DXP Pacific Industrial Pumps

What is Soft Foot and Why is it So Important to Leveling Pump Bases?

Soft foot is a common problem often seen in pumps and rotating machines that need to be set on permanent bases. Such equipment must be perfectly level with all components precisely aligned for ideal performance. If anything is out of alignment or not securely in place, pump problems, and even damage, are a near certainty.

What is Soft Foot?

Soft foot is when one or more of the connection points between the equipment and its base, frame, or plate aren’t completely and securely connected. Think of it like this: You have better balance when standing tall on two feet. If you raise one foot even just slightly, you won’t be nearly as steady. Likewise, if you have only three of your pump’s four feet securely connected, aligned, and level, you’re likely to encounter issues. Increased vibrations and shifts during operation will throw your equipment out of alignment and cause further damage.

Checking for Soft Foot

When setting up the baseplate and foundation during pump installation, it’s critical to check for soft foot at every single connection point to ensure there is complete contact and no room for movement. Regularly checking footings and ensuring nothing has come loose or thrown the pump off-level should, in fact, be part of your ongoing pump maintenance plan. If you experience a soft foot, it will need to be addressed immediately to prevent further concerns.

Watch this video about soft foot from our lead Service Manager, Mark Fox (aka “Retro Mark”):

In the video, Mark demonstrates how to manually check the fittings with an indicator to ensure that each foot is securely connected and leveled on the base (within a desired tolerance). This step is done before final alignment of the pump and drive. We love having Mark in our shop because he brings such an old-school knowledge regarding proper machine setup. He uses classic manual techniques to supplement the alignment technology and other high-tech resources we use. Such manual skills are valuable when it comes to steps like checking for soft foot. When the manual measurements and digital measurements line up, we’re provided an extra level of certainty and accuracy.

Don’t Let Soft Foot Ruin Your Pump

Checking for soft foot when setting your base and installing your pump equipment is critically important. Each footing must then be periodically tested as part of your ongoing maintenance plan to ensure nothing has shifted or been thrown out of alignment. If you have one or more soft feet, you’re likely to experience pump issues.

For all pump installation and custom baseplate design needs, look no further than Cortech DXP. Our team is here to help you get the most out of your pumps, from selecting the correct pump for the job to keeping it running properly for as long as possible. Contact us today to learn more about our pumps and services.