Best Practices for Motor Testing
Motors are the heart and soul of many essential production assets. They keep the gears turning, the belts running, and the line moving. And while they’re built to last, motors aren’t invincible. They’re prone to burnouts, shutdowns, cycle issues, and inefficiencies of all types.
Preserving motor function comes down to being proactive, and motor testing is the simplest way to benchmark performance — both before a failure and after repairs.
Motors are mission-critical components
Motors can be found just about everywhere in industrial environments, and they’re becoming more complex and technical by the day. They’re the workhorses of every thriving factory and are, expectedly, prone to the consequences of daily wear and tear.
If improperly cared for, a motor will inevitably fail over time, and even a minor failure can slow or halt production on factory lines. Keeping these critical components in good health is the difference between costly downtime and an efficient, productive, revenue-generating factory line.
Testing before and after repairs
One way to prevent motor failure and the downtime that accompanies it is to test consistently before and after you make any repairs.
- Testing prior to repairs is part of root cause analysis — by examining a failed motor and its system in a step-by-step way, maintenance technicians can focus on stresses that caused the failure.
- Testing after repairs is simply part of quality control. It’s a check on the consistency of the work performed, intended to give operators on the factory floor confidence that the motor (along with the machine) is ready for safe, efficient operation again.
Regular testing promotes consistency and safety for the motor and the systems that rely on it or are powered by it. It yields critical insight into motor function and capacity to help operators identify conditions that may necessitate a change in operational variables. Regular testing also reduces the frequency and urgency of breakdowns so maintenance teams can make repairs during scheduled downtimes, at a predictable pace.
Testing a full array of electrical capacities
Electric motors are complex components, and testing a motor can be challenging for the beginner. There are stringent standards for electric motor testing, governed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) through standards such as IEEE 43, 56, 95, and 400.
Technicians need the right tools — particularly a multimeter — to provide key diagnostic information. Digital multimeters measure electric capacities, including voltage, resistance, and current. A megohmmeter also is valuable to test the electrical resistance of insulators.
Nearly half of all motor failures stem from electrical issues, so performing tests like the impulse test, rotation testing, or wound rotor test can help pinpoint and mitigate failures like rotor problems or winding issues.
Outsourcing motor testing
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to motor testing. Routine testing, troubleshooting, repair, and maintenance are often best left to professionals who understand these critical components and their primary functions, inside and out. Promote consistency and maximize uptime at your organization by investing in regular testing and maintenance from reliable motor experts.