Grouting steel baseplates

A good quality precision grout, whether resin-based or cementitious must provide good load transfer and be easy to apply under most conditions.

Common issues and queries you can face

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Choosing the right grout

The selection of a suitable bearing grout depends on the machine loading, size of bearing, gap size and grouting method. Choosing the wrong grout can lead to failure of the bearing grout; for example, most cement grouts are not able to resist continuous impact loading such as under vibrating machinery. Cement grouts are weak in tension and undergo fatigue failure. This can have serious repercussions on safety and the cost of remediation can outweigh the initial short-term cost benefit a hundred fold.

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Voids in the grout

The support provided by a grout is the Effective Bearing Area (EBA). This can be affected by grout leakage, unlevel plate, shrinkage of grout, inadequate mixing of grout, wrong placement method, poor grout flow or entrapped air voids. EBA can lead to point loading on the grout which in turn can result in cracking and crumbling of the grout under the baseplate. This could have disastrous consequences on the machine.

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Cracks in the grout and around the baseplate

Cement grouts rely on expansion to provide the non-shrink properties required of a precision bearing grout. This expansion needs to be confined under the baseplate, but if allowed to expand freely, the grout may crack due to shrinkage. This cracking is often seen where a cement grout has not been finished properly. Epoxy grouts are not affected as much as they have low inherent shrinkage.

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Grout not flowing under the baseplate

Rapid installation of machinery is essential. A grout with poor flow will slow down the process. Some inferior epoxy grouts are cut back with diluents to improve flow, but this can lead to excess shrinkage and loss of EBA. Weber grouts have been developed to give good flow without any undesirable side-effects.