Three ways to reduce the cost of your motor

Motors traditionally run at one speed, as fast as possible or not at all. While some applications require motors to run very quickly, others only require the motor to run at the fraction of the speed. 

Running a motor faster than required can lead to wasted energy, unnecessary utility costs and the need for regular part replacements. Engineers should consider how investing in technologies or processes can slow down their motor without slowing down productivity. 

Convert the energy

Engineers can invest in variable speed drives (VSDs) to manage energy wastage. VSDs can be retrofitted to a single-speed motor and convert the fixed incoming power to a variable voltage. It will then manage the motor’s output speed according to the device’s changeable demands. 

The addition of a VSD has the potential to reduce energy consumption of a facility by at least ten per cent. 

Slow things down

Fixed speed motors accelerate extremely quickly to reach their correct, operational speed, requiring a high current and creating a great deal of heat as a result. This start up process can cause a lot of wear over time and it will ultimately reduce the lifespan of the device. To prevent too much wear, some manufacturers limit the amount of times a motor starts up per hour. 

Engineers can use a soft starter device with their AC electrical motors to reduce this wear. A soft start temporarily limits the current to the motor, therefore avoiding increased mechanical wear and overheating of electrical parts.

Move things around

Improving motor efficiency does not have to involve installing costly equipment. By making a few small changes to their facility, manufacturers can save energy and therefore cut utility costs. For example, motors are often left running when they’re not needed and unnecessary use can add up to £2,000 a year per motor to the energy bill and maintenance costs. 

Engineers should regularly monitor the surrounding environment of the motor to ensure it can operate at the highest efficiency. Keeping motors out of areas in the facility that have high temperatures can reduce overheating. Keeping the motor clean and away from machinery that might emit a lot of dust or debris can also help prevent breakages.

Implementing a predictive maintenance programme can help to make long term improvements to plant energy usage. By understanding machine condition engineers can plan maintenance before a breakdown, avoiding unplanned downtime. If a breakage does occur, instead of investing in a brand-new model, manufacturers can save by opting for a reconditioned part from a reliable supplier. 

Manufacturers should consider eco-obsolete technology if they must replace a part to return to production. These are parts that have become obsolete and are no longer sold by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). However, eco-obsolete technology still adheres to energy efficiency standards despite not being brand new, so is a cost-effective option for manufacturers.