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Standard Practice When a Motor Fails

The standard practice for most managers when a motor fails is to have a technician remove the motor and have it rebuilt or replaced without investigating the cause of the failure. In many applications, managers can get away with this approach, and the new or rebuilt motor functions properly for many years. But this does not always happen, nor is it always the best course of action. Too often, the new or repaired motor once again fails, usually for the same reason the original motor failed.

For example, the motor might be installed in a location with high levels of dust and dirt. If the motor had an open enclosure, it could be the exposure to dust and dirt contributed to its failure. Replacing it with another motor that has open enclosure would subject the replacement motor to the same environmental conditions that caused the original motor to fail.

Managers need to look at the history of the motor. Have there been previous failures in this application? A history of failures indicates that the wrong type of motor might have been installed for the application or that there might be significant power issues with the location that are contributing to the motor failure. Unless managers take steps to identify and correct these issues, motor failures are likely to continue even after replacement or rebuilding.

Even motors that are well-maintained and have been properly matched to the load they drive have a finite service life. A motor's time and operating hours, particularly if is subject to frequent starts, take their toll on components, and eventually something fails. When failure does occur, managers need to review the motor's history to gauge its performance. What repair work have technicians performed on the motor? Does it have a record of reliability, or is it unreliable?

Before managers can decide whether to rebuild or replace the motor, they might need to determine exactly what failed. If the damage is extensive, the cost of rebuilding the motor might approach the cost of replacing it. If the manager determines the motor has undergone an extensive rebuilding, replacement might be the best option.

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