Maximize motor reliability and efficiency

May 6, 2022
Sheila Kennedy says features like self-monitoring and onboard predictive analytics help to reduce unplanned downtime.

Choosing the right motor and drive for an application is central to achieving the desired performance and service life. Strategic monitoring and testing help to keep the devices and systems in top form. The following are some offerings that further these crucial goals.

Motor and drive developments

Increasing motor safety and reliability and providing a higher degree of flexibility were the challenges tackled when the SIMOTICS SD200 severe-duty motor line from Siemens was designed. A small detail like swivel hooks for lifting the motor, supporting up to four terminal box locations, and off-the-chart starting torque characteristics with low inrush current, are just some of the SD200’s differentiators, says Oscar Palafox, technical product manager for low-voltage motors at Siemens Motion Control Business.

“We also looked closely at the energy cost savings and designed a motor that’s not only suitable for the highest nominal efficiency regulation today, but we also made sure that our design exceeds these values. We made an IE4-equivalent efficient motor available to the market, as well,” adds Palafox.

Baldor-Reliance Critical Cooling motors from ABB are targeted to clean rooms, data centers, hospitals, and other applications requiring stable temperature control and continuous operation. The inverter-duty motors, best suited for HVAC applications that use variable frequency drives, include remote monitoring for increased safety and predictive maintenance.

The motors are designed with hybrid ceramic ball bearings on both motor ends to eliminate bearing currents, says Bevan Christiansen, HVAC segment manager for Baldor-Reliance motors. “The innovative use of ceramic ball bearings in Critical Cooling motors makes the motors so reliable that they come with a lifetime warranty against bearing failure due to shaft currents,” he observes.

The new PowerFlex 755TS drive from Rockwell Automation, the first six-pulse variable frequency drive with TotalFORCE technology, is designed to support a multitude of industrial applications. Continuous self-monitoring and onboard predictive analytics help to reduce unplanned downtime. Adaptive control features enable faster startups and increase energy efficiency, productivity, and throughput.

The patented TotalFORCE technology “brings a simplified and consistent user experience to virtually any motor control application in three key ways: flexible, high-performance control; operational intelligence; and eased commissioning and optimization,” explains Andy Gagnon, senior manager of mechanical development at Rockwell Automation.

Monitoring and optimization solutions

Motor condition monitoring driven by sensors that use batteries face interruptions from planned or reactive battery replacements. The batteryless Eversensors that power Everactive’s Machine Health Monitoring (MHM) solution enable always-on condition monitoring for all rotating equipment. Eversensors, built for rugged industrial environments, harvest energy from sources such as indoor solar light, thermal gradients, RF, and vibration to continuously sense, process, and wirelessly transmit machine health data.

About the Author: Sheila Kennedy

Rather than risking sensor downtime and replacing expensive batteries, time can be focused on the data that the system collects to predict more failures on more equipment, says Chad Dyson, Everactive’s MHM application specialist. “We are able to collect and transmit data once a minute wirelessly. You get more data, more time to analyze failures, and no battery maintenance,” he explains.

The new ATPOL III energized motor and power analysis instrument from All-Test Pro facilitates the detection phase of condition monitoring programs for assets that contain any electrical equipment, such as motors, generators, or transformers.

“ATPOL III uses the electrical equipment’s voltage and current as the transducer to quickly determine the condition of the entire machinery system, including the quality of the incoming or outgoing electrical power, machinery loading, and efficiencies,” comments William Kruger, training manager at All-Test Pro. The test results can be uploaded into the latest ATPOL 8.0 software for analysis and a report displaying the results of the automatic analysis. When connected to a pre-installed ALL-SAFE connector, the entire process can be completed in less than five minutes per machine, Kruger adds.

The Snell Group offers comprehensive motor testing instruction. Its Electric Motor Testing Training Series (EMTTS) is a 32-hour, seven-section course offered live or online on demand. It moves progressively from electrical theory basics and electric motor fundamentals to topics including de-energized motor testing, energized power quality analysis, spectral analysis, and safety considerations. Optionally, the topics can be purchased individually.

Trainees learn why and how to maximize motor performance and reliability through processes such as measuring inrush current. Don Donofrio, an instructor and consultant at The Snell Group, explains: “Sometimes it is what you don’t see that can cause motor failures. Monitoring inrush can identify many failure mechanisms.”

This story originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of Plant Services. Subscribe to Plant Services here.

Technology Toolbox

This article is part of our monthly Technology Toolbox column. Read more from Sheila Kennedy.

About the Author

Sheila Kennedy | CMRP

Sheila Kennedy, CMRP, is a professional freelance writer specializing in industrial and technical topics. She established Additive Communications in 2003 to serve software, technology, and service providers in industries such as manufacturing and utilities, and became a contributing editor and Technology Toolbox columnist for Plant Services in 2004. Prior to Additive Communications, she had 11 years of experience implementing industrial information systems. Kennedy earned her B.S. at Purdue University and her MBA at the University of Phoenix. She can be reached at [email protected] or

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