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4 Ways To Minimise Downtime For Your Electric Motor

4 Ways To Minimise Downtime For Your Electric Motor

Electric motors are the foundation of today’s manufacturing processes. They generate the mechanical energy necessary to run most operations in virtually all industries, from steel mills to food processing plants. Electrical problems, improper wiring, internal motor damage, or mechanical anomalies can heavily disrupt internal operations and production processes. As such, it becomes a severe issue whenever they stop working. Preventative maintenance via electric motor overhauling and regular analysis of the unit’s load test performance is essential to avoiding shutdown disasters.

Below are the key ways to reduce your electric motors’ downtime significantly.

1. Assess the environmental conditions

A thorough assessment of the environmental conditions the motor will operate is a fundamental aspect of preventative maintenance. The more hostile these conditions are, the greater the impact on the unit’s long-term reliability.

Hostile environments typically include regions with corrosive elements, such as those in coastal and marine locations with high sodium chloride levels. Operating in such environments without the necessary protective measures will corrode and deteriorate many of the motor’s metal parts. It benefits greatly from getting an epoxy coating on all of its exposed metal surfaces. Installing bearing isolators in the bearing house is highly recommended to protect the bearings.

Plant conditions and ambient air temperature could also impact the motor’s reliability in the long term. Such equipment operates most effectively in a relatively dry climate with moderate temperatures. They also breathe better in environments with clean air free of particulates, reducing the odds of clogged inlets.

2. Perform proper installation

Having a problem-free motor system begins with a proper installation procedure. The motor’s base must first be cleaned and checked for cracks lest it is compromised. Once the unit is set on its base, a test run is performed to check rotation and collect baseline vibration data. When the laser alignment is finished, the system is run to verify the loaded vibration. Depending on the vibration history, the motor system’s final loaded vibration test can be performed from 30 minutes up to several hours.

The condition and amount of shims are also vital to a sound installation. Generally, no more than five shims will be used to reduce the shim stack’s sponginess. Any excess in the net number of shims beneath a machine feat could lead to a higher risk of exceeding allowable soft foot tolerance. Incorrect soft procedures will likely distort the motor frame and cause vibration and bearing misalignment.

3. Conduct load tests before storage or installation

Partial or full load testing of critical motors before installation or storage is a crucial preventative measure that ensures motor reliability. It is recommended to conduct load testing for motors with unexplained noise, high vibration, or high operating temperatures. Load testing will also give you key information about whether your electric motor is oversized, and whether downsizing would be an option to save cost.

Depending on client specifications, an electrical engineering company in Singapore can run load tests anywhere between four and 24 hours. The primary reason for motor load testing is to check that the unit generates torque aligned with nameplate parameters like speed, horsepower, current, and voltage. The most common method of motor load testing is dynamometer testing, which inspects power outputs in various scenarios to ensure the motor is operating at max efficiency.

4. A robust preventative maintenance program

A comprehensive maintenance program is the key to a well-maintained and properly-functioning motor which significantly minimises potential downtimes for the business. The three essentials include vibration testing, lubrication, and filter changes. Several studies over the last 50 years have discovered that the leading cause of motor failure was lubrication, which resulted in bearing failures. Therefore, you must also invest in a lubrication program in your maintenance routine.


Motor downtime is the enemy of all maintenance managers and can be incredibly costly if not addressed quickly. As such, it is best to adopt any kinds of methods, such as those discussed above, that can help reduce downtimes to the absolute minimum.