Six steps to better electric motor efficiency

Louise Smyth

The global appetite for electric motors is growing and it’s impacting the environment. The International Energy Agency predicts that electric motors’ energy consumption will rise to 13,360 TerraWatt-hour per year and CO2 emissions will rise to 8,570 metric tons per year by 2030. And that doesn’t sound good for the environment. 

Energy efficiency seems to be the new catchphrase and the engineers all over the world are considering energy efficiency and environmental impact while designing electric motor systems. You can ensure greater efficiency with electric motors too. Here Jeson Pitt from D & F Liquidators explains how.
 
With the advent of technology, it is now easier to increase the efficiency of an electric motor with minor investments that can guarantee significant savings. Below are six steps you can take to ensure optimal motor efficiency. 

Turn off the motor when it’s not in use

It’s a simple tip, but it goes a long way in saving energy. You may hesitate to put off the motor assuming that repeatedly switching off/on may lead to quicker wear and tear. If that’s your fear, you can install a soft starter, which can decrease the pressure on mechanical and electrical systems.

Reduce wear and tear

Electric motor wear and tear is a major concern as the electric motor is subjected to high currents and forces when it is switched on. Although soft starters control the damaging effects, you can also employ VSDs, a bit expensive but an efficient industrial motor control system. 

Invest in smart motor technology 

If the motor’s electrical consumption puts a lot of strain on your operating budgets, smart motors are the solution. These highly-efficient motors use only the required amount of energy to start, which means it is a smart investment to improve efficiency, reduce downtime and lower costs. 

Buy the right motor size

Choosing the correct motor size is important to ensure maximum efficiency, especially in industrial and commercial plants that operate huge appliances fuelled by huge amounts of energy. Therefore, it is essential to properly evaluate your applications and processes to ensure you get the right size of the motor. 

To ensure that the potential of the motor is not wasted, there should not be much difference between the standard operating load and the motor’s potential load. 

Eliminate voltage unbalance

Voltage unbalance not only affects the efficiency and performance of the electric motor but also shortens the motor’s life.

For your electric motors to perform optimally, it is crucial to eliminate voltage unbalance. You can use these methods to eliminate voltage unbalance: 

  • Distribute single-phase loads on the three-phase system, so there is an equal load on all three phases;
  • Replace the equipment that’s responsible for voltage unbalance;
  • Install active or reactive filters to reduce the harmonics, which then will reduce the unbalance. 

Ensure proper maintenance 

Regular maintenance of electric motors is a must. It allows you to identify and fix the problems as soon as they arise. If the problems go unchecked, they can cause damage to the motor, thus deteriorating its efficiency. Routine maintenance ensures longer motor life with reduced downtime and expensive repairs.

Final thoughts

Using energy-efficient motors has many benefits. They can deliver high service standards, provide better insulation, last longer and more importantly emit less noise and vibration, thus ensuring less impact on the environment and better impact on the company’s bottom line.