EASA launches motor repair accreditation

Service centers will be audited on best practices, industry standards.
By Bob Vavra, Content Manager, Plant Engineering December 24, 2014

A re-wound formed coil 4000 volt stator sits in preparation for a surge test. Courtesy: EASAThe Electrical Apparatus Services Association (EASA) recently launched its motor repair accreditation process to provide clarity to motor end-users and service centers about the importance of proper motor repair.

Motor repair centers already are lining up to receive the EASA accreditation, which will create an audit trail in order to help end-users understand how their motors were repaired and for service centers to bring attention to their repair expertise.

The value of an accreditation program was supported by solid research—EASA surveyed Plant Engineering readers in 2014 to find out what concerns they had about motor operation and reliability. It also was driven by an idea that repaired motors were not reliable.

“It’s a myth that motor repair reduces efficiency,” said EASA Senior Technical Support Specialist Tom Bishop, P.E., a member of EASA’s ad hoc committee on accreditation. “We wanted to come up with a methodology and an audit that would demonstrate that reliability and efficiency can be maintained through the process of repair. We’re trying to turn a negative into a positive.”

“What the audit will show is that if you’re the repair center, you follow best practices, you have the proper equipment to perform the repairs, all equipment is in calibration, and you are reviewed by an outside independent auditor,” said Doug Moore, EASA’s international chairman of the board. “End users will find that by using an accredited service center they should see fewer returns, and that they can have confidence in the motors they have repaired. They will have a reliable product, because they will have the same procedures done on each motor regardless of who they use. They will see consistency.”

Plant managers also will see the investment they make in motors extended. “What this program is doing on the service center side, in essence is restoring that motor, taking it from failure stage and resetting the clock to Day 0,” Bishop said. “The basic premise is to bring the motor back to the original motor manufacturer condition.”

Motor repair and maintenance best practices have been among the cornerstones at EASA for decades, but this accreditation process further defines the best practices that service centers should follow. The EASA process follows the existing standard, the ANSI/EASA AR100 standard for motor repair, which was last updated in 2010. It also allows accredited firms to be promoted as an EASA-accredited motor repair service center.

That is an important factor for end users. 51.2% of Plant Engineering readers said they favored an independent motor repair certification program, and 93% of those who favored the program believed it would improve the quality of repairs. Even so, just 28.5% of Plant Engineering readers use a motor repair specification, and just 24.7% of those follow the ANSI/EASA AR100 standard.

Motor repair is a process best undertaken as a preventive measure instead of in response to a complete motor failure. “A motor in operation can start developing issues,–things like bearing wear,” said Bishop. “It starts to lose its efficiency rating. The repair process can bring the motor back to its original efficiency level. And from the perspective of efficiency, 98% of the operational cost of a motor is electricity to operate the motor. That’s the critical aspect of efficiency, and it’s under-appreciated in many regards by the end user. It’s a fact of life we deal with in service centers. Many of the people we deal with are from the maintenance group, but they aren’t the people who pay the electric bill.”

One of the aspects of (an accredited repair process) is the failure report given for each motor. End-users need to know why the motor failed,” Moore added. “Everything mechanical can have issues. With all the checks this program requires, we’re going to find the problems. The customer may have purchased the wrong grease, for example. In giving a report back to the customer, we’re hoping to solve their own internal issues.”
Service centers can review the accreditation standards and requirements at  www.easa.com/accreditation. EASA has three independent motor audit firms that will conduct the service center audit, and the fee charged for the accreditation covers the audit process and site visit.

Even before the program has been formally rolled out, there was interest among EASA service center members to get the audit process started so they can gain accreditation. “We see the momentum starting to build. We’re picking up about one application a week right now,” said Bishop. “As that continues, service centers will be much more aware that their competitors have the accreditation. The service centers themselves have an interest in moving forward. Even the service centers that haven’t applied for accreditation, will hear inside the organization that there’s a great deal of interest.”