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Grout, relating to machinery

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  • Grout, relating to machinery

    Back in the day...

    Can anyone out there inform me further about "grout" when talking about its use in "fixing/setting" machinery?

    Am I even thinking about "grout" in the correct sense?
    I know it as the stuff you put between bath or kitchen tiles...was it a similar process but with different materials used to secure and or level machinery?

    Spent a fair bit of day before yesterday attempting to level a small lathe and can sort of see the advantages something like a mortar/grout could have [the base of the feet was nowhere close to parallel to the bed so something near liquid that would harden would have definite benefits].

  • #2
    I've never personally grouted in a machine, but I've set and leveled a few that got grouted afterwards.

    I don't know how applicable it would be for smaller equipment, I've always seen it done on the big stuff (multi-ton machines)

    The machine would be leveled and anchored into the ground with about a 1" gap between steel and concrete. Then a crew would come in and spread the grout into the gap. The idea was to spread the load over a bigger surface area so that when the machine started vibrating and was loaded with thousands of pounds of material, the leveling jack bolts wouldn't hammer craters into the floor and let the machine jitterbug around.

    The down side is that it's pretty permenant, so if I were anchoring a small machine (your lathe for instance), I'd not bother.


    • #3
      Back in the day.............. say what?
      When we set our 9X9 compressor on its bed there were four leveling screws which we used as the name implies. This left about an inch of space which was filled with " grout " that was rammed in. After setting-up hard the screws were removed. As I recall.


      • #4
        Five star grout

        I used to use Five Star Grout for machine installations. It's basically portland cement, clay and sand formulated so that it doesn't shrink when it cures. The use is as described in the other posts and it does a really good job of killing vibration. When the machine comes out it also removes easily by running a chipping gun over the surface of the concrete. If you don't plan to move the machine around, it's the way to go. OSHA requires that equipment with anchoring holes in the base actually be anchored to the floor. If you are going that far with it, you might as well grout.


        • #5
          RussZHC --

          Several makers / marketers of machinery installation grouts have websites explaining their versions of the machinery grouting process.

          Unisorb Machinery Installation Systems:

          Five Star Grout:

          ITW Philadelphia Resins:



          • #6
            Forget the grout, you need adjustable feet.



            • #7
              Philbur: Agreed and I think that is the route I will go...or should have gone first.

              Thanks to all for the info...from what I have read so far, the focus seems to be on quite large machinery or even larger items (I think I spotted a bridge in the 5 Star lit ?).

              "Back in the day" since most time when I have heard the grouting reference it was with antique machinery so I was just assuming (yeah I know...) some sort of adjustable foot or pad was more "current".

              The question was because I ended up shimming and noticed three things:
              I was a bit unprepared as my selection of very fine shims was poor (as in not enough and not fine enough)

              You end up with, in my case, four points of load (I was expecting, since it is only a 10" lathe, that it would be more of a total foot in contact with the bench top since, you could skip the feet and go right to the lathe bed, couldn't you?...sorry, being obtuse, the Sheldon has sort of riser blocks under the lathe bed proper that bolt on and these "risers" have two feet cast on each one)

              Since it was up in the air anyway, one could see the bottoms of the feet were badly out of plane compared to the top so too "correct" that, some sort of hardening liquid, grout, looked to be the problem solver [I wanted to get away from those "point" loads]


              • #8
                "Back in the day" ...
                Yeah, like yesterday. Where I work (electric generation station) every large piece of power plant equipment is installed with grout. I never paid attention in the machine shop so I can't say about the mills and lathes. Also, I've noticed when a new steel column is installed (for whatever reason), a square steel plate is welded to the bottom and drilled for Hilti bolts that are sunk in the concrete floor leaving room between the plate and floor for grout.


                P.S. The owners manual for my "new" horizontal mill includes instructions for grouting after shimming and bolting to the floor. I have no plan to grout or even bolt to the floor. I doubt I'll be taking heavy enough cuts to make it dance.

                Last edited by flathead4; 06-02-2011, 10:57 PM.
                Tom - Spotsylvania, VA


                • #9
                  Anchoring/hard wiring requirements

                  Originally posted by Jpfalt
                  OSHA requires that equipment with anchoring holes in the base actually be anchored to the floor.
                  That concerned me since sensibly providing some utility holes in the base could invoke the requirements to anchor and the sometimes mentioned hard wiring requirement for stationary/anchored machines.

                  The actual wording is: "Machines designed for a fixed location shall be securely anchored to prevent walking or moving." They forgot to mention tipping.

                  It has been clarified as follows:
                  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration General Industry Standard 29 CFR 1910.212(b) requires that machines designed for a fixed location shall be securely anchored to prevent walking or moving. In instances where employers rely upon various effective devices to prevent machine movement, OSHA would not issue a citation for a violation of the standard.

                  There can be some very good reasons to secure machinery in its normal use locations but also good reasons to have machinery be movable. Looks like you can do both.

                  As far as I can see, an easily accessable plug counts as a disconnecting means and there is no requirement that a machine be hard wired but temporary wiring (i.e. an extension cord or half-a** run romex) is restricted.
                  Plugging your lathe into a wall outlet behind the lathe may not meet the requirements for a disconnect (not accessible in an emergency) but if you wire that outlet to a disconnect or provide other means (such as a proper on-off switch in the machine that disconnects all legs) than you don't have to eliminate the plug. I suspect "temporary wiring" is sometimes misinterpreted to mean you can't have a plug.

                  And this OSHA document seems to think plugs and flexible cords are ok on drill presses, milling machines, meat grinders, meat band saws, etc: