Building Blocks Of Motor Management

1209MDMMotor management—understanding your motors, their operating conditions and costs and what you are going to do when they fail—can reduce downtime, save money and lower carbon emissions at your facility.

Some facility managers have already mastered the practice. They know how many motors they have, where they're located, their size and nameplate efficiencies, their load factors and number of run-hours. They keep track of each motor's age and maintenance history and have plans in place for what is going to happen with every one of those units when they fail. Yes, such facility managers definitely are out there...

For the rest of us, the following set of motor management building blocks from the Motor Decisions MatterSM Campaign can help.

Motor inventory
A motor inventory is a list of every motor in a facility, its size, nameplate efficiency, operation, load factor, run-hours and maintenance history. With this resource alone, you can ensure that the most efficient motors are the most often used; track "problem" motors (those with histories of repeated failure); and identify candidates for cost-effective replacement. Many vendors and service providers can help facilities assemble motor inventories. Ask a vendor or service provider in your area for assistance. Check out for motor service providers.

Repair/replace decision guidelines
It is easier to manage a plan than a crisis. Know in advance what will be done with every motor upon failure, and label the motor accordingly. The information in your motor inventory—nameplate efficiency, age, run-hours and maintenance history—will assist you in determining the cost-effective choice. (A free Motor Decisions Matter calculation spreadsheet can help you do this in three easy steps.)

Purchasing specification
Once the decision to replace a motor has been made, know what type of unit you'll be purchasing as the replacement. Because energy costs represent 95% of the lifetime costs for most motors, NEMA Premium® efficiency motors may save your facility money in many applications. Keep in mind that a motor failure is also a good opportunity to make sure the size and type of motor are appropriate for the application.

Best-practice repair specification
Ensure that motors are returned to their nameplate efficiency by specifying best-practice repair. Without this type of specification, a repair could result in a unit that operates less efficiently. Take the time to check out the best-practice repair resources that are available through the Motor Decisions Matter initiative, and contact your motor service provider to develop a specification for your facility. Motor Decisions Matter provides motor users with a variety of free tools and information, including the "Simple Savings Calculator," "Motor Planning Kit" and numerous case studies from facilities throughout the United States and Canada, at MT

The Motor Decisions Matter (MDM) campaign is managed by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), a North American nonprofit organization that promotes energy-saving products, equipment and technologies. For further information, contact MDM staff at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (617) 589-3949.

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