Reviewing Electric Motor Reliability Research

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What did the studies really say—then and now?

BY HOWARD PENROSE, Ph.D., CMRP

One of the most frequently quoted studies related to electric motor reliability is a 1983 Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) project, entitled “Assessment of the Reliability of Motors in Utility Applications: IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion”. It has been used to support a variety of programs, equipment, and other electric motor strategies.

In fact, this author has cited other papers that referenced the study over many years and had been searching for a copy of the original in order to provide additional detail. Recently, the paper that covers the details of the study has been made available through the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) and a review has brought some statements attributed to the study into question.

The good news is that this was not the only study on electrical and electric machine reliability. Studies had been performed by several groups, including an IEEE Power Engineering Society group from 1962 all the way through 1995 and then supported by other industry groups as recently as 2010.

What is particularly interesting about these studies is that they focus on different industries such as utilities, petrochemical, general industry and commercial buildings, yet have very similar results. While each study looked deeper into the issues, and the results were different than represented by many papers and books, the actual findings were much more interesting and far more supportive of the programs and strategies presented in those cases.

In the 2013 Motor Review in Electrical Source Magazine, this feature will cover what these studies really represent in relation to larger machines, which was the primary purpose of many of the papers. This includes the identification of the reliability issues that were identified and the recommended strategies with supporting information. While the full breadth of the related studies is far more than we can cover in this feature, the information that will be discussed will have a significant impact on how you look at your motor system.

Read the full article in our digital magazine

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