An electric motor is an essential component in machines and pieces of equipment used in a broad range of industries. For instance, manufacturing processes are dependent on electric motors to facilitate various operations. So, it’s important to ensure the excellent condition and performance of electric motors through maintenance and proper care. By doing so, you can prevent unnecessary downtime and interruptions that will impact business productivity and profits.
Guide to Electric Motor Maintenance
Some companies fail to realize the importance of taking care of electric motors to achieve continuous reliable and efficient operations. With everyday use, however, damages and premature wear and tear issues with motors may arise because of a lack of maintenance practices. Once the problem worsens, it may be difficult – or even impossible – to conduct any repairs. As a result, you may be subject to exceeding your budget because of replacing damaged motors, which can be very expensive and time-consuming to address.It's important to ensure electric motor performance through maintenance and proper careClick To Tweet
With these in mind, it helps to know effective maintenance techniques you can do for your electric motors in the facility.
A. Keeping New or Repaired Motors in Good Condition
If your electric motor has undergone repairs, or you have just purchased a brand new motor, then these tips will keep them in outstanding condition and performance.
1. Periodically conduct vibration checks
Make it a point to schedule vibration tests on motors to determine any potential problems or existing defects. As you perform this test, the ideal limit must be .05 inch per second or lower. Values that exceed this limit will mean there is a need to perform further checks and inspection on the motor.
2. Choose mechanically balanced motors
If you are using the motor on pieces of equipment that require high-speed and maximum efficiency, then it is recommended to go for rotors that are mechanically balanced. You can check the ISO specifications for an acceptable limit, so you can prevent any premature damages with overuse of the wrong type of motor.
3. Observe proper electric motor storage
Motors need to be stored properly to keep them free from contaminants or elements that can lead to damages or malfunctions. Ideally, you should store motors in a safe place that is free from moisture, which could result in corrosion once moisture enters the bearing. You should also make sure that bearings are packed with grease to prevent moisture from getting into these components. In case you have oil-lubricated motors, you can check with your supplier regarding instructions on proper storage to keep these in outstanding condition and quality.
4. Manually rotate the rotor
With rebuilt or brand new motors, the best way to ensure their condition and performance is by manually rotating the rotor. Do this practice monthly as it deters fretting corrosion that leads to false brinelling or depressions in the races of the bearing.
B. Handling Techniques
Whether you have new or old motors in the facility, these handling techniques will help prolong their lifespan.
1. Keep bearings in original packaging and store in a dry place
Be sure to prevent damages on bearings during storage by keeping these free from moisture. Bearings should be stored in a dry place and arranged horizontally. As much as possible, keep the package unopened to prevent dirt, moisture, and debris from getting in.
2. Periodically turn or rotate bearings
If your bearings are greased, and the package is still completely sealed, you need to rotate these motors periodically even in storage. The turning action will not only keep the bearings well-lubricated, but this also discourages grease from building up on one side of the motor. In the same way, you should never wash brand new bearings before the installation process. Manufacturers keep these motors in a sealed container that is completely free from dirt, so there is no need to expose them to moisture by washing them.
3. Always use the right replacement electric motor
When there is a need to replace motors, always do so with a reputable distributor.
C. Repair and Installation
Poorly installed motors can lead to problems in the long run, so do your best to follow these simple techniques on installation and proper repair strategies.
1. Proper handling is important
When you need to install bearings, these must be handled with maximum care. Avoid pounding on the bearings directly to prevent damages. Once you have dropped the bearing, do not consider installing it anymore because it is no longer in excellent condition. You may also use a soft metal sheet to keep the shaft protected when you use a vise for mounting purposes.
2. Check for damages
Before installation, always check the housing and shaft for any damages, as well as for sizing requirements. If you notice some burrs or nicks, get an emery paper to remove these imperfections. As for housing or shaft with visible signs of damage, avoid installing these and have these repaired or replaced with better quality ones.
3. Ensure the bearings fit properly
The proper fit of the bearing is critical in keeping the motor in good condition while minimizing premature damages. In this case, you need to put some pressure to the bearing’s outer race. When you put a disproportionate amount of pressure on the ring, this may result in damages on the raceways.
4. Avoid exposing the bearing to too much heat
It is never advisable to place the bearing near a flame or heat that is over 230 ºF. If you need to conduct operations that are heat-mounted, you can first use a shaft shoulder to rest the bearing and give it time to cool. Then, it will lock securely to prevent the bearing from slipping away from the required position.
With proper handling, correct lubrication, and right installation techniques, you can prolong the lifespan and excellent performance of your electric motors. Just watch out for signs of problems in motors such as excessive temperature, noise, and vibration. Once you have detected any of these signs, contact a specialist who can resolve the problem and provide necessary recommendations for your motors’ condition.