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Vibration Analysis
Vibration App Guide
Vibration Diagnostic Gallery
Vibration Standards
Fluid Machinery
PumpSize App Guide
GasComp App Guide
FluidFilter App Guide
Rotor Balance
No Phase (Four Run) Balance
Graphical Balance
Balance Calculator
Safety and Preparation


Rotating Equipment Resources


Ensure that the operations staff and assisting personnel are fully
conversant with the plan for access and trial runs on the machinery. This
can be achieved via a toolbox talk which is mandatory in most client

Familiarise yourself with the location and operation of the emergency

stop mechanism.

Prior to running the machine or taking measurements the engineer

should ensure all machine guards are installed. If measurements must be
taken with bare shaft exposed then all cables should be firmly secured
using cable ties or similar to ensure that they cannot move when the
machine is started. The cables should be long enough to allow the
engineer to retire to a safe distance from the machine while it is started.

When the machine is stopped for fitting of balance weights then the
engineer must ensure that all appropriate permitery is in place and the
machine is electrically isolated (and mechanically isolated where
appropriate) before any guards are removed or access to the rotor is

Ensure all trial weights are firmly attached. If possible, positive

centrifugal restraint should be used via existing bolts or overturned
section of shrouding.


Before attempting to balance, analyse the machine response to be sure

the problem is due to imbalance.

Ensure that the vibration characteristics throughout the machine are

consistent with imbalance and the vibration levels are stable. Analyse the
response of the complete machine and be sure that the component to be
balanced is the unbalanced component within the machine. Do not
automatically assume that all vibration problems can be solved by

Inspect the machine for obvious signs of damage such as cracks in the
rotor or shaft. Make sure all mounting bolts are tight. Check the rotor for
build up of dirt or other deposits. Check vertical and horizontal response
amplitudes and ensure ratios are consistent for the type and installation
of machine being considered. Consider the effect on other machine
components, which might result from the balancing work which you are
about to perform.

From your analysis data note which of the radial readings exhibits the
higher 1 x rpm component, horizontal or vertical, and attach your
vibration transducer in the direction of the higher measured amplitude.

Before recording your unbalance readings make sure the machine has
had time to stabilise.

When the machine is rundown for the addition of the first trial weight
observe the vibration response as the machine coasts down. If the
machine exhibits a shaft critical speed, then this technique should not be
used for the balancing of this rotor.

When the machine is stopped for adding trial weights, observe and
record the presence of any background vibration from nearby machines.
If these levels are high at the rotational speed of the machine you wish to
balance, then this technique should not be adopted.


Take care in selecting the size of a trial weight. If the trial weight is too
small, no change in amplitude will be noted, and a balance run will have
been wasted. On the other hand, a trial weight which is too large may
damage the machine.

There is no substitute for experience in the selection of such weights and

many factors require to be taken into account. However a common
approach for selecting a trial weight is to use a weight which will produce
an unbalance force at the support bearing equal to 10% of the rotor
weight supported by the bearing.

The size of the trial weight can be calculated via the following
abbreviated formula:

m = (44,700,000 x M) / ( r x N2 )


m = mass of trial weight (g)

M = mass of rotor (kg)
N = speed of rotor in (rpm)
r = radius of balance weight position (mm)

Hence for the calculation of a suitable trial weight for a two bearing
machine running at 3600 rpm with a centrally mounted rotor weighing of
2039 kg, we would choose a trial weight which would produce a force
equivalent to 10% of the rotor mass supported by each bearing.

Having inspected the rotor and found a suitable balance plane the
engineer will measure the radius at which the weight will be placed. Let
us assume we are balancing on a coupling hub with balance plane radius
of 200 mm.

A suitable trial weight would therefore be

m = (44,700,000 x 2039) / (200 x 3600)2
m = 35 grams
© 2016 Steve Young