Tuesday, 30 January 2018 14:24

Considering efficiency: electric motor repairs or replacements

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2018 01 30 142210

Electric motor failure can strike even with the best preventative measures in place, and it can be difficult to know just what to do. As business downtime and losses mount, it’s very easy to make a panicked decision over whether to invest in an electric motor rewind and repair or replace your motor.

The challenge faced is a difficult one. With new high-efficiency motors available, should owners invest in a whole new motor altogether that promises higher efficiency levels but with significantly greater costs? Or, do they commit to a motor repair or rewind? While the cost is often lower, many are concerned about the potential inefficiencies that an electric motor rewind can bring — yet are these worries grounded in fiction?

This now widespread misconception originates from a study that was carried out around smaller motors. It found that carrying out a rewind can drop efficiency by between 1% and 5% each time it is rewound. Considering the associated expense and sheer volume of energy these motors use, this is naturally concerning. However, more recent research has countered these findings.

In a study carried out by EASA and AEMT alongside Nottingham University, it was found that when rewound using good practice, the efficiency of the motors was not significantly altered. However, in some instances, efficiency actually increased. This clearly dispels the belief that a rewind is actually detrimental to a motor’s performance.

What should you consider?

With the myths dispelled, perhaps you don’t need to shell out on an expensive replacement motor after all. Of course, in cases of catastrophic failure, this may be your only option. However, it’s very important to fully evaluate your options to make sure you make the right choice in terms of operation, cost and efficiency. This can be done by asking a number of key questions, as explained by Houghton International.

How suitable is your electric motor for purpose?

As your needs shift, you may find that your existing electric motor is now unsuitable. Review the scale of the damage alongside the requirements for the motor’s processes and duty cycles. If the motor is no longer suitable or too damaged, your option is to replace the motor.

How about stator core and rotor condition?

Checking your stator core and rotor is essential. If significant damage is present, it may be more beneficial to purchase a new motor, as depending on the extent of the damage, repairs can be costly.

Always fully consider the bigger picture when deciding whether to invest in a new motor. For example, if the lead times for the motor you need are long, you may to decide to repair rather than replace to minimise downtime.

How damaged are other mechanical parts?

It is common for the shaft, frame, bearing housing and other mechanical parts to damage as a result of motor failure. Examine the extent of the damage; you may be able to replace the affected parts at a lower cost than replacing the entire motor.

What type of motor do you have?

It is possible that motor failure will provide the reason to upgrade you have been looking for. If you are considering making the investment, make sure you fully understand the return you’ll receive from doing so. Consider the energy savings you’ll make alongside the expected life of the motor and its hours of operation. Always consider your overall budget too, to make sure the replacement aligns with your current financial position.

Remember that if you are happy with your motor and the efficiency it delivers, a motor rewind — when carried out by a qualified service centre — will not lead to a significant efficiency drop.

To make the right decision between repairing, rewinding and replacing your electric motor, make sure that you fully consider all of your options in depth.

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