The reasons we like selling Hamar Stealth Shaft Alignment Lasers
Attention: Rod Hamar - President
Re: Stealth Laser Alignment Systems
I write to relay to Hamar our experiences working with the Stealth laser systems over the last two years. In that time we have provided many Stealth alignment systems to both alignment contractors and in-house maintenance teams across a broad range of industries including industrial refrigeration, water authorities, oil & gas, mining operations, marine repairers, building maintenance teams and bulk material handling facilities. At the same time we have had the opportunity to put our own S-680 system through its paces in many real-world alignments and have developed total confidence in the alignment results and the precision of the live-move guidance it provides, which can greatly reduce the overall alignment time required on any job.
The S-670 and S-680 systems have many good features that make them highly competitive with the alternative systems on the market, but here I would like to focus on one truly outstanding aspect of the laser's performance that Hamar deserves to take great pride in.
In practice, especially in a maintenance team environment, the ease of use of a laser system is an issue that will make or break the implementation of laser alignment in that facility. I am aware of plenty of older generation European laser aligners that are sitting on people's shelves unused because of a lack of operator knowledge about how to use them.
In any maintenance team, there are usually a core of experienced technicians with the sort of deep machine knowledge that only comes from years of experience, a number of whom very often may not be greatly familiar with computerised systems and who will approach laser alignment cautiously. Younger technicians in the team are often confident "digital natives" who pick up the laser controller and have explored the system options before I have even set up my training rig, but who as yet may have little experience with real machine alignment problems. The rub for the maintenance manager is that he needs everyone in his team to be able to take the laser aligner out in the field and use it effectively, even if they may individually not use it on a regular basis, especially when working in a large team environment.
Having now provided on-site introductory laser training for over 300 new laser users, I have had the opportunity to work with personnel with a very broad range of previous experience and skills, and have been impressed many times over with just how easily people "get" the Hamar Couple5 software. Our normal half-day training session invariably runs short, because we manage to work through a full system familiarisation and then have the group break in pairs to each undertake a complete alignment procedure, beginning with making a soft-foot correction right through to getting the rig in tolerance vertically and horizontally, and usually we still have an hour to spare.
As your team at Hamar designed the control interface, I guess I don't have to tell you what makes it so good, but I do know how valuable user feedback is to any designer. It is very clear that this software was written with lots of close involvement from people with real alignment experience. The 5-step checklist taken from the previous generation of Hamar software breaks the alignment process up into very logical and straight-forward individual steps and the design of each screen very clearly and simply presents exactly the information related to that step - with this system I rarely see even a beginner not figure out what he needs to do before pressing the "NEXT" button that is visually consistent on every screen. As one recent trainee, previously experience in using SKF, Rotalign and Optalign Smart systems told his boss after our familiarisation session: "I am very impressed with this system. It just tells you what to do next!"
The way the Hamar control leads the operator to measure soft-foot before taking any alignment readings, and tells them exactly what shims to pack to correct it, is excellent - from my experience sorting out soft-foot before attempting any moves easily reduces alignment times by up to 50%.
And finally, the quality and effectiveness of Hamar's live move graphics surely make this one of the best tools in the laser alignment industry. The dynamically moving image of the moveable machine on the display screen makes the move data feel very real. There is simply no confusion as to which direction to go and it is easy to see for yourself the correlation between the coupling data and the move values at each foot. Being able to flip the graphics over at any time to reflect the side of the machine where the operator is standing is a simple but brilliant feature from Hamar - we get great feedback on that one, and I am not surprised to see other manufacturers try to copy it.
The machine move stage is the most critical step in any alignment. Behind its great graphics, this is where we have seen the very high resolution and accuracy of the system pay real dividends, because the live move data on a Stealth system has proven to be dependable and accurate like never before. I have been very impressed to be able to align a new motor to close tolerances on several occasions with only one alignment measurement, one combined vertical and horizontal live-move correction and a confirmation retest - job done! Well, you may not always be able to align a machine that fast, but it shows two things: that the condition of the machinery being aligned makes a big difference, and that the Hamar Stealth lasers are truly up to the task!
Thanks to you and your team for the development of this great product.