While electric motors may appear like any other electric component, they have a massive impact on the productivity and profitability of a company or facility. Hence, it is essential to keep electric motors in their optimal condition. This entails regular maintenance checks on the motors to ensure they always perform at their peak.
But how often should regular motor maintenance be? What type of inspection or tests need to be done to check the condition or performance of an electric motor adequately?
To answer these common questions that many non-engineers probably have in mind, this article lays down some of the most important things you should about the periodic maintenance of electric motors.
How regular should an electric motor be checked?
Electric motors require regular or periodic maintenance to prevent failure or downtime and extend their lifespan. The maintenance cycle of an electric motor depends upon its type and the conditions under which it operates. Nonetheless, electric motors and their parts should generally be tested and maintained at least every 6 months.
By checking and maintaining your electric motor every six months, you can ensure that the life and efficiency of your motor remain optimal. Moreover, having a regular motor maintenance program can easily detect and identify all the potential issues your motor may face. This will ultimately enable you to address the possible problems ahead of time.
Essential Tests for Periodic Motor Maintenance
Checking and maintaining an electric motor requires more than just performing a quick visual inspection. Although visual inspections are necessary, as they reveal some essential details about your electric motor, there can also be some potential problems with your electric motor that a simple visual inspection cannot notice.
With that said, here are 3 of the most crucial inspection or tests you should conduct to facilitate better electric motor maintenance:
Brush and Commutator Inspection
Periodic maintenance checks help ensure electric motors will not stop working suddenly or experience inconsistencies. With this, you should look for indications of wear and tear on your motor, as any hint of possible excessive wearing results in commutation issues with the motor. This means that you may be required to change the brush to restore the integrity of the function of your equipment.
Moreover, it would be best if you also inspected the commutator to ensure that it does not have any scratches, dents, or grooves. These rough spots often signify brush sparking. In addition to the commutator, thoroughly inspect the rotor, stator, motor mount and belts, and try to replace all the parts that have already worn out.
1. Motor Winding Test
After inspecting the different components of the machine, you then need to test the windings of your electric motor to determine if they are already in need of some electric motor rewinds or electric motor overhauling. The motor winding test helps you discover any failure or anomaly in your motor windings. You should perform a mandatory motor winding test immediately if you notice any crack or burn mark or smell a burning odour.
The test essentially involves disassembling the motor to identify its abnormalities. The likelihood of severe damage is high if the motor windings are overheated. Doing electric motor rewinds and testing the wind insulation, which reveals details on the motor’s resistance level, are also crucial parts of the test.
2. Vibration Tests
Excessive vibrations are sometimes hard to detect manually. However, if not discovered early or on time, vibration can minimise the lifespan of your electric motor, which can fail the motor windings or the motor bearing in the long run. Most of the time, the cause of the vibration is mechanical in characters, such as improper balance, too much belt tension, or faulty ball bearings or sleeve.
In some cases, even electrical issues can result in vibrations. You can test your electric motor for vibration by disconnecting the load, removing its belts, and then operating the motor. A couple of tests can help identify the exact cause of vibrations, including the field vibration analysis performed by portable instruments that determine the precise frequency of the vibrations’ amplitude.
The importance of regular or periodic maintenance checks to ensure the optimum efficiency of electric motors cannot be emphasised enough. Indeed, to make sure your electric motor performs at its peak and lasts long, you need to conduct the proper maintenance checks on it periodically or regularly. The ones mentioned in this article are some of the most important tests you should do to ensure your electric motor is well maintained at all times!