If you're a decision-maker in an industrial plant or manufacturing facility, you know how important your equipment is. The industrial motors and machinery that you have within your facility are investments, and the way they work dictates your profitability and efficiency. That's why maintaining them and preventing costly repairs (that take away from the production time) is an important aspect in the way you run your business. Today, we will cover the common signs and symptoms that your industrial motor may show when it needs repair. By tackling these signs early, you can find the source of large-scale problems and keep your plant running smoothly.
Decreased performance or efficiency: You may have opened your company's electric bill and been shocked by a sudden increase in charges. Decreases in efficiency and performance can not only cause a higher electric bill, but can also be a sign that your motor may be degrading. You want to be able to achieve peak performance, and if your motor can't keep up with demand, your motor might be close to failing. Over time, many industrial motors can begin to see lowered reliability and efficiency and these things are usually visible long before catastrophic failures. That means that a large majority of issues that impact production can be seen early on. The best recipe for success in regards to finding these errors is implementing a recording or management program that shows any loss of performance right when it begins.
Excessive vibrations: Vibrations occur in machinery and may seem like nothing to worry about, but they can also be a sign or symptom of a larger problem. All motors have a small level of vibrations, but if they stop altogether or become intense and more frequent, you may need to assemble a performance report. To identify the issue, start by observing and recording problems in a detailed report, and begin charting the trends that are happening. Knowing what is happening will give you more time to make corrective plans. Obviously when you’re working in manufacturing, preventing unexpected failures is a high priority in order to reduce machinery downtime. As a motor's performance changes, the success of your operations change with it. One common misconception is that if a motor is “noisy”, then it is vibrating. While noise is a byproduct of movement, they are not the same. Because vibrations are a big indicator, it's important to locate the reason for them.
Sometimes, the overall internal problems related to the vibrations are not significant or not significant enough to fix. The key is to decide whether the issue will cause more problems over time or be an immediate threat to your plant’s productivity. Thankfully, there are many technologies that make it much easier for us to monitor problematic vibrations and locate incorrect motor mounts and shaft mounting problems. If you currently use a Maxeff motor, you can purchase our Adventview product , which allows for real-time monitoring of temperature, vibration, til, impact, EMF, and amperage.
Temperature Issues: One of the most common challenges with industrial motors is overheating, and even a 18 degree (Fahrenheit) increase can cause damage to the insulation of the component and make its lifespan shorter. Unfortunately, repeated overheating can cause irreversible damage to your valuable motor machinery. Avoiding the problems that arise with overheating (whether temporarily or long term), requires planning. The first step is to ensure that you are using the proper motor for what you're doing and the industry you’re in. If the size, voltage and performance are wrong or underperforming for the task, it will likely overheat frequently. Once you've selected or checked your energy needs, consider where it is in the plant or factory. Is it too close to other machines, with no ventilation? These can deeply impact the overheating and deterioration, but if you’ve already checked these items, it might be time to consider that your machine needs significant repair or replacement. It can be caused by overload, short-circuiting, or a mounting error; these can be critical and should be addresses as soon as you see a trend of temperature increase.
Sudden Shut-Offs: A sudden shut-off during operation is the most problematic. It can indicate a combination of problems or a small problem that has been ignored for a long time. Some of the most prominent causes can include: overheating, electrical overload (too much current flowing through the motor windings), vibration, and contamination. Contamination includes things like dust, dirt, or chemicals which can build up over time. Proper maintenance and monitoring (as mentioned above) can help prevent these dramatic shut-offs and keep your motor running the maximum extent of its lifetime.
Should you repair or replace?
This is an extremely nuanced question facing you once you've determined the issues with the existing motor. How do you know when it’s not worthwhile to repair your current motor?
Extent of the damage: Is the damage considered catastrophic? This is similar to a car being totaled; it means it would usually cost more to repair it than to just replace it.
Design: Is this motor one that is doing the job efficiently and well? Is it suited to the industry that you are in, or is it time to look for something stronger or more efficient? Is it an extremely unique or dated model that requires speciality parts?
Size: If you have an older model motor that has been part of your plant for a long time, it's important to consider the size of the new machinery. Many older models are larger in size, and newer models need to be sized to the place where they are going in the plant.
Time: How long will the new motor take to arrive, and what will this mean for your production time? Consider if this will happen during a peak production time, and how you can handle it if so.
If you have decided that it's time to replace your current motor, please contact us. We can discuss options like replacing or refitting your existing motor with our Maxeff technology and can get you up and running as quickly as possible. Our experienced team would be happy to speak with you about the details today.