One of the many components that can have a huge impact on your company’s productivity is your electric motor. Whether you have one or one thousand, they all must stay operational, so your plant operates at maximum capacity. Should any of your electric motors fail, the downtime, the reduced production capacity, and the risk of your motors developing problems that are more serious later on can cost you money.
In this article, we list six ways for you to maintain your electric motors to extend their operational life and help prevent costly critical breakdowns.
1. Start with a Thorough Inspection
Spotting and avoiding potential problems in your electric motors can start with putting them through rigorous inspection. Check for any dirt, oil, debris, or rust build-up on the motor’s components. These are expected, especially if the motors are in an environment that is prone to collecting dust, dirt or other debris.
Accumulated dirt, oil, and other debris may result in overheating and may decrease your motor’s efficiency or spark a fire. Inspect your motors, clean out all accessible parts, contacts, and relays, and record your findings.
2. Test the Motor’s Windings
After inspecting the motor’s components, check the motor’s windings as well. If, while running the motor, you get that smell as if something is burning, it could mean that the motor is overloaded.
To address this issue, shut down the motor and conduct a motor winding test. This is an excellent way to reveal any cracks or burn marks on the motor’s internals, as you need to disassemble the motor.
You must also rewind the motor and test the wind insulation. Document your findings after doing this test.
3. Inspect the Brush and Commutator
Take a good look at the brush and commutator of your electric motor and check for any signs of wear and tear. Excessive wear on the brush can result in commutation problems with the motor, so change the brush as soon as it is worn out. The same goes for the commutator; this component must be in a near-pristine condition to work properly. It should be smooth, polished, and free of any dents, grooves or scratches.
Any of these defects imply brush sparking. Once you have inspected the brush and commutator – or replaced them, if necessary – check the motor mount, stator, rotor, and belts. If any of these are worn out, replace them immediately. Don’t run the motor and wait for a critical failure.
4. Inspect the Bearings
If the bearings were not well maintained, your electric motor might overheat. An electric motor may sometimes overheat due to the lack of grease in the bearings, the wrong lubricant used, the accumulation of dirt, or worn-out bearings.
Clean the bearings. Follow the lubrication instructions strictly, as their maintenance needs or repair requirements may vary. Replace any worn parts.
5. Do Vibration Tests
Too much vibration can decrease an electric motor’s operational life by causing a critical failure in the bearings or windings. Test your motor for excessive vibration by removing the belts or disconnecting the load, then running the motor. You can then measure the frequency and amplitude of the vibrations with mobile instruments and personnel trained to use the equipment and perform vibration analysis.
Either electrical or mechanical problems may cause excessive vibration. For this test, you’ll need personnel trained to use the right instruments to detect them before tackling any vibration issues.
6. Be Sure to Make Records
Part of keeping your electric motors well maintained is to document everything about them. Keep an updated logbook detailing your preventive maintenance schedules, the tests made, and the results of these tests. By doing this, you’ll have a clearer understanding of your equipment, what issues they’ve had or can have in the future, and know which parts have been fixed or replaced.
Documenting your maintenance tasks will also help third-party maintenance crews if you’ll ever need to hire them. These records will be beneficial for future inspections and audits.
Did you find this information about preventive maintenance for electric motors useful? If you need help in repairing or maintaining your electric motors, we have extensive experience and a capable team to do it for you. We also specialize in electric generator repair here in Trinidad.
If you would like to know more about our services and how we can assist you, contact us. You may also reach us at (868) 636-8396 or through our emergency hotline at (868) 351-0041.