Get Your Motor Running

How Machine Builders Keep Their Motors Running Non-Stop and Efficiently

By Katherine Bonfante

I don't know if you know this about me, but I enjoy running.

My friends and family describe me as a treadmill junky because I can stay on my machine and go miles at a time, as long as there is something good on TV to distract me from the tiring exercise. Once in awhile, I choose to run outside, but the conditions have to be just right for me to venture into nature.

SEE ALSO: Product Roundups - Motor Efficiency: Cut the Cost

Last night was one of those rare occasions. I had only gone a few blocks when my body started to give up. My legs were tired, my knees hurt, I was sweating more than usual, and I was thirsty. I knew I had to keep going, but I had to make adjustments, and find a way to keep my motor/legs going if I wanted to accomplish my goal. This got me thinking about industrial machines.

Unlike humans, machines can't say, "Bring over a fan," "Lower my speed please," or ask for a glass of water — well, maybe oil in their case. So how do machine builders keep their motors running non-stop and do it efficiently?

Hank Hogan, our semiconductor process engineer retiree, wrote an article about what machine builders do to keep their motors going. In the article, "How to Raise Motor Efficiency," Hogan reports that a motor can never be too efficient, but striving for more motor efficiency takes a lot of work. Machine builders must examine everything from the motor itself to the entire system. Read the article to find out why focus is an essential key for greater motor efficiency.

If you feel your motors are about to give up — like I almost did last night — you might need to learn how to push your motors to become more efficient. You should read our article "How to Push Motor Efficiency." Here, a reader asked our panel of experts if induction motors had reached the end of their efficiency-improvement road. Our reader's customers had a 50-50 preference between permanent magnet motors and standard induction motors, and he wanted to know if other machine builders were in the same situation. Our reader wanted to standardize his offerings, but wasn't sure which motor would be more efficient. Read the article to find out what our experts had to say.

Lastly, executive editor Jim Montague wrote that there are two roads to take when it comes to machine efficiency and sustainability. One is the easy path, and the other, well, that's the hard way. Montague reports that if you take the easy road, you might start by selecting more efficient motors, drives, and right-sized components that avoid overusing energy, material and other resources. If you choose the hard way, you will have to redesign basic machine movements, spatial configurations, operating formats and operations.

Read the article "Two Avenues to Machine Efficiency and Sustainability" and find Montague's full lists of steps to follow when deciding what road to take towards more efficient machines.

When it comes to my running motors, I know I have to take different steps and make major adjustments to make running outside a lot more efficient.