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100 YEARS OF BALANCING TECHNOLOGY

For more than 100 years, balancing technology has been closely related to the name Carl Schenck: In 1908 the Darmstadt-based company built its first balancing machine. This does not mean, however, that balancing had not been on the agenda before: The fact that even the rotors of the earliest steam engines had to run smoothly made balancing a point of interest even in those early days. Look here. for many important milestones for the history of balancing. BALANCING IN ITS EARLY STAGES

Nowadays we find it hard to believe that balancing of a steam turbine rotor took three to four weeks of hard manual labour in the early days of industrialisation. Around 150 years ago, the available technology was comparatively simple, and the result of the balancing process rather inaccurate. Boilers exploding, or flywheels disintegrating at high speeds, constituted a serious hazard. Inadequate balance quality also caused bearings to wear down quickly. Experienced engineers recognised these dangers and started looking for solutions. The Canadian engineer H. MARTINSON was one of the first to look into the subject of balancing from a theoretical point of view. In 1870 he was granted what was probably the first patent for a balancing machine. The rotor was mounted isotropically on soft coil springs, driven by a universal-joint shaft. By gradually moving a piece of chalk towards the rotating rotor, you were able to determine the position of the unbalance with some degree of accuracy. However, there is no record as to whether this machine actually worked, or whether it was ever built in major quantities. ... FROM ROLL-BALANCING FACILITIES TO BALANCING MACHINES – SCHENCK APPEARS ON THE SCENE

.volume production.001 mm . With the basic components known at this time. The "Lawaczeck model" was capable of achieving a balance quality equivalent to a centre of gravity displacement of 0. Ing.As technical development advanced rapidly. The wattmeter method. FROM MECHANICAL TO "ELECTRICAL MACHINES" In 1935 a machine patented in the USA. FRANZ LAWACZECK in his paper "Zur Theorie und Konstruktion der Balanziermaschine" (Theory and design of a balancing machine). suppressed undesirable parasitic vibrations. The "Lawaczeck principle" remained valid right up to the forties: It consisted of a pendulum-mounted fixed bearing on the one side of the rotor and a radially flexible bearing on the other side. wattmeter. i. featuring electrodynamic vibration sensors and stroboscopic determination of the unbalance angle pioneered a change-over to a new design.a balance quality which would even today be perfectly adequate for many applications. who had also started looking into the subject of "roll-off" balancing at that time. After initial correction in one plane. concluded a licence agreement with Lawaczeck . a number of new optical and mechanical measuring methods were developed. whose measuring accuracy was quite remarkable. In 1942 Schenck was granted a patent for a "Method and facility for dynamic balancing by determination of the angular position of unbalance by means of a periodic curve displayed on the screen of an oscillocope". This was the first balancing system suitable for large-. experience and approximately three to four weeks of labour to statically balance rotors on knifeedges. In 1915 Schenck took over the sole worldwide licence for this machine.e. During this period. In 1908 CARL SCHENCK. the rotor was reinstalled. Due to its high accuracy the system was used right through the second world war for balancing gyroscopic stabilizers for naval vessels. using the "roll-off " method. Workers required a lot of skill. the problems caused by rotor vibrations became more and more obvious. A workable solution was described in 1907 by Dr. the next step in the development.

THE DAWNING OF A NEW AGE IN BALANCING The rapid economic and technical development in the post war period also left its marks on balancing technology. . In 1953 the illuminated-spot vectormeter brought a further advance. In the early fifties a completely new method was developed for large. unbalance measurement. In parallel to the development of what was then called "Workshop Machines" nowadays referred to as Universal Balancing Machines . the automotive industry. rapidly increasing demand for electrical power resulted in larger power stations being built with ever increasing power generation capability. "Balancing lines" for crankshafts determined the unbalance of crankshafts and the required drilling depth for its correction. Unbalance values were displayed on two pointer instruments. the vectormeter is an indispensable part of modern measuring instruments . Altogether. Until the present time. Also in the early fifties. aeronautical and aerospace technology. it was possible to determine the position and magnitude of the unbalance in one measuring run.the unbalance was now visible. correction and check run for a crankshaft took around 2 minutes.a practice-proven method of showing the position and magnitude of the unbalance on modern measuring instruments with display screen.volume production of crankshafts: Mass centering of crankshaft forgings or castings. This was a new process which enabled the actual axis of inertia of a crankshaft forging or casting to be determined and marked with centering holes. A simple transport system transferred the crankshafts from the measuring station to the drilling unit and back.vibration sensor and angle reference generator. Even today. the energy generating and electrical industries and mechanical engineering with their constantly rising requirements are the driving forces for its continuous further development.automation of the balancing process moved forward with great strides. The combination of both values in a single display unit and the "storage" of the measured values in the form of a light spot on a screen significantly simplified the balancing process .

Motor car manufacturers started balancing tyres during the production process. The emergence of jet engines brought a new advance in balancing technology: A series of horizontal and vertical machines was built. These systems were suitable for many tasks in large-volume production and took into account the economical aspect of balancing. After 1968 hard-bearing machines became more and more common in the industry. As a result . There was no need for a rotor-specific calibration . Apart from turbine and compressor discs. often venturing on to new terrain. tailored exactly to the requirements of the jet engine manufacturers. During this period. Although early models did not achieve the same accuracies. along with moment of inertia measuring tables. A number of pioneering new solutions for demanding tasks were developed. In addition. Towards the end of the sixties. . or centre-of-gravity weighing systems. This was a significant advantage. which was revolutionary at the time. unbalance became a real challenge. In contrast. special workshop machines were required for retrofitting. It only took one balancing run for the machine to display the magnitude and angular position of unbalance. as the time-consuming task of removing the rotor from the balancing machine and re-installing it on the drilling machine was no longer necessary. their main areas of application were in fatigue testing of fast-moving tools such as polishing and grinding discs. For the first time.The development of Series RI and DI balancing and over-speed test rigs for turbines and generators made it possible for the first time to systematically correct the unbalance of rotors with a total weight of up to around 80t. they had a practical advantage in everyday operation in as much as they were significantly faster. and new types of tyres emerged. The first balancing machines for satellites and rockets were developed.all the machine operator had to do was to enter some basic geometrical dimensions and start the balancing run. mass correction was performed by a drill unit integrated into the balancing machine. the cost of balancing decreased significantly. the aerospace industry emerged as a new partner. The aeronautical and aerospace industries presented their own challenges for balancing technology. the product range was extended with a series of MAN spin test rigs manufactured under a licence. the problems of motorists were much more down-to-earth in the early sixties: As cars got faster and faster.

FROM ELECTRONIC TO MICROPROCESSOR-BASED MEASURING UNITS .THE START OF THE DIGITAL AGE In the seventies. most balancing machines. The next major change came with the emergence of digital technology: At the beginning of the eighties. the first computer-controlled balancing systems were introduced in 1974.Today. the mechanical foundations for balancing machines had basically established themselves. with the exception of machines intended for specific purposes. operate according to this principle. In 1971 the electronic wattmeter measuring principle was introduced. microprocessors started appearing in measuring systems . Electronics made their appearance in balancing and diagnostic technology.