Two Minute Tips  

The Importance of Balancing a Turbo

Dr. M. David Howard | CEO, Erbessd Instruments

Unbalance causes in turbocharger systems

Every rotor needs a proper weight distribution across the rotating axis to prevent unbalance. Turbocharger assemblies are meant to increase power in internal combustion engines injecting huge loads of air into the combustion chamber. A turbine spinning from the exhaust gases spins a compressor attached to the other end of the shaft, in order to increase air intake.

Turbo balancing machines are commonly used in turbocharger manufacturing process for balancing them, however, some residual unbalance is left in almost every installed turbo. On the other hand, over speeding the turbo may prematurely wear the components, causing unbalance in the shaft.

Another common cause is damage made by an object hitting the turbo at high speed. Small pieces of plastic or ceramic may detach from a hose or any other engine component, becoming dangerous projectiles for the compressor and turbine impeller.

Imbalance effects in turbocharger systems

Vibration is the main issue when dealing with unbalanced turbochargers. Vibration absorbs great portion of the energy produced by the turbo, this energy is wasted because it does not contribute to the overall performance of the engine. Instead, vibration becomes the main source of premature failure in an engine.

Induced vibrations may harm many components during work operation, such as bearings, bolts, and belt. For example, bolts may become loose causing even more vibration.

The aftermath of unbalanced turbos is an overall decrease in engine performance, that may not be evident or significant, but at the end could be the main reason for potential major failure.

What do I need for balancing a turbo?

Light and sensitive equipment is important when performing a turbo balancing. Improper equipment (heavy or too rigid) could generate wrong measurements that will affect the outcome of the balancing. A good setup is ideal depending on different configurations when balancing time has come.

Turbos come in different shapes and sizes, so a versatile turbo balancing machine is preferred rather than a shaft-specific one.

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About the Author

Dr. M. David Howard CEO, Erbessd Instruments

Michael Howard  is an American entrepreneur, a veteran of the United States Air Force, and respected leader in the predictive maintenance industry. Michael is an avid CrossFit® athlete, CrossFit® CF-L1 Trainer and passionate advocate of revolutionary concepts in the wireless instrumentation and the IIoT communities for the maintenance & reliability industries.

Dr. Howard is a native of South Glens Falls, New York and a graduate of Excelsior College, Capella University, & Charter University with degrees in Electro-Mechanical Engineering, Leadership, & Organizational Management, & Engineering Management. Mike is a Certified Reliability Engineer, Six-Sigma Black Belt & Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional. Mike is the CEO of Erbessd Instruments and is responsible for Strategic Direction, Distribution, Sales, Marketing and Operations worldwide.

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