Takeaways from the 2021 DoE Motor System Market Assessment (Part 2)

In our first look at the 2021 MSMA, we saw that there are billions of dollars in potential energy savings that could be realized by use of variable frequency drives.  In this installment, we'll look at how businesses deal with motor system failure.

If there was ever any doubt, the report confirms that unplanned downtime due to system failure is a fact of life.  Industrial facilities lost 47 hours per year on average.  Commercial facilities lost three hours.  Since a factory might value uptime at $10,000 per hour, 47 hours is a significant expense.

Every business needs a plan to deal with this eventuality. But according to the MSMA, surprisingly few do.  Or if they do, the survey respondents didn't know it.  43% of industrial, and 78% of commercial, facilities did not know of a repair/replace policy.  (These responses are labeled "UTC" in the pie charts.)

Of those facilities with repair/replace policies, most are short-sighted.  The most common policies are to choose the replacements that are least costly or can be gotten the quickest.  Only 8% of industrial facilities, and less than 1% of commercial, consider the lifetime cost of the replacement.

The purchase price of a motor is less than 5% of its total lifetime cost.  The vast majority of the cost is for electricity.  So looking at sticker price instead of lifetime cost for energy is an expensive policy.  More-expensive premium efficiency motors often have payback periods ranging from months to a few years...  And motors often last for decades!

That is not to mention the additional savings enabled by VFD-control, in variable load applications.  VFDs often save up to 30% when running fans and pumps.  Using a drive increases the purchase price, but the energy savings quickly pay for themselves...  Provided, of course, that the motor bearings are protected from the drive by an AEGIS Ring.

In summary, repair/replace plans are critical to help businesses recover quickly in the event of unplanned downtime due to motor system failure.  Too many businesses either do not have one, or their staff is unaware of it.  Given this, developing a long-sighted repair/replace plan is a great way to save money in the future and get a leg up on the competition, who likely just knee-jerk purchase the cheapest or quickest option.  For motors on drives, electrical bearing protection like an AEGIS Shaft Grounding Ring helps protect future savings from the cost of downtime and motor repair/replacement.

As an added layer of protection, AEGIS Rings come with a 2-year extended warranty against bearing fluting damage. No other form of protection against VFD-caused bearing damage offers a warranty like this.

To learn more about AEGIS shaft grounding and best practices for electrical bearing protection, sign up for a training. We offer monthly live training webinars, and - pandemic restrictions permitting - we can also visit your facility to review your exact application.