In order to establish and maintain proper tension in a machine, a mechanic often needs the help of a specialized tool. A balancing machine is used to help create this type of symmetry within rotating machines. It can perform this task through individual part rotation and sensor detection.
In a typical balancing machine, a set of two firm pedestals are accompanied by bearings and a suspension. Most machines have the capability to balance a variety of parts. These parts can include rotors for electric motors, disc drives, turbines, disc brakes, fans, pumps, and propellers.
To use a balancing machine, the item requiring alignment may be placed directly onto the bearings, either manually or mechanically. The unit is then rotated, using an air-, end-, or belt-drive. During the rotation, the item will vibrate. This vibration will enable the attached sensors within the machine to determine how unbalanced the unit may be, and therefore how much shift is needed to establish equilibrium. It can also pinpoint where weights are needed, if any, for balancing, and where the weights should be placed.
Many types of balancing machines exist. The two main types, hard-bearing and soft-bearing machines, differ in their suspensions. Hard-bearing balance machines involve a lower frequency use, and are more flexible as well as durable. They can be used for objects with weights that vary greatly.
Soft-bearing machines require a higher frequency, and are less flexible to use. They entail a new calibration for each use, and may be used for balancing items of a very precise nature. Though considered more time consuming, soft bearing machines are ideal for high-production jobs.
A static balancing machine allows a part to remain stationary while being measured. Also known as a vertical balancing machine, it calculates balance by how far the part might move away from its geometric center while standing at rest. Blade balancing machines are used for balancing units during assembly in order to prevent additional corrections after a product is complete. Used on items such as turbines, fans, and propellers, they weigh each blade during creation. Then they enter blade weights into a software program that sorts them into usable arrangements.
For instruments that cannot be easily disassembled, such as machines that are currently in use, portable balancing machines may be used. Through displacement sensors mounted onto a part, they measure vibrations while a machine is in operation. This identifies which parts are in need of balancing.