Installing heavy machinery into a manufacturing environment is a laborious and time-consuming affair. Whether it’s a large printing press, a generator, turbine, hydraulic press or some other massive heavy and unwieldy apparatus, getting it in the door and on the floor takes planning, patience and elbow grease. Whenever installing heavy machinery of any type, it’s best to first plan for every contingency and then double check all complications. Above all, be ready to do what’s necessary to level and balance the new machine. Nothing affects maximum productivity like a bad tilt to the left.
Preparing the Surface
Before bringing the new machine for delivery, prepare the surface for installation. Measure concrete floors for slope or any variation from true level. Also, determine if the machine can be positioned on or around perturbations in the floor surface to equal a level footing. Resurfacing or grinding a floor may not be necessary if a 1/4-inch variation here can be matched with the same variation over there where the two of the machine’s footings or mounting hardware are positioned. If a heavy machine has to be positioned exactly to connect or work with existing machinery, consider grinding or adding more to the surface to achieve a more level floor.
Get from the manufacturer the specifications for maximum leveling variations. If it is a heavy machine with adjustable feet, find out the maximum amount of lift or play before taking delivery. If the machine can only be adjusted one inch and your plant floor is over one inch out of level from side to side you may have to alter the floor surface before delivery.
Leveling the machine
Once delivered and installed, use any leveling adjustments on the machine first. It may be the feet are a screw type and can be altered in height. Also, use a floating bubble straight level to make sure the machine is level not only left to right but also front to back. Shims (wedged pieces of wood or metal) inserted at various places on the machine’s bottom can be used if absolutely necessary to lift a corner. A large pry bar or even a hydraulic jack may be needed to get the shim inserted under the machine. Once in, a good sized sledgehammer can advance the shim wedge and lift the machine further. Always measure again after making a single leveling adjustment. Don’t lift the rear right corner and front left corner before checking for level. Constantly put the floating bubble on the machine during installation and leveling.