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Electrical Testing
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Tip of the Week: Motor Baseline Data

Data from tests on new motors can be used to help detect when changes occur and spot impending problems.

New motors often are installed without predictive maintenance in mind. This is a costly mistake. Invest in some testing upfront, so you know exactly which characteristics your motor has. Then you can compare future test results with the baseline ones to track deterioration, spot impending problems, and avoid surprise failures.

Ideally, your baseline tests and measurements will be the same tests and measurements your preventive maintenance (PM) and predictive maintenance (PdM) programs call for, plus some key tests and measurements for troubleshooting.

Here's some of the data you definitely should collect.

Before installation:

• Axial runout of shaft.

• Insulation resistance of the windings.

• Photograph of nameplate.

After installation, before energization:

• Alignment data.

• Axial runout of shaft. Yes, do this again; if it differs from pre-installation, you have a problem.

• Supply voltage.

After energization:

• Vibration levels.

• Thermographic survey, after sufficient runtime.

• Supply voltage under normal load.

Also, the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) or other asset tracking system should be updated with the information about any new motor. This would include not just all of the standard specs, but also maintenance data such as the kind of bearing grease used.

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