Balancing Act

Among the many inspection, rework, and assembly processes involved in overhauling a turbine engine, one of the most critical and least understood is balancing.

In general, the balancing process is simply a series of steps to take "where and how much" from a machine readout and apply it to a physical rotor. Verifying the balancer's readings can be done at any time to assure proper performance - the balancing technician's version of "trust but verify."

The challenges encountered during balancing are usually due to rotor configuration or assembly, journal finish or condition, or a mechanical or electronic adjustment that is off on the machine.

Balancing is not a process that requires no thinking or judgment, but to a mechanic with some experience in how the rotors fit together and work, and some basic training in balance theory, the basics can be quickly learned. From that point, experience becomes the best teacher, and the balancing technician continues to strengthen the depth of his or her understanding and ability.

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