Like many pieces of industrial equipment, electrical motors operate in harsh environmental conditions that involve heat and abrasion. Consequently, plant managers must implement a proper maintenance program to avoid motor failure and ensure a long service life. Predictive maintenance may be preferable to other types of maintenance in circumstances where equipment downtime is untenable. Predictive maintenance techniques allow plant managers to measure and diagnose failure levels in an electrical motor without compromising production.
A major benefit of predictive maintenance is that it is not intrusive. With the help of machine monitored trending methods, plant managers can assess the potential failure levels of a motor without tearing a machine apart and halting production. Predictive maintenance also does not require unnecessary maintenance if the equipment does not require it, further reducing the costs of maintenance.
This type of maintenance is performed through techniques such as vibration, infrared, and winding analysis. In vibration analysis, the frequency of rotating equipment is measured by instrumentation such as an accelerometer and spectrum analyzer. Each piece of equipment generates a unique pattern, which is typically recorded in the first few hours of equipment operation. Abnormalities from this pattern, such as excessive vibration, may be a sign of common problems and can warrant further actions and repairs.
In addition to a vibration pattern, electrical motors have a specific temperature profile. The temperature profile is monitored using thermal images of a motor’s surface temperature. This is known as infrared analysis. Any observed deviation from a motor’s temperature profile, such as hot spots, can indicate issues such as short circuits and an unbalanced voltage.
Electrical motor winding analysis is another predictive maintenance technique that specifically tests the integrity of motor winding insulation. Some examples of early-stage problem easily detected by a winding analysis include degraded insulation and leakages. Fortunately, these tests are non-destructive and can be performed quickly during planned down times. The results from a winding analysis can inform predictive maintenance professionals about the strength of a motor’s insulation and the potential risk of failure.
To learn more about predictive maintenance techniques and benefits, especially in comparison to preventative maintenance, download a free copy of our eBook from the Renown Electric website. For more advice and guidance regarding motor maintenance or repairs, feel free to contact one of our technical experts today.