Importance of motor winding analysis in a facility

Motor faults and failure can cause disruptions to business operations and lead to loss of productivity and reduced profits.
By David Manney, L&S Electric January 12, 2017

Motor faults and failure can cause disruptions to business operations and lead to loss of productivity and reduced profits. Courtesy: Samuel Zeller, UnsplashMotor faults and failure can cause disruptions to business operations and lead to loss of productivity and reduced profits. This is why it is important to perform tests that help prevent interruptions to a facility’s operations. It is possible with motor winding analysis.

Preventative maintenance and motor winding analysis

When it comes to ensuring the life and condition of an electric motor,preventative maintenance is the way to do it. There are several types of analysis that check the lifespan and condition of a motor. These help evaluate the motor’s operating conditions and what is left of the machine’s operating and insulation system.

Motor winding analysis is one of these processes that can be performed as a part of predictive maintenance operation in a facility. In addition to vibration analysis, infrared thermography, laser alignment and dynamic balancing, winding analysis aims to extend the life of motors while reducing energy consumption. This is why incorporating this technique into maintenance work should be considered. Using scheduled downtime for motor maintenance can prevent premature wear and unexpected and costly failures.

Keep in mind that certain factors can increase the workload or strain on the motor, such as the cycling variation, load and environment. Check these areas most and assess and/or avoid potential issues before they occur or get worse.

The basics of motor winding analysis

Winding analysis is a non-invasive type of testing motors, as well as generator and transformer windings. It may be performed in addition to motor current analysis, and the electric winding insulation can be classified at the same time. The information acquired is also more in-depth and sophisticated.

Motor winding analysis serves as the initial step to setting a baseline relevant to the life of electric motors. Aside from this, operating conditions that often lead to winding failure on electric motors will be determined. These include mechanical and environmental conditions, serious faults and power supply issues. Through motor current analysis, it is easy to determine when the electric winding insulation malfunctions.

Through winding analysis, critical tests to identify the existing motor winding insulation must be performed. This allows motor failures to be minimized and productivity losses avoided. Maintenance costs will also be reduced to a minimum as potential issues are detected before they become apparent. Business owners can continually find ways to cut costs by maintaining the excellent condition of equipment that will impact the bottom line.

Benefits of motor winding analysis

Motor windings can be a huge problem with equipment. For this reason, it helps to perform motor winding analysis to eliminate this concern. Motors can be spared from premature failure and the winding insulation’s dielectric strength can be determined at the same time. This is why winding analysis should remain as one of the key components of predictive maintenance operations.

Moreover, this technique can be used when in-place and non-destructive trending of the electrical motors is performed. Winding analysis is reliable when it comes to trending both AC and DC rotating equipment.

Traditional testing

In predictive maintenance there are traditional tests done to know more about a rotor’s insulation. Winding analysis also checks the integrity and condition of the rotor bars. Set a limit if there are obvious changes in order to determine how severe these are. Limits also help determine when certain actions that prevent equipment failure should be performed. These tests give an idea of the remaining lifespan of the equipment as more is found out about its past performance.

As the motor winding analysis is conducted, it can indicate premature failure and faults of motor components. Thus, these winding issues can be detected and prevented, along with other relevant problems. It is possible to prevent overall motor failure when more is learned about the winding insulation’s dielectric strength.

For an efficient troubleshooting tool, winding analysis is the way to go. In fact, several facilities use a hand-held Megger when checking for insulation strength and ground faults. In case internal shorts are occurring within the windings, these issues may not become visible as a ground fault. Hence, to identify the slightest resistance imbalance between the different phases, a winding analysis is ideal. As for the surge test, this can help detect any internal shorts in the windings.

Through predictive maintenance it is possible to save time, money and energy. Checking for potential problems and preventing them from occurring are practical ways to prolonge a machine’s lifespan.

– David Manney is a marketing administrator at L&S Electric. This article originally appeared on L&S Electric Watts New Blog. L&S Electric is a CFE Media content partner.