A question that has plagued plant maintenance and purchasing personnel for a very long time: Why do my electric motor repair prices vary so much? Why when i send the motor out one time it is $5,000 and another time it is $10,000?
Seems ridiculous, doesn't it? Double the price from last time? It may be just that: ridiculous! However, it also could be due to a variety of factors.
What was wrong with the motor last time? Was it just a clean up job where nothing major was wrong with it besides maybe a bad bearing? What if this time it is a rewind? What if this time it requires a new shaft? There are so many items that could go wrong on an electric motor, and they can vary from repair to repair.
You should be able to determine these reasons by simply looking at the quotation or estimate provided by your motor repair shop. If you do not see a difference in the workscope, then you may or may not have an issue with your vendor. However, please keep in mind that there are raw material price fluctuations that are outside of your motor repair shop's control in addition to all of the potential issues that could go wrong.
Just look at Copper, which is the bulk of the material in a motor's winding. There is a copper price index that you can look at to see what the cost of copper is doing. Check it out here: http://www.nasdaq.com/markets/copper.aspx
In looking at the chart for copper, you can see it has adjust just since the beginning of 2017 by roughly $0.25/lb. For an electric motor's winding which can have thousands of pounds worth of copper this could adjust and affect the price of the repair job.
If you ever are truly questioning the repair cost, the best thing you can do is to pack up and head out to see your job at the repair vendor's location. This will either confirm your suspicions or convince you that what you have been quoted is accurate and fair.
You will find when you visit that not every motor repair shop is built the same. The procedures and processes are not equal across the industry. EASA (Electrical Apparatus Service Association)has began to help show the fundamental differences between shops by starting the Accreditation program they now have. This helps to see if shops meet the very basics of motor repair capabilities and have some form of quality procedures in place.
In conclusion, motor repair prices can vary/change for a variety of reasons. Just be sure there is a good explainable reason for the change, and if you are in doubt, make a visit to the shop.
HECO - All Systems Go
About the author:
Justin Hatfield is Vice President of Operations at HECO. He is responsible for Electric Motor & Drive Sales, Electric Motor & Generator Repairs, Spare Solutions, and Predictive Services. Justin was instrumental in developing HECO MAPPS (Motor and Powertrain Performance Systems) which focuses on “why” you have a motor problem instead of simply “What” product or service should be recommended. HECO is an EASA Accredited Service Center.