Introduction to Optical Alignment Techniques


Our 4-day Optical Alignment Techniques seminar provides an introduction to the use of high-precision optical instruments to help you achieve precision alignment of your critical machinery. We provide the equipment and show you how to use it to accurately measure the thermal growths and static deflections that often ruin otherwise acceptable shaft alignment.

We provide the theory and practice to help you understand how to apply optical alignment tooling and measurements to improve the alignment quality of nearly any machinery. This course is Workshop intensive!! The hands-on Workshops allow students to practice techniques with specific instruments and tooling. These skills are immediately applicable to improving machinery alignment at your facility.

We also present several Case Histories to review typical field experiences, recommended field alignment procedures, cautions and typical site expectations.

We also offer an optional Certification Test in the morning following the last day of the course.


  • Learn to use optical alignment equipment
  • Learn typical field applications
  • Learn how to measure thermal growth and static deflection
  • Learn how to reduce and plot optical data
  • Learn how to determine cold shaft alignment offsets to produce good alignment while operating

Course Materials

A manual containing slide presentations, discussion materials, workshop exercises and additional reference information is provided in hardcopy and CD-ROM.


Mr. Stanley R. Bognatz, P.E.

Who Should Attend?

Engineers, vibration analysts and technicians, who are involved with machinery maintenance and reliability, and seek to understand how to optimize the alignment of any piece of equipment.


A general understanding of machinery alignment.

Continuing Education

This course provides 32 Professional Development Hours (PDH) for engineering licensure requirements.

Course Fees

Hotel Seminars (U.S.): $1,675 per person.

On-site and international seminars are priced by quotation – please contact us for more information.

An optional Optical Alignment Techniques Certification test is available on the last day of the course for $200 per person.

Course Schedule

Click here for the current schedule; on-site seminars can be scheduled at any time.

Introduction to Optical Alignment Techniques – Seminar Outline

Overview of Optical Alignment

  • – Uses and Benefits
  • – Advantages & Limitations
  • – Terminology & Definitions

Optical Alignment Applications

  • – Thermal Growth Studies
  • – Machinery & Foundation Deflection
  • – Bearing, Seal, & Diaphragm Bore Alignment
  • – Roll Alignment
  • – Leveling Foundations & Base Plates
  • – Leveling Machine Cases
  • – Measuring Flatness & Plumb

Optical Alignment Tooling

  • – Sight Levels, Jig Transits & Alignment Telescopes
  • – Tripods
  • – Cross-Slides
  • – Invar Tooling
  • – Measurement Scales, Levels & Tooling

Machine Setup for Optical Measurements

  • – Benchmarks & Dowel Pins
  • – Accuracy Considerations

Workshop – Optical Tooling

Review of Shaft Alignment

  • – Usage with Optical Measurements
  • – Graphical Layouts
  • – Rim and Face; Reverse Dial
  • – Laser (OptAlign, Rotalign, etc.)

Workshop – Plotting Machinery Movement

Working with Jig Transits & Sight Levels

  • – Overview & Applications
  • – General Operation
  • – Coincidence Level
  • – Optical Micrometers
  • – Accuracy & Calibration
  • – Precision Plumbing

Workshop – Jig Transit Operation

Workshop – Precision Plumbing

Workshop – Jig Transit Calibration

Measuring Vertical Movement

  • – Establishing a Benchmark Reference System
  • – Data Acquisition & Data Reduction

Workshop – Vertical Measurements

Workshop – Reduction of Vertical Data

Measuring Horizontal Movement

  • – Establishing a Benchmark Reference System
  • – Lines of Sight & Bucking-In
  • – Data Acquisition & Data Reduction

Workshop – Bucking-In to a Line-of-Sight

Workshop – Horizontal Measurements

Workshop – Reduction of Horizontal Data

Putting it Together

  • – Plotting Shaft Alignment Data
  • – Plotting Thermal Growth Data
  • – Determining Desired Cold Position Offsets

Workshop – Data Analysis

Practical Considerations

  • – Lighting
  • – Parallax
  • – Mirage

Alignment Tolerances

  • – Levelness and Alignment
  • – Defining Misalignment
  • – Tolerance Guidelines
  • – Shaft vs. Coupling Alignment

Best Practices

  • – Documentation Requirements
  • – Safety Considerations

Case History Workshops

  • – Turbine Generators (3)
  • – Boiler Feed Pumps
  • – Process Machinery

Certification Exam (optional)

M&B specializes in providing technical training related to condition monitoring, vibration analysis, predictive maintenance, shaft alignment, and rotor balancing, all customized to our customer’s specific needs. We provide seminars both on-site at your location, and off-site at hotels or other locations for centralized training. If you have questions on any training course, or would like a custom-designed course, please contact us.

Some specific machinery we have worked with include:
  • Compressors
  • Boiler & Process Fans
  • Cooling tower fans
  • Vertical & Horizontal Pumps
  • Reciprocating Engines
  • Gearboxes
  • Pulverizers & Ball Mills
  • Steam Turbines up to 1200 MW
  • Gas Turbines, aero-derivative & industrial frame
  • Generators and Exciters
  • Induction & Synchronous Motors
  • Variable Frequency Drives
  • Vertical & Horizontal Pumps
  • Hydro-Turbine Generators
  • Reciprocating Engines