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4  FM quick reads on Motors

1. How to Catalog and Analyze Motors and Drives


Managers can use computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) to catalog and analyze motors and drives by treating them as parts of a three-component system: the equipment the system drives, the drive itself, and the motor. One example would be a specific air supply or exhaust blower connected to a motor by a V-belt drive that transfers power and adjusts speed. It would consist of a sheave mounted on the motor shaft and a sheave mounted on the blower shaft.

Managers can use these steps to more efficiently catalog and analyze motors and drives:

  • Fill in all the fields in the CMMS equipment-record template at the time of installation or replacement.

  • Create reason codes — such as broken part, corrosion, or operator error — and action codes — which can include cleaned part, replaced part, and adjusted part — in the work-order set-up for further root-cause analysis.

  • Use written work orders for emergencies, routine repairs, and preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance activities. Record completed work, labor and materials included in the job, and reason and action codes, where applicable. Most CMMS automatically transfer work-order data to the equipment history when the technician closes the work order.

  • Analyze the collected data, including mean time between failures, mean time to repair, and root-cause analysis, to determine the cause of the failure. Was it corrosion, wear, heat, operator error, or another cause? The data, along with energy costs, form the basis for decisions on continuous improvement, repair or replacement, and comparison of alternatives to motors and drives.


2.  Motors Can Help Drive Energy Efficiency

The first step for managers trying to determine the best application of premium-efficiency motors is to develop a plan that phases in upgrades of existing motors.

The first step is to identify all motors in the facility. For each motor, record nameplate data, including the motor's horsepower (hp), operating voltage, and operating speed. If the motor is a constant-speed model, measure and record its amperage and power factor, and identify the load it drives and the hours it operates annually, noting if the load is constant or variable.

Motors and the loads they drive represent some of the largest energy users in institutional and commercial facilities today. With many of these loads operating 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, maintenance and engineering managers looking for ways to improve their facilities' operating efficiency are focusing their attention more often on their facilities' motors, where even a small increase in efficiency can result in significant savings.

Today's new-generation motors are quite different from most motors installed in facilities. Improvements in their design and manufacturing have resulted in improved operating efficiencies.

One factor driving this improvement has been mandatory standards for motor performance. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 established the minimum performance standards for a range of motors commonly found in facilities.

As manufacturers have improved their processes by using higher-quality materials and manufacturing techniques, many of the motors available today go beyond these minimum standards. As a result, managers have access to a expanded range of premium-efficiency motors.

Although these motors cost 10-15 percent more than standard-efficiency motors, managers can recover the additional first costs through energy savings, particularly in applications where the motor runs for more than 4,000 hours annually. Managers can expect to achieve a simple two-year payback. In most applications, operating efficiencies will increase 2-8 percent.

3.  Focus on Motor Efficiency to Find Savings

Motors and the loads they drive represent some of the largest energy users in institutional and commercial facilities today. With many of these loads operating 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, facility managers looking for ways to improve their facilities' operating efficiency are focusing their attention more often on their facilities' motors, where even a small increase in efficiency can result in significant savings.

Today's new-generation motors are quite different from most motors installed in facilities. Improvements in their design and manufacturing have resulted in improved operating efficiencies.

One factor driving this improvement has been mandatory standards for motor performance. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 established the minimum performance standards for a range of motors commonly found in facilities.

As manufacturers have improved their processes by using higher-quality materials and manufacturing techniques, many of the motors available today go beyond these minimum standards. As a result, managers have access to an expanded range of premium-efficiency motors.

Although these motors cost 10-15 percent more than standard-efficiency motors, managers can recover the additional first costs through energy savings, particularly in applications where the motor runs for more than 4,000 hours annually. Managers can expect to achieve a simple two-year payback. In most applications, operating efficiencies will increase 2-8 percent.

The first step for managers trying to determine the best application of premium- efficiency motors is to develop a plan that phases in upgrades of existing motors.

The first step is to identify all motors in the facility. For each motor, record nameplate data, including the motor's horsepower (hp), operating voltage, and operating speed. If the motor is a constant-speed model, measure and record its amperage and power factor, and identify the load it drives and the hours it operates annually, noting if the load is constant or variable.

4.  Replace Oversized Motors To Reduce HVAC Energy Use

Today's tip from Building Operating Management comes from James Piper, contributing editor to Building Operating Management and Maintenance Solutions magazines: Replace oversize motors to reduce HVAC energy use.

Commercial and institutional facilities typically have many more motors operating in their HVAC systems than most managers realize. Because these motors use so much energy, they offer great opportunities to make a significant impact on facility energy use.

By far the leading cause of energy inefficiency with HVAC system motors is a mismatch between the motor's rated horsepower and the load it is driving. Most HVAC system motors are induction motors.

While these motors are efficient and reliable, their efficiency, like building chillers, drops off significantly when they operate under part-load conditions. By properly matching motor horsepower to system load requirements, managers can achieve major energy savings.

Achieving this goal requires that managers conduct a survey on HVAC system motors to identify those that are significantly oversized for the application. The goal of the process is to develop a comprehensive list of applications that use motors, including information on the motor horsepower, the load it is driving, and the age and rated efficiency of the motor.

The focus should be on motors that are oversized or have exceeded their operating life expectancies.

Replacing older, oversized motors with properly sized ones offers two benefits. First, matching the motor horsepower to the actual load improves the operating efficiency of the system.

Second, changes in motor design have resulted in a generation of motors that have operating efficiencies 2-8 percent higher than older, standard motors. Coupled with the improved operating efficiency that comes from matching the motor horsepower to the load, the improvement in efficiency can provide a relatively quick payback for managers and facilities.

This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.


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Motors , Drives , CMMS

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