What is Your Cost for Unplanned Motor Down Time?

What is Your Cost for Unplanned Motor Down Time?

Electric motors are the backbone to today's modern industry.

They provide the mechanical energy needed for most manufacturing processes.

Over the last 100 years, many government agencies have imposed strict requirements for implementing some form of thermal overload protection for all electric motors to help prevent electric motors from causing damage or physical harm.

From time to time, a motor protection device will cause an electric motor to stop working due to improper wiring, an electrical issue, a mechanical anomaly, or internal motor damage. When an unplanned event like this occurs, how does your facility handle this situation?

Anytime a critical motor expectantly stops your process, what is the cost of this lost production?

There are many different types of motor protection devices available that meet the required government regulations. These protection devices vary in size, features, and price. How do you choose the right type of motor protection for your manufacturing facility?

The answer to this question depends on your lost production revenue (cost of unplanned electric motor down time). If lost production revenue is minimal, you might want to consider using a basic bimetallic or eutectic alloy based motor protection.

These types of motor protection products meet the minimal government requirements, and they prevent internal thermal damage to the electric motor.

The main drawback is that they do not provide any advanced warning that an event is about to occur, and they do not provide any information about why the event occurred.

If lost production revenue is substantial, you might want to consider using electronic based motor protection.

These types of motor protection products meet the minimal government requirements of thermal protection, but they also provide other types of electrical based protection such as phase loss, asymmetry, improper voltage, rotation mismatch, ground fault (earth leakage) current, and more.

Many electronic motor protection devices provide communications capabilities to alert for possible motor problems, project when the motor is going to stop, and indicate the reason why the motor stopped unintentionally.

For example, in a pumping application, electronic motor protection devices can simulate the internal temperature of an electrical motor providing mechanical power to a pump.

They can send an alarm by text message or email if the heat rises beyond a specified level. They can also be integrated into an existing SCADA infrastructure using communication networks such as EtherNet/IP to provide advanced warnings and help you avoid costly downtime.

Electronic motor protection devices cost more than a basic bimetallic or eutectic based motor protection device, but it can be significantly less compared to the cost of your unplanned electric motor down time.

Bill Martin
Posted 25 July 2014 By Bill Martin, Product Manager, Electronic Overload Relays, Rockwell Automation
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