Keeping an “EYE” on Your Motor: Part 3 Operations

With the release of the PdMAEYE® permanently installed electric motor test system we look forward to sharing success stories from the field as our customers add this new technology to the MCEMAX for an optimal electric motor reliability program. This week the 3rd success story comes from the Manufacturing Industry.

The global Fiber Cement market size is on path to reach 25 billion USD by 2030, with an expected compound annual growth rate of 4.5%. A market with this size and growth will be competitive and demand high levels of reliability to keep up with production demands. However, it is not always equipment failures that can negatively impact reliability. Operations can also play a role and having the ability to use electric motor test equipment to keep an “EYE” on operational oversights is a winning situation.

While reviewing an automated event alert on a critical refiner from the comfort of an air-conditioned office the motor analyst noticed that the Start-Up Duration was more than three times the normal value. The normal Start-Up Duration had been approximately 5 seconds with the most recent start requiring more than 15 seconds! Every application has its own In-Rush/Start-Up characteristics, which is why it is so important to acquire a healthy baseline as soon as possible on every critical motor. Waiting for an anomaly or complaint from operations that something is wrong to take your first In-Rush/Start-Up test significantly reduces the effectiveness of the In-Rush/Start-Up test towards the troubleshooting effort. A major benefit of the permanently installed PdMAEYE technology is always being ready and waiting for the next motor start following a shutdown. With the rich history of capturing all previous starts it was obvious that the 15 second Start-Up Duration was a problem. A quick call to the facility to discuss the indications produced the root cause. If a refiner is shut down for a short period of time it can be restarted without concern. However, if a shutdown is extended the product remaining in the grinder wheel section can harden and cause excessive loading on the refiner during restart. A washdown of the grinder section following an extended shutdown is the normal operating procedure to prevent the excessive Start-Up duration and prevent overheating of the electric motor. Heat is the number one cause of motor failure. Normal starting of an electric motor is itself a major heating event. If we extend the Start-Up duration by three times the normal length you can expect a reduction in the life expectancy of the electric motor.

To see details and the conclusion of this case study visit the PdMA YouTube Channel at