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In the realm of manufacturing, motors play an indispensable role, often referred to as the "prime movers" of all manufacturing plant processes. Their seamless operation is crucial, as any disruption can bring manufacturing processes to an abrupt halt. Given their significance, it's imperative to ensure their top performance and ongoing reliability. In this guide, we delve deep into the best practices for motor protection, drawing insights from various motor types, including electric, air, and hydraulic motors.

Understanding the Importance of Motors

Motors are pivotal in driving manufacturing processes. Their efficiency and reliability directly impact the overall productivity and safety of a facility. Whether it's electric, air, or hydraulic motors, each has distinct subclasses that necessitate specific control, monitoring, and maintenance programs to ensure optimal performance.

To maintain motors effectively using a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), it's essential to input accurate nameplate information, assign the correct subclass, and include comprehensive motor specifications. This data is instrumental in refining how predictive maintenance (PdM) and preventive maintenance (PM) procedures are tailored for each motor type.

Motor Maintenance Best Practices

To achieve the best results, a holistic, proactive strategy is paramount. The formulation of this strategy should consider factors such as asset criticality, ambient conditions, size, supplied voltage, and local capabilities. Here are some general recommendations:

Visual Inspections (Daily Requirements):

  • Check the motor frame ground's integrity.
  • Verify oil levels in reservoirs (if applicable).
  • Ensure the oil cooling/pump system operates correctly.
  • Inspect motor vents and end bells to ensure clear air paths.
  • Check for lubrication or oil leaks at motor end bells and reservoirs.
  • Examine the motor base for any unusual conditions, such as sound, vibration, or loose bolts.
  • Inspect the motor frame and conduit for potential issues like chemical attacks, water leaks, or fatigue cracking.

Predictive Maintenance Activities (Quarterly to Yearly):

  • Conduct vibration analysis.
  • Perform thermography or infrared inspections.
  • Analyze oil in motors with reservoirs.
  • Execute off-line motor analysis and motor winding tests.
  • Test cables from the starter to the motor.
  • Conduct PI polarization index tests and capacitance to ground tests.

Preventive Maintenance Activities (As Needed):

  • Lubricate rolling element bearings.
  • Inspect and test grounding and bonding.
  • Overhaul motors based on equipment condition.
  • Inspect motor connections and terminals.
  • Align motors using laser or dial indicators.
  • Consider special maintenance activities for DC motors and motors with individual surge protection.

Other Recommended Activities:

  • Conduct on-line motor analysis.
  • Perform motor current signature analysis.

Embracing a Proactive Approach

While a run-to-fail strategy might be suitable in specific scenarios, most motors necessitate a more proactive approach. Regular PMs, PdMs, and inspections based on equipment condition and criticality are essential to achieve desired safety, environmental, and performance goals.

Rozel: Your Partner in Arc Flash Studies

While this guide focuses on motor protection, it's essential to highlight the importance of electrical safety in manufacturing environments. At Rozel, we specialize in Arc Flash Studies, ensuring businesses and their workers are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to maintain a safe working environment. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us at (913) 667-9896.