Electric motors use bearings that are susceptible to failure once poor lubrication or maintenance strategy is applied. Among the factors that lead to poor maintenance include contamination, over greasing, loss of lubrication and poor choices of lubricant. Generally, motors are designed with rolling element bearings that are also anti-friction and grease-lubricated. Since grease keeps bearings in good condition, it is necessary to maintain the right amount of grease to ensure excellent performance of your electric motors. What’s more, grease offers a protective film to your bearings, and this prevents intensive contact between metals.
Importance of Proper Lubrication
Issues with bearings are among the common sources of electric motor damages and failures. In fact, about 50 to 65 percent of failures in electric motors are caused by incorrect practices on lubrication. With the wrong choice of lubrication and poor maintenance procedures, damages are most likely to occur. Therefore, it is only right that you address these concerns to minimize motor failures and troubles, which can minimize productivity.
For correct lubricating practices, you first need to determine the failure mode. This allows you to eliminate, or at least minimize failure on bearings. You also need to use the right type of grease for certain applications. In case you regrease while using the wrong type of grease, you are doing more harm than good to your electric motor. Bearing failure will only arise because of this poor practice, so it is best to use grease designed specifically for electric motors as provided by oil suppliers. Marathon Electric provides some excellent information regarding lubrication procedures.
It is also important to note that greases contain calcium, polyuria, and other thickeners. However, there are cases when greases are not compatible with others regardless of the thickener type used. This means, you need to use a compatible alternative to the grease, as this can extend the life of the bearing element.
Lubricant starvation is a problem that leads to bearing and electric motor failure. It may be due to the inadequate amount of grease during the installation process. As for another reason for this problem, it may be through the separation of oil from its thickener base. Usually, the latter is the outcome of exposure to too much heat.
Over-greasing can result to overheating, and this is another issue with electric motors. With so much volume, the rotating bearing element can end up churning the grease and causing it to be pushed out-of-the-way. Over time, this scenario will lead to parasitic energy losses, as well as massively high operating temperatures. Bearing failure and oil separation can result from this issue.
To avoid all of these problems, it is practical to set a plan in place. You may begin by preparing a list of equipment and assets you need to include in the maintenance program. Check the proper installation of safety components in bearings and select the grease type required for the program. You are not supposed to deviate from it to prevent problems or hassles with cleaning or flushing out old grease. Whenever possible, making modifications to electric motors may be required, and doing so can make your motors more accessible and less prone to failure.