Energy Savings Are More than a Motor

Feb. 19, 2008
John Malinowski, Baldor Electric Co.’s motors product manager, in Fort Smith, Ark., says that energy savings cost reduction projects should consider the entire system, not just the motor.

There may be only small, incremental savings with the motor, for example, on a conveyor, but a more efficient gearbox may allow a smaller motor to be specified. Most plants use compressed air. Often, something like 15 percent to 20 percent of the air is lost to leaks. This loss could negate gains from a variable frequency drive and premium motor.

What is the most efficient motor? One that isn’t running. So, if there’s nothing on the conveyor, then turn it off. Most plants have three-phase electrical power, so why would anyone use a single-phase motor? The worst three-phase motor is more efficient than the best single-phase one.

Find ways to empower your employees. Decide on repair or replace strategies at the time of initial purchase. Place the written strategy where it can be easily found when the motor dies on third shift and the third-shift maintenance person must make a decision. Make sure he or she knows what the correct replacement strategy is.

Check out the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Industrial Technology, for best practices. The EnergyStar program has branched out from the sticker on a refrigerator to heavy industry.

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