A dilemma every industrial facility comes to time and time again. An electric motor in your facility has an issue, it could be a vibration issue, bearing issue, or a variety of other items. Now is decision time... should you remove that motor from service and send it out to a motor repair shop or should you ask the motor repair shop to come to you and service the motor right where it sits?
As a motor repair facility and supplier of new motors you tend to get asked the question, do you offer storage for my spare electric motors? When deciding if you should move your spares you need to ask yourself a few questions about what you are currently doing in-house:
- Are these spares getting inventoried regularly?
- Are the shafts being spun regularly?
- Is the area clean of dust/debris?
- Are they stored in a temperature controlled environment?
- Are they stored seperate from a repair production area?
You should understand that every motor repair facility has their own practices and policies when it comes to charging an inspection fee.
What is an inspection fee?
It is a fee to cover the tear down, analysis, and testing of machinery to properly diagnose what has caused or could be causing the equipment to not work properly.
What does the fee cover?
It covers a portion of the cost for the professional skilled trades people to evaluate your equipment (such as):
You are the Maintenance Manager. You are tasked with keeping the plant running and having adequate replacement spares for critical equipment. It is critical to plant production that you know where every spare piece of equipment is located, that the piece is ready to go into service at a moment’s notice and that the piece of equipment was repaired to your specification during the last time that it was in for service. You don’t have time to physically go searching and certainly don’t want the embarrassment of not knowing where that spare 1000 hp or even 1 hp motor is in the event of an emergency breakdown situation. What could be even worse is knowing where the motor is, taking the time to install, wire, and align the motor only to find that it had not been stored properly and the motor will not run properly. But wait, it can be even worse. You stored the motor properly, you spun the shaft every quarter, kept it clean and dry, you even megged it semi-annually but the shop that repaired it the last time cut some corners, did not follow the specification and the motor is not going to be a viable option to get you out of this breakdown situation.
Does shorter travel time translate into longer equipment life?
Maybe it does, but in order to answer this question we need to take a look at a few factors that can make the difference. Right down the road from your plant is XYZ Shop, you’ve been using them for years because they can respond quickly, and when you get the motor back, well… it works. You’ve sent this 100HP vertical to them five times over the past six years and every time it bolts right back in place and runs. You continue to send it over because, John knows my motor. At this point I’d agree. After having it in his shop five times he knows exactly what to do to make that motor run again. Here’s a thought, what if it’s the pump and not the motor that is the root cause of the failure? Does John ask the question about the driven equipment after seeing the same mode of failure over and over again? Or does it not matter because we’ve grown comfortable with XYZ Shop and they do a good job of getting the motor up and running again, even if it is every 14 months.
As a reliability specialist you often get asked the question, “How long does it have?” or "How long will it last?" after you have determined an issue such as, bearing fault, gear tooth damage, or even imbalance? If you have asked the question or been asked then you’re in the same boat many others have been in before you. The short answer is NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE! Typically, we can compare similar situations of past experiences and determine an estimated answer, but not a definite period of time.
Everyone who deals with vendors has a choice to make. Should you beat them up and show them "who's boss" or should you partner with them in the spirit of cooperation? Which one do you choose? Can you do both?
There are a lot of articles on managing vendor relationships, many people much smarter than i am write articles and books on this topic. However, there is a fundamental, philosophical choice that i see companies (and individuals alone) make when dealing with vendors. Are they open and honest and treat their vendors as partners in advancing items at their location? Or do they constantly demand more and more of the vendor and want to pay less?
The term motor management has been used for a variety of items. The most commonly used definition is typically storing motors in a warehouse, what we like to call a "motor hotel." Is simply storing motors the definition of motor management or should it be more?
We say that it should be much more than just storing a few motors. A true motor management program should be looking at everything involved in that motor's life; from purchase to repair to all the different systems it ran as a part of. Motor management is an all encompassing program that lives and breaths reliability and up time.
It is easy to look at something you created or implemented with blinders on. You put the effort into it and figured it all out and now someone else (a new manager or vendor, etc.) is coming to you saying that their idea is better and will improve upon what you built. It is human nature to be skeptical and defensive, especially since people are always over-promising and under-delivering on what they initially say they can do.
The big question here is were you receptive or did you immediately defend what you are already doing? Are you keeping an open-mind in order to evolve or are you a brick wall and its your way or the highway?
Category I, Category II, Category III and Category IV - What are they and what do they have to do with vibration analysis? Why should they matter to my corporation?
Through The Vibration Institute, Mobius Institute, Technical Associates of Charlotte, and various other groups offer certification in vibration analysis. More importantly, they are certification to ISO 18436-2 Vibration Condition Monitoring and Diagnostics.