Electric motors serve as a critical component for any facility. However, electric motors can be prone to any number of issues that lead to motor faults and failures, which can disrupt business operations, decrease productivity and adversely impact a company’s bottom line.
Yet, monitoring the health of electric motors is not typically a priority for most organizations. The importance of implementing predictive maintenance programs can offer tremendous benefits in detecting, identifying and evaluating electric motor abnormalities. Without proper visibility, the chances of motor failures increase, leading to unexpected downtimes.
To keep operations running smoothly, implementing preventive maintenance programs to detect, identify and evaluate the areas of electric motors that are prone to failure is crucial. To do so, understanding the underlying causes of motor failures is critical to determine the best course of action should a failure occur. As part a regular maintenance program, next-generation diagnostic and maintenance tools that include connected tools, sensors and software offer the best way to monitor an electric motor’s health.
What causes electric motors to fail? Unfavorable operating conditions — whether electrical, mechanical or environmental — can dramatically shorten the life of an electric motor. The Electro-Mechanical Authority (EASA) cites many causes of electric motor winding failures including:
The rate of interest (ROI) and benefits of reliability and condition-based maintenance have been known for decades, but only recently come together to make predictive inspection methods, portable condition monitoring, remote control and monitoring and SaaS computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) available and cost-effective. These next-generation maintenance and reliability tools support the generation, collection and consolidation of data from sensors, tools, and existing systems with remote monitoring capabilities through connected devices including desktop, tablet or smartphone.
The benefits of these tools include:
Leveraging these tools and technologies can offer key insights into the health of electric motors. Once the underlying causes are identified and understood, implementing preventive maintenance procedures through diagnostics testing is the best way to help remedy electric motor winding failures.
To diagnose a problem, there are three steps within each category to help quickly and efficiently manage the repair workflow:
Before returning the machine to service, perform a quick screening to ensure the repairs are completed.
When you suspect an issue with your electric motor winding, there are three categories of measurements to help identify the likely source of failures — electrical, mechanical and thermal.
To get a complete picture, evaluate the likely failure modes and match the right maintenance technologies with the most likely failure mode. Maintenance software and data gathering devices that integrates with third-party solution providers are ideal to accomplish this.
A ScopeMeter and power quality sensor can help troubleshoot problems in drive and the drive’s output, power distribution, to uncover energy losses, and improve efficiency. These tools can assess electronic harmonics, distortion and load studies.
The motor and insulation tester assure safe operation, prolongs the life of electrical systems and motors. This device checks motor speed, torque, power and efficiency, and also checks for motor insulation degradation.
Infrared imagers are the best technology for finding electrical hot spots in switchgear and motor controllers, for screening process and mechanical assets. The imagers test faulty connections, overheated bearings and tank levels.
Vibration and alignment tools are the best technology for diagnosing mechanical faults in rotating machines. They can test correct shaft alignment, imbalances, looseness, misalignment and bearings.
Plant owners, operators, and managers can benefit from both integrated data and maintenance management with a single system. Maintenance teams can cost-effectively implement this technology platform to address their needs with ease, using their existing staff and scale as necessary without costly retrofitting and large IT infrastructure investments. Leveraging these tools offer facilities the greatest flexibility and power to manage the health of electric motor windings to keep all of the organization’s assets up and running without downtime.