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Electric Motors

Operation and Maintenance Tips

Belts: V-belts are the most common method of connecting a motor to its load, but three other types of belts – cogged V-belts, flat belts and synchronous belts – can actually offer greater efficiency. Cogged V-belts are notched on their inner circumference, which makes the belt more flexible and improves the efficiency of power transmission. Synchronous belts have teeth that match those in the sprocket pulley and are useful for high-torque applications, as the belts have no slip. A recent study has shown that replacing V-belts with cogged V-belts can reduce energy consumption by 0.4 to 10.0 percent, with a typical payback period of one to five months.

ELECTRIC MOTORS Energy Efficiency Reference Guide

Also, check the belt tension – if it's too loose, the belt will slip and waste energy; if it's too tight, the belt will cause excessive wear on the motor and bearings.

Lubrication: Premium lubricants have been shown to provide energy savings of 3 to 20 percent in gear reducers, compressors and motors. They can also extend the life of your motor system by improving resistance to deterioration.

Power quality: Incorrect voltages or phase balances, current leaks and harmonics in the electrical supply can all reduce motor reliability and efficiency. Studies have estimated that improvements to electric supply systems can result in savings of 1 to 5 percent in motor loads, along with improved reliability and extended motor life.

Predictive maintenance: Small investments in regular maintenance of your motor can maintain its efficiency and postpone failure, resulting in substantial savings. Modern infrared optical sensors and vibration sensors can be used to predict a failure. Combined with a good record-keeping system, the result can be less downtime.

For more detailed and practical information on management concepts and improvement options for motor systems, see the publication Energy-Efficient Motor Systems Assessment Guide available through the Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation (CIPEC). To order this publication, call (613) 995-6839 or e-mail CIPEC.


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