Motors are the driving force of industrial production. New approaches to motor monitoring, alignment, testing, and connections are saving time and costs while improving safety. At the same time, energy-saving motors and intelligent drives are boosting efficiency and performance while facilitating troubleshooting.
Maintenance made easy
Installing condition monitoring sensors directly on motors can be expensive or even impossible in some cases. The SAM4 predictive maintenance solution from Semiotic Labs was designed to analyze current and voltage data from inside the motor control cabinet, and it uses machine learning to recognize patterns and detect developing faults.
SAM4 provides “direct electrical information, so you can catch electrical failures much earlier than you would using another physical signal such as vibration,” says Jasper Hoogeweegen, CEO of Semiotic Labs. “With both current and voltage data present, you gain the ability to track actual performance and efficiency metrics in real time.” SAM4’s capabilities contributed to Semiotic Labs’ recent partnership with Schneider Electric to provide asset health insights as part of Schneider’s EcoStruxure Asset Advisor platform.
The new ShaftAlign Touch laser alignment system from Prüftechnik enables maintenance organizations to upgrade to a digital system from decades-old legacy tools such as dial indicators and feeler gauges. It combines premium single-laser technology with Active Situational Intelligence software to empower users of varying experience levels to align standard assets with high precision and speed, explains Jonathan Gough, a Fluke Reliability product manager and the product owner for the Prüftechnik touch alignment platform.
Part of the Prüftechnik family of Adaptive Alignment systems, which provide corrective feedback to reduce or eliminate user errors, ShaftAlign Touch also provides up to eight measurement points and offers cloud-compatible software, allowing newer technicians to share measurements with remote experts to facilitate job completion.
The all-in-one MTR105 motor tester recently announced by Megger performs multiple tests from a single handheld device. It serves as an insulation resistance (IR) tester, motor rotation tester, digital low resistance ohmmeter (DLRO), multimeter, and LCR meter.
“While there are a limited number of single units available that incorporate multiple test functions for static motor testing, none of them combine all of the features and capabilities of the Megger MTR105,” says Brian Hammerschmidt, application specialist at Megger. Some of its features include a full suite of IR tests such as PI, DAR, and timed tests; a guard terminal; temperature compensation; three-phase connection; and a full-color graphic display.
Motor connections, disconnections, and replacements are simplified with MELTRIC Switch-Rated plugs and receptacles designed for safety, convenience, and cost effectiveness. With their UL/CSA switch and horsepower ratings, they are NEC line-of-sight compliant. It is easy to locate them near the motor with either an in-line, direct motor mounted, flexible conduit, hard-piped, cord drop, or wall box configuration, observes Mark Rasmussen, managing director at MELTRIC.
“Motor changeouts become quick and easy, significantly reducing associated downtime, and the pre-wiring of replacement motors with MELTRIC Switch-Rated plugs and receptacles avoids phase rotation concerns on start-up,” adds Rasmussen. Additionally, their dead-front safety shutter eliminates potential hazards from exposure to live parts and arcing.
Advanced motors and drives
Energy efficiency is built into today’s motor designs. The Baldor-Reliance EC Titanium from ABB is a ferrite-assisted synchronous reluctance (FASR) motor that can achieve efficiency levels above IE5. The integrated motor drive solution maintains high efficiency at any speed.
EC Titanium’s unique design “allows for excellent power density and synchronous speed operations with no loss in the rotor and lower losses in the stator,” says Mark Gmitro, global product manager for variable speed AC motors at ABB. “The motor is able to maintain efficiencies at lower speeds and partial loads with minimal bearing and winding temperature rises, and the design yields a power factor above 90 percent.”
The new FR-E800 Series variable frequency drive (VFD) from Mitsubishi Electric Automation differentiates itself from other compact VFDs in two ways, according to Senior Product Manager Deana Fu. First, it has AI-supported fault diagnostic functions that help users accelerate troubleshooting, predict the remaining lifetime of critical components, and detect when environmental factors are causing internal corrosion.
Second, it does “an outstanding job” tuning to permanent magnet motors, delivering precise control, high toque, and low noise levels. “We have helped customers transition from induction to custom permanent magnet motors, resulting in reduced energy usage and more efficient machine designs,” Fu adds.
This article is part of our monthly Technology Toolbox column. Read more from Sheila Kennedy.