Thermal Growth Studies

Misalignment causes excessive stress and premature failure of machinery. In many cases, misalignment occurs due to unanticipated thermal growth. The original equipment suppliers recommended cold offsets are intended to result in good alignment at operating conditions. However, the design cold offsets do not allow for some factors that may have a detrimental effect on the operating alignment. For example, pipe stress or degraded insulation can cause alignment changes not considered in the OEM recommendations.

The only way to know if the machinery is aligned at operating conditions is to verify alignment while the machinery is operating. Mid-America Dynamics performs thermal growth studies which accomplish that goal. Using the Permalign system, we can monitor alignment changes across a coupling as the machinery is started, operated, shutdown, and cooled or heated. Since the Permalign system is a continuous monitoring system, we can observe changes that occur throughout the machinery's range of operating conditions. As a result of a thermal growth study, we can recommend new cold offsets or other actions to eliminate the root cause of the problem.