Method and device to investigate the behavior of large rotors under continuously adjustable foundation stiffness

Risto Viitala*, Raine Viitala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)


Vibration problems have been observed after the installation of large rotating machines, such as electric machines and generators and paper machine rolls. One possible cause can be differences between the foundation stiffness of the installation location and the testing platform where the machine is balanced and optimized Foundation stiffness exerts a significant effect on the behavior of a rotating system, and the above-mentioned differences can cause major unexpected changes at natural frequencies, and thus resonance. The problem is typical for large machines due to their large mass, which leads to low natural frequencies. This induces situations where these natural frequencies coincide with rotor excitations and cause excessive vibration. This study presents a novel method and a device for adjusting the foundation stiffness of a large rotor system, consequently enabling the investigation of the effect of foundation stiffness on rotor behavior. However, this investigation is restricted to the horizontal axis. The characteristics of the device were analyzed together with a rotor behavior measurement that consisted of versatile measurements of acceleration, force and displacement in different locations inside the rotating system. The device in the presented form is best applied in R&D laboratories and factory acceptance test cells, in which it can be used to predict the behavior of various rotors on different foundations. With the dynamic rotor behavior measurement performed with the device, the natural frequencies and their harmonic components can be presented as a function of foundation stiffness. This information can be used both to optimize rotor behavior in an installation location and also to improve the rotor system behavior in the design phase. The method and device presented in this study can be considered effective and successful, since the natural frequencies of the first two rotor modes could be manipulated freely at a range of 50-100 % by changing the stiffness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1037-1054
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of vibroengineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • adjustable stiffness
  • controllable stiffness
  • foundation stiffness
  • rotor dynamics
  • vibration
  • subcritical vibration
  • support stiffness
  • variable stiffness


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