and then you can try predictive maintenance strategies to stop that failure from occurring in the first place.

It is sort of like visual inspection of your assets but it involves plenty of measurements that you have to take. These measurements can be standardized as normal and when there’s a difference also called an abnormal measurement reading and you can start monitoring the assets closely by taking the measurements more often. Considering the consequences of these abnormal readings, you may have to make changes in your processes. To know what is the meaning of those readings you need training, experience, and research data. There needs to be some normal standard to which you can compare the readings that you have taken. These standards can be anything starting from the ISO standards for machine vibration or OEM specifications for the equipment and the historical data to make predictions.

You can read the rest of Mr. Kovacevic’s blog post right here.

Listen to the new podcast here:

Belt, Chain & Pulley Alignment

A common misunderstanding is that belt drives are not affected dramatically by misalignment. This assumption has cost the industry a huge amount in unnecessary replacement of sheaves/pulleys, sprockets, belts and chains etc. Also several investigations have shown savings up to 10 % in energy costs alone!

One of the objectives during the installation is to remove any unwanted stress from the machine units. We can do this by aligning the belts correctly. This will give the optimum operating life for the belt but also the machine. To align the belt you have to correct the offset and  angular misalignment in both the Horizontal and Vertical planes.

 

Angular misalignment in the horizontal plane (toe-out and toe-in).

 

Parallel misalignment (offset) in the horizontal and vertical planes.

 

 

Angular and parallel misalignment in both planes. This is normally what we are trying to correct.

 

Belt drives with several wide belts are especially sensitive. It is easy to understand that the difference in belt tension between the inner and outer belts can differ greatly when aligned incorrectly. This reduces efficiency as not all belts are driven optimally. If one belt is worn then all belts must be replaced with new ones at the same time, which adds expense to the entire operation. Extending service life of belts thanks to correct alignment is easy.

Whichever of our tools you choose for sheave/pulley alignment it usually pays for itself within a few months. Below on the left: Easy-Laser D90 BTA – Visually read targets. Possible to add digital detectors. Below to the right: Easy-Laser XT190 BTA BTA – Standalone wireless Bluetooth digital belt alignment system. Can also be used with E51 Display (ie. E540 and E710 shaft alignment systems), XT11 Display (ie. XT440/XT660 Shaft alignment systems), and any Android/Apple phone/tablet (with the XT Alignment app.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side Mounting for Greater Accuracy
Easy-Laser® uses the pulley’s side surface as reference during alignment. This gives greater accuracy, as the mounting surface for the tool is larger than if the tool was mounted against the radial surface. Any faults and damage on the pulley affect the result less on the side (see image). The risk of wear and damage on the pulley is obviously greater in and by the groove where belts run. A further advantage is that without extra accessories, all types of pulleys can be aligned, regardless of belt type. It is even easy to compensate for pulleys of varying widths. Magnetic mountings on lasers, detectors or targets make it easy to install the equipment. Even non-magnetic pulleys can be aligned as the units are extremely light and can be mounted against the side, secured by double-sided tape.

For small and large pulleys (A/B). A large mounting surface (C) as on the BTA affects accuracy less than a small one with the same fault on the pulley.

 

The Advantages of Lasers Compared to Traditional Technology
Using lasers makes work faster and easier than with traditional methods such as String or straightedge. These methods usually require two people to carry out the work, one to hold the straighedge and one to adjust the machine. Spotting small differences with the naked eye using these methods is both arbitrary and dependent on who is performing the alignment. Laser alignment and measurement systems are considerably easier to read. In addition, they are much more accurate.

From the belt manufacturer’s side, it is sometimes recommended that there is a maximum angular error between the pulleys of 0.5 to 0.25 degrees for optimal service life and efficiency. Such small angles cannot be seen with the naked eye without the assistance of a laser.

Correctly Aligned Machines Means Greater Improvements
Increases availability and productivity of the machine = assured production
Increased service life of belts, pulleys and bearings = fewer removals of replacement parts
Optimally utilized lubricant film = less risk of overheating and secondary damage
Reduced friction = lower energy consumption
Less vibration = reduced noise level
Less risk of serious breakdowns = safer working environment

Greater overall savings with fewer spare parts, lower energy consumption and less unscheduled downtime.

Listen to latest Rooted in Reliability podcast on “Understanding Thermal Growth”

The Rooted in Reliability podcast is a weekly Maintenance and Reliability podcast covering common industry challenges and what you can learn from them. Each episode dives deeper into critical issues and explains who you can begin correcting theses maintenance flaws today. Sharing new tips and techniques to help you achieve industry best practice and shining a light on widely debated maintenance topics with special guest experts. In the most recent episode, host James Kovacevic, of HP Reliability, interviews John Lambert, President of Benchmark PDM, in Toronto, Canada. John has 30+ years experience in machinery installation and condition monitoring. He has trained many people over the years on these subjects. Below is an excerpt from James’ post:

In this episode, the thermal growth and the understanding of the phenomenon how it occurs and how to prevent and calculate it is being discussed by John Lambert. So, first of all, we have to know what actually the thermal growth is. The answer is simple. This phenomenon occurs when the rotating machines get hot due to the difference in temperature and they start to expand in every direction. As these machines are mostly metal so their thermal growth is explained by the coefficient of linear thermal expansion that is already known for many different materials.

Now what happens is that organizations don t do the necessary calculations even though these are pretty simple. You can calculate it easily if you have the coefficient of thermal expansion of the material, to what temperature it is to be heated, and the length of material. Their product is what helps you to apply the calculations that you have made for thermal growth and help you prevent the thermal expansion in your machines. You should not think of it as a common issue because it can get critical if you do not address it properly. Measuring it not only makes your shaft alignment better, it also compensates for losses on a regular basis.

You can read the rest of Mr. Kovacevic’s blog post right here.

Listen to the new podcast here:

“Driven By Precision” – MRO Magazine does Feature Interview with John Lambert in June 2017 Issue

The popular MRO Magzine, who have been “serving machinery & equipment maintenance professionals across Canada” since 2009, have recently published an interview John Lambert in their latest edition. The interview, called “Driven by Precision” features John Lambert, President of Benchmark PDM, and about passing on his many years of experience to the colleges and the next generation.

Below is an excerpt from the interview:

MRO: You recently changed your company name to Benchmark PDM (Precision Driven Maintenance). Why did you make this change?
Lambert: We used to be Benchmark Maintenance Services reflecting the desire to be a service provider. However, because of our strong training programs we became a knowledge-based company and as such we promote a maintenance strategy/philosophy, which is condition-based maintenance. An element of this is precision maintenance. It’s simple; you don’t have to buy anything. All that it is is working to a standard.

MRO: You are on the advisory board at Durham College. Do you teach there?
Lambert: Being on the advisory board is something I enjoy. It’s my way of giving back. I still think of myself as a tradesman and I’m proud of it. The trade has been good to me and I like to help if I can. I don’t teach; they have very good and very qualified instructors at the college. Our role on the board is to advise on industry trends, on new technology being used. On new demands, such as windmill tower maintenance or on growing industries such as elevator service work.

You can read the whole interview here. You can also find it in MRO Magazine’s June Digital Edition here.