Testing and diagnostic solutions for industrial motor heath

May 11, 2021
Sheila Kennedy says new technologies are available to check your motor health, from artificial intelligence to remote validation.
Monitoring the electrical and mechanical health of motors is needed to predict faults and mitigate deterioration caused by everyday operational and environmental conditions. Testing and diagnostics solutions for complete systems or discrete conditions facilitate trending and predictive maintenance. Online capabilities, advanced analytics, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are modernizing customary approaches.

Motor system health

Electrical signature analysis (ESA) and motor current signature analysis (MCSA) help to identify electrical and mechanical faults in motor and generator systems. Howard Penrose, president of MotorDoc, believes the need to identify faults through remote and continuous ESA/MCSA has never been greater. MotorDoc offers this capability for AC and DC motors, generators, transformers, and incoming power.

“The ability to see an entire motor or generator system from a control or disconnect is being met by EMPATH and ECMS, including an expert system that identifies electric machines and driven equipment developing faults, and the upcoming release of the Time-to-Failure Estimation (TTFE) artificial intelligence (AI) application,” says Penrose.

For AC rotating equipment, the Artesis e-MCM is an IoT motor diagnosis system that is usually installed in the motor control cabinet and can be managed remotely over a network. Its machine learning (ML) algorithm helps to detect faults up to six months in advance.

e-MCM is more than a motor tester, observes Deron Jozokos, senior applications engineer at Shoreline Industrial Products, an Artesis distributor. He describes it as a “full, continuous, comprehensive condition monitoring system that automatically identifies mechanical, electrical, and process-related faults of the motor and its driven equipment and their processes. It also doubles as a power meter with a host of energy efficiency analytics available to users.”

The All-Test Pro On-Line II (ATPOL II) is a handheld ESA testing instrument for energized motor and generator systems with software that analyzes, trends, and reports on electrical and mechanical conditions. The motor and power quality analyzer captures voltage and current waveforms for Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) analysis to identify issues with the motor, driven machine, and process.

A steel mill motor tech who uses ATPOL II found it to be “great” for finding faults with both AC and DC motors, adding “I’ve even been able to project ‘down the road’ when there might be an issue with a motor.” He notes that different equipment once used by a third-party tester was very expensive and not portable like the All-Test Pro instruments, and it didn’t pick up the issues that the ATP equipment could.

Technology Toolbox

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

Selected condition analysis

Grease analysis enables optimized motor relubrication to ensure the proper amount of grease is delivered at the correct frequency and a continuous supply of un-degraded, un-contaminated grease is lubricating at all times, says Richard Wurzbach, president of MRG Laboratories.

Using a sample as small as one gram taken from an in-service electric motor, MRG Labs’ Grease Thief makes it possible to analyze the condition of even small bearings of critical motors. “The sample can be analyzed for wear, consistency changes, oxidation, and contaminants. This includes finding mixtures of incompatible greases and the resulting changes in consistency and wear that can occur,” observes Wurzbach.

The new SV87-KIT vibration monitoring solution from FLIR Systems is adept at detecting vibrations before a motor breaks down, including potential issues concerning motor balancing, motor misalignment, bent shafts, motor-mounting looseness, mechanical looseness, and broken rotor bars, says Rob Milner, global condition monitoring business manager at FLIR Systems.

The wireless IoT system “primarily serves as a low-cost, scalable solution for legacy equipment that don’t include built-in vibration accelerometers,” explains Milner. Free mobile and desktop apps enable quick checks and automated alerts, with the added security benefit of direct storage to on-premises servers or the customer’s cloud storage network.

Virtual test service

Monitoring motor tests online avoids site visits. A new Virtual Test Program from Nidec Motor Corporation enables remote validation of motor compliance on its U.S. MOTORS branded lines. Testing performed at its Mena, AR, manufacturing facility is viewable live, and each Virtual Test event is tailored to fulfill customer requirements and provide engineering support on any technical questions.

“With everyone’s busy schedules, having the ability to witness actual testing of motor products from your office or even your cell phone eliminates costly travel expenses and precious time while accomplishing the primary objective of approving the quality motor product manufactured for your application,” explains Dave Lyle, senior director of quality and engineering services at Nidec Motor Corporation.

This story originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of Plant Services. Subscribe to Plant Services here.

About the Author: 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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