Big Data, Cloud, Internet of Things, and Smart Factory: This is just a selection of the buzzwords currently dominating the discussions in many industry sectors. Beneath all of this is the need for almost complete automation of production and control processes.

However, the move towards self-controlling production plants increases the functional complexity and also drastically increases the requirements on the operating personnel. User-friendly and well-conceived solutions will therefore become even more important in the future.

Objective: Smart Factory
An important prerequisite for automation and plant management is the communication among the machines. For this reason, connecting all the components within a plant is a central prerequisite for setting up the so-called “Smart Factory.” The vision of the Smart Factory also requires that that all upstream and downstream production processes be interconnected. Such a plant monitoring system also requires interfaces for the seemless data exchange between plant control, process visualization, and operator.

Misalignments
More than 50 % of all pump damage is caused by misalignment. The failure rate can be significantly reduced with the use of laser measuring systems.

misalignments graph
Fig. 1: Misalignments

Device connectivity is the measure of all things in maintenance as well
Comprehensive device connectivity, be it via a network, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or a Cloud solution is also a key requirement when implementing maintenance solutions. Connectivity is decisive for mobile service and maintenance teams. They often perform maintenance work at different sites and/or for different clients and need to be able to call up orders or send measurement reports at any time.

Alignment as part of the maintenance strategy
Intelligent condition monitoring of machines and plants is an important part of a comprehensive maintenance strategy. This also includes the precise alignment of machine shafts, as incorrect alignment causes more than 50 % of all damage to rotating machines.

Misalignment means:

  • Premature wear of bearings, seals, shafts, and couplings
  • High temperatures at bearing and coupling
  • Excessive vibrations
  • Loose foundation screwsBreaking (or tearing) of shafts on the inside
  • Increased power consumption

If a new machine has been correctly aligned at commissioning, and regularly checked thereafter, a significant amount of operating and maintenance costs can be saved.

Laser shaft alignment with online functionality
Different shaft alignment methods are available. Shaft alignment using a straightedge, a feeler gauge, or a dial gauge can still be found. One of the disadvantages of these methods is that they cannot be integrated into a Smart Factory with self-controlling production processes as they do not offer connectivity. However, integration of maintenance tools into technologies of the Smart Factory are already possible: The laser-optical method is used worldwide and across many industry sectors as standard process for shaft alignment. Mobile devices, such as tablet PCs or smartphones, can communicate with the sensor system. Thus, measurement reports can be sent immediatly via e.g. e-mail.

Laser shaft alignment offers many outstanding advantages, including:

  • Graphical display of the alignment results
  • No coupling disassembly required during measurement
  • Accurate and repeatable results paired with high usability
  • Results can be electronically stored and printed
  • Display of vertical and horizontal corrections in real time during machine adjustment (Live Move mode)

ROTALIGN touch - the first Cloud-based alignment system for Smart Factories
Connectivity and usability paired with high precision: ROTALIGN touch, the latest member of the PRUFTECHNIK product family meets all the requirements for a modern and innovative alignment system.

ROTALIGN touch image
Fig. 2: Package ROTALIGN touch

picture of man entering dimensions on ROTALIGN touch
Fig. 3: Enter dimensions

Mobile connectivity at its best
As the only cloud-based laser shaft alignment system with touchscreen, the ROTALIGN touch can be fully utilized in the area of connectivity. Using the new ALIGNMENT RELIABILITY CENTER 4.0 software, alignment work orders e.g. to service teams can be sent in real time via the Cloud to mobile ROTALIGN touch devices worldwide. In return, the Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled devices can send measurement results back from any location directly via the Cloud and without PC connection. In combination with the integrated RFID scanner, the plant-specific tasks enable a fully automated and error-free machine identification. After the corrections, the alignment condition as left can be conveniently stored in the RFID tag of the machine. Using the inbuilt camera, the user can add photos to the measurement report for a more visual documentation.

image showing real-time communication
Fig. 4: Real-time communication between ALIGNMENT RELIABILITY CENTER 4.0 and ROTALIGN touch via the Cloud

ROTALIGN touch - Alignment as a dynamic condition monitoring parameter
With the ROTALIGN touch, alignment is not a static snapshot anymore. It becomes a dynamic machine condition monitoring parameter. ROTALIGN touch is the only alignment system that can track the alignment condition over time in order to detect machine problems early on.

Easy user interface enables alignment in one-key flow
Alignment has never been easier:
The newly developed user interface with 3D animations enables a fully intuitive and visual work sequence. Using the wizard-like user guidance, users may perform standard and more sophisticated alignment jobs by only pressing one button. Navigating back and forth between the screens is possible at any time.

entering dimensions into ROTALIGN touch
Step 1: Enter dimensions

Step 2 image
Step 2: Measure

viewing results with ROTALIGN touch
Step 3: View results

Step 4 image
Step 4: Perfect alignment

Easy navigation between the screens via navigation keys

ROTALIGN touch - More highlights

  • Voice recognition - ROTALIGN touch can recognize and process voice commands making both your hands free for the alignment task
  • sensALIGN - The unique, intelligent sensor technology offers the unmatched precision and accuracy you’ve come to expect from PRUFTECHNIK
  • Display screen made of strengthened glass and robust housing - ROTALIGN touch withstands even the most intensive industrial use
  • Results table for quick check of measurement repeatability without navigating away from the current measurement.
  • First capacitive touchscreen-embedded system on the shaft alignment market that can also be operated with gloves.

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