Motor Management Best Practices Part 2: Motor Failure Policies and Purchasing Specifications

March 9, 2015


NEW YORK, NY— Ideally, a facility’s worn-out motors would be replaced before they fail and interrupt the production process; however, this is not always the case. One way to minimize downtime when a motor fails is to plan ahead and identify the critical motors and create a motor failure policy that defines a motor spares inventory.

Part 2, Motor Failure Policies and Purchasing Specifications, of the Copper Development Association’s (CDA) three-part Motor Management Program goes beyond the basics of creating a motor management plan, and provides a detailed explanation for establishing a motor failure policy and developing purchasing specifications.

“A failed or inefficient motor can lead to billions of dollars in wasted energy and operating costs,” said Richard deFay, project manager for CDA’s Sustainable Energy Program. “Therefore, having a motor failure policy and motor spares inventory takes the risk and indecision out of the picture when a motor failure occurs.”

When a motor fails, the decision most often comes down to three choices: repair the motor at failure, replace it at failure or retrofit it immediately. By tagging every spare and in-service motor in the facility with actionable information, a facility can ensure that wrong decisions will not be made due to lack of such information. Whether the policy stipulates replacing any motor under a certain horsepower, facilities should make plans to upgrade to NEMA Premium efficiency motors.

The goal when specifying motors for purchase is to match the most efficient motors to the needs. By specifying which new technologies to invest in, such as ultra-efficient copper-rotor motors or variable frequency drives (VFDs), a motor failure policy can do the following: specify the number of commonly used motors to stock in a facility; specify the tools to assess which motors are most efficient; and it can identify which motors yield the highest energy savings and shortest payback time. The purchasing specifications can also identify preferred motor distributors, which provide the best volume discounts as well as the best pre-sales and post-sales support. By having a motor management plan in place, facilities cannot only save energy but increase productivity.

Learn more about the Motor Management Best Practices series.