Most manufacturing plants in Singapore rely on alternators to produce the electrical power they need for their daily operations. Any issue with the equipment can cause significant disruption to their manufacturing process. Therefore, it is vital for these plant owners to schedule regular maintenance on their alternators and their various components to minimise downtime.
The stator is a ring coiled with copper wires, and it is one of the most crucial components found within an alternator. If the cables situated in the stator were to malfunction, the entire machine would not operate. Therefore, various plant owners periodically send their alternators for rewinding to reduce the risk of this happening.
Knowing the importance of rewinding your alternator is one thing, but what exactly does this process entail? And when should you send your equipment for upkeeping? Let us explore these questions so you can gain a better understanding of the rewinding process and determine the proper maintenance schedule for your alternator.
What is alternator rewinding?
Alternator rewinding, more commonly referred to as generator rewinding, is the rewinding of the stator. The stator is required to be rewound throughout the lifespan of your alternator. Various factors can affect its maintenance schedule but first, let us examine how this process works.
1. Figuring out the winding data
Before the rewinding process can begin, the engineers have to ascertain the winding data of the stator. Various data, such as the wire size, types of connection and turns per coil, have to be extracted from the motor so the engineers can replicate the performance of the original alternator and look for areas to improve its performance.
2. Burning the stator and stripping out the core
After the critical data are extracted, the stator is placed in an oven and exposed to extreme temperatures for further testing. Once it is sufficiently cooled down, the core’s windings are stripped out so the engineers can insert a new set of coils into the stator.
3. Insertion of the coils and connecting them
Once the previous windings have been stripped out, and the new set of coils are prepared, the engineers can insert the insulator and wires into the stator core. They have to ensure the coils connect while factoring in the bracing of the windings, and any misstep could lead to winding failure.
4. Testing and insulating the new coil windings
Rigorous tests have to be conducted after the rewinding is complete to ensure everything is working correctly. After the tests are done, the coils are sent for varnishing to safeguard the windings from contaminants and provide electrical insulation.
Does your alternator need rewinding?
To determine if you really require alternator rewinding, it is best to schedule an inspection with your engineer and look out for any signs of wear and tear. Here are a few red flags you need to take note of, which can help you decide if your alternator requires rewinding.
1. Signs of degradation
Alternators typically have a long shelf life, but their components are still susceptible to degradation. Faulty parts, rusts, and burns are the clearest indicators that your alternator requires a rewind. Additionally, should the laminations within the equipment still be intact, you may have to send it in for rewinding as well.
2. Low insulation resistance
Poor insulation resistance can cause further complications for your alternator. The heat generated from operating the machine can damage an alternator’s various components if it is not insulated correctly. This is an issue that occurs gradually over the equipment’s lifespan. If regular maintenance is not conducted, this problem can worsen over time and lead to winding failures.
3. Poor winding resistance
An engineer will typically check your alternator’s winding resistance if he detects the machine is operating below its peak. This test is used to ascertain if the coils in the alternator are shorted. The reading obtained from the measurement is then cross-referenced with the equipment’s recommended resistance level. If the data falls below the optimal level, you should consider sending your alternator for a rewind.
All in all, alternator rewinding may be necessary to return to its prior performance ability or state of health. However, there may be underlying issues that an alternator rewinding cannot fix still.
Hence, if the problems persist, it is best to send your equipment for generator overhauling. This will give you a clearer idea of the best course of action to take for your generator to perform optimally.