Survey indicates need for education

Motor Decisions Matter (MDM) commissioned a telephone survey of readers of PLANT ENGINEERING magazine in the summer of 2003. The survey was conducted to determine the awareness level among senior-level managers, corporate engineering staff, and facility managers in industrial companies of motor management and motor-related practices.


Motor Decisions Matter (MDM) commissioned a telephone survey of readers of PLANT ENGINEERING magazine in the summer of 2003. The survey was conducted to determine the awareness level among senior-level managers, corporate engineering staff, and facility managers in industrial companies of motor management and motor-related practices. These practices include specifying NEMA premium-efficiency motors, following best-practice repair procedures, proactive planning for motor failure, and establishing management policies that support consistent motor repair-replacement decisions.

Only 12% of the respondents understood that a motor's annual operating costs can be five to six times more than its initial purchase price. Electricity costs for a typical 100-hp, 1800-rpm, TEFC motor running 3 shifts can easily exceed $30,000 per year. Because plants often have hundreds of motors, even small improvements in efficiency can have a significant impact on its bottom line.

Approximately 25% of respondents had some knowledge of the NEMA premium specifications. However, only 3% had an official policy regarding purchase of NEMA premium motors.

Appropriate MRO policies enable companies to respond quickly to motor failure, ensure that the best motor for a given application is available when needed, ensure that motor efficiency is maintained during repairs, and effectively manage their motor populations. However, 17% of respondents indicated their company had no routine MRO practices.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that greater attention to motor system management can reduce energy costs by 18%. But these survey results indicate that senior-level managers, engineers, and facility managers in manufacturing are largely unaware of this opportunity. Almost 90% of respondents don't know or grossly underestimate their motors' operating costs.

Motor management tool

Motor Decisions Matter (MDM) recently launched the 1-2-3 Approach to Motor Management, a software tool that demonstrates how industrial facility managers and engineers can reduce downtime and save energy by proactively managing their motor fleets.

MDM sponsors developed the 1-2-3 Approach. It is easy to use, provides information quickly, and is a good starting point for plants that might not have the resources to develop a motor management plan. From user input, the tool calculates annual motor operating costs and presents financial data for future decisions based on life cycle costing. Results provide the necessary information to make an informed decision on whether to repair or replace a motor before it fails, and plan accordingly.

The capabilities of 1-2-3 Approach to Motor Management include:

  • Calculating energy cost and potential energy savings

  • Calculating (and comparing) the financial impact of repairing or replacing motors

  • Determining the payback periods for NEMA Premium motors

  • Calculating return-on-investment and net present value

  • Printing tags that identify the best repair/replace options for each motor

  • Generating a summary report.

    • The 1-2-3 Approach to Motor Management is free and can be downloaded from the MDM website or obtained from a participating MDM sponsor. A list of sponsors, the full survey, and the software download link are available at .

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