Electric motors are an essential part of modern industry. They provide the necessary mechanical-to-electrical conversions that serve as the backbone of the post-modern industrial age. From the little fans in our computers to the vast industrial pumps that consume megawatts, it is evident that electric motors have a pervasive presence in the modern world today.
It’s an equipment that operates 24/7 and has a significant contribution to one’s business; as such, must be as efficient as possible. An electric motor is at its maximum efficiency when it evens out your costs and benefits and saves you ample energy and operational costs. With that, you should look out for several signs to determine your motor’s efficiency and ensure it’s working up to its full potential.
It’s also essential to have a hunch for tell-tale problems and have a penchant for predictive maintenance. These are some of the critical maintenance skills you need to have up your sleeve:
Observing noise levels
An electric motor is by nature a noisy contraption – there are possibilities of hearing a fan whirring or a pump thumping, and in actuality are common occurrences.
However, certain sounds can be unusual, and you’d need to have the ear to pick them up. For example, it may be a mechanical noise caused by loose screws, worn bearings, or parts rubbing together.
Monitoring operating temperatures
Then again, high temperatures are a matter of fact with electric motors. However, overheating can happen, which is one of the main reasons for a motor’s breakdown. You should always make sure that the motor’s voltage, size, and performance level measure up to your specific needs. At the same time, some ventilation can be helpful too.
Checking component integrity
The electric motor comprises numerous parts, including the shaft, fan, stator, bearings – with many nuts and bolts in between.
With the constant mechanical movement and noise it is subjected to, some parts may come apart or become loose, and you’ll need to nip these issues on the bud before they become a systemic concern. The problem may even be internal, such as that it requires electric motor rewinds.
Examining physical conditions
You should periodically check the equipment for any unusual physical conditions such as rusting and corrosion. Try to do small-scale cleaning and vacuuming or brushing the heatsink areas while the unit is unplugged.
Ensure that the vent slots are clear of dust and debris and that the ventilation fans are working correctly. Keep the unit clear of moisture as well.
Determining motor load and efficiency
This is not so much a diagnostic skill as knowing how to use your unit correctly – motors should only be used equivalent to the load they are intended to serve.
Although designed to tolerate occasional overloading, running the motor constantly above its rated load will reduce its efficiency and life cycle the most. Therefore, you must be knowledgeable about this specific detail of your unit.
An electric motor is a sensitive piece of equipment that needs looking after. Although you should leave the elbow grease to the experts, you should make sure to have some maintenance knack and hacks by yourself so that you can keep preventable issues from occurring. To that end, you will be able to increase your electric motor’s efficiency and service life.