SKF Solution Factory - Marine Services
News of Machine Support

Warm welcome ShaftDesigner

This year Machine Support celebrates 25 years of operations. In this time, Machine Support has built up a reputation as alignment specialist, solving the most complex problems anywhere in the world. To do this Machine support has developed a complete portfolio of products and services in order to provide total alignment solutions to its customers, measuring, detecting and solving alignment problems. The company also provides on-site machining, chocking and mounting services and products, 3D measurement surveys using laser tracker equipment, as well as engineering support. They know, through their experience in the alignment industry, the importance of a correctly aligned installation not only to avoid devastating machinery failure, but also to avoid unnecessary noise and vibration problems. An example from a Machine Support product that helps avoiding noise and vibration problems by creating a perfect machinery mounting surface, is the Vibracon. This is a self levelling, height adjustable and re-usable machinery chock, that eliminates the soft foot of equipment.

Innovation is one of the key words in Machine Support’s way of working. Therefore they have recently added ShaftDesigner to its portfolio. ShaftDesigner is innovative shaft calculation software, which is capable of calculating the optimal alignment of complete propulsion trains. ShaftDesigner is helping the Machine Support service department to use revolutionary new ways of measuring alignment on board vessels. Currently, it has led to the use of strain gauge technology in shaft alignment tasks. The big advantage is that flanges no longer need to be decoupled in order to measure the alignment because of the software’s reverse engineering possibilities. This takes away the necessity to dry-dock the vessel. Also, they are already field-testing dynamic shaft alignment measurement technologies, making it possible to detect irregularities in the alignment of vessels in operation. This is taking them a step closer to the possibility of applying condition monitoring to shafts, instantly identifying inefficiencies in the alignment. This in turn helps avoid potential noise and vibration problems, as well as failures in parts of the propulsion train. All these measurements and calculations are offered by the Machine Support service department.

Since ShaftDesigner went on sale last year, it remains the only software to incorporate vibration calculations to the same base model used for alignment calculations. This way, it is easy for users to calculate if a certain installation has potential whirling, bending, axial, or torsional vibration issues. Additionally, thanks to the 3D modeller, it is easy to realistically represent the entire propulsion train and move bearings around to minimize the chance of these vibrations. It is also possible to have the software calculate optimal bearing offsets for you.

ShaftDesigner therefore is the perfect tool to decrease the chance of unexpected vibrations when the vessel is designed, first tested, but also to help realign the propulsion train when vibration issues occur. When vibration calculations are performed the software identifies flaws it the propulsion train design. ShaftDesigner is available in separate modules, including alignment and different forms of vibration, ensuring users only pay for what they need.

Due to the lack of a software package offering alignment as well as all vibration calculations, ShaftDesigner received a warm welcome from ship designers, shipbuilders, OEM’s and classification agencies. In particular the module for torsional vibration calculation has proven very popular. In order to provide this torsional vibration calculation software at a reasonable price, a stand-alone version for ShaftDesigner’s torsional vibration module has been created.

Also for ShaftDesigner innovation is a main focus. In close cooperation with their software development partner, Intellectual Maritime Technologies (IMT), Machine Support is constantly looking for additions to the software that provides new solutions for alignment and vibration problems. Currently a module for transient vibration is under development. Transient vibrations are generally hard to detect and solve. This is because these vibrations are temporary by nature and generally only occur in machinery operation during machine run-up, shutdown, or changing speed or load conditions. Machine Support is aiming to be the first to offer calculation software and service, as well as on-site solutions, for transient vibration issues.

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Dr. Yuriy Batrak from IMT, Arie Leeuwenburg and Martin van Leest from Machine Support Placing of strain gauge on shaft Taking jack load measurements on board Vibracon Diesel engine mounted on Vibracon chocks