Archive | June


6:31 pm
June 10, 2009
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Lubrication Checkup: Greasing Your Motors

“As a greaser for an auto part manufacturer, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of replaced fractional and low-horsepower motors I now have to grease. Most of the replacement ‘offshore’ motors all have grease nipples, but they don’t seem to last as long as the ones without nipples. Any suggestions for grease amount and schedule for these ‘greasable’ motors?”

This seems to be a common dilemma in light of more fractional and low-hp motors coming from offshore suppliers. The majority of these units are fitted with one or two grease nipples to lubricate the motor’s bearings, yet, due to cost and physical motor size, relatively few have any form of lubricant drain positioned opposite the nipple(s).

Normally found in motors of 25 hp and higher—depending on bearing design and set up-most larger motors have drain relief ports located 180˚ opposite the greasing point. When greasing the motor, the lubricator is required to unscrew the relief drain port dust cap prior to lubricating the bearing. If the bearing is over-lubricated—as it most often is—the grease is allowed to benignly drain through the unsealed bearing and out the drain port. The lubricator then cleans the port and screws the dust cap back in place.

If the dust cap is in place when the bearing is lubricated—or no drain relief port exists—over-lubrication causes excess grease to bypass directly into the motor’s windings. This will start to hydraulically retard the motor, causing it to overheat and fail prematurely. Meanwhile, the motor will require a huge amount of additional electrical energy to overcome the fluid friction of the surplus grease.

Lubrication delivery system manufacturers who have been applying lubricants successfully since the 1920s have always subscribed to the unwritten rule NOT to lubricate motors of 50 hp or less that have sealed bearings. Because a rolling element bearing only requires 40% of its cavity to be filled with grease, “run-to-fail” strategies have proven more effective than “kill-it-with-kindness” over-greasing. With small and fractional hp motors, a very small amount of over-greasing can quickly become problematic. A better approach would be to replace the grease nipple with a plug and run-to-fail. MT

Have lubrication questions of your own? Contact Dr. Lube, aka Ken Bannister, who specializes in helping companies throughout industry implement practical and successful lubrication management programs. The noted author of the best-selling book Lubrication for Industry and of the 28th edition Machinery’s Handbook section on Lubrication, he also is a contributing editor to Maintenance Technology and Lubrication Management & Technology magazines. E-mail:

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6:00 am
June 1, 2009
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Solution Spotlight: Unitized Split Seals Will Simplify Your Life

A cost-effective alernative to equipment teardown

According to Chesterton, its patent-pending 33K split seal is not only quick to install and reliable, it has proven to outperform conventional lip seals.  Its innovative split technology prevents penetration of external contaminants from entering the housing to provide excellent service in bearing and gearbox applications, among others.


The 33K is manufactured using Chesterton’s unique machining process that eliminates the need for tooling costs associated with new sizes. The seal can be installed in either direction, thus allowing the end user to locate sealer rings away from a previously damaged shaft. Based on the product’s unitized assembly, time required for installation can be reduced from hours to minutes.

Materials that outperform conventional oil lip seals
The 33K incorporates two different high-performance types of materials:

  • The unitized housing is made from abrasion-resistant thermoset polyurethane that energizes and provides easy mounting to the equipment.
  • The sealing interface is made from high-performance, filled PTFE material developed specifically for sealing applications.

Fast, easy and reliable

  • Split design eliminates the need for and associated cost of equipment disassembly.
  • No equipment modifications are necessary. All seals are made to order. MT


A.W. Chesterton Company
Groveland, MA

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6:00 am
June 1, 2009
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Boosting Your Bottom Line: Your Motor Inventory: A Cost-Effective Resource

motor-decisions-matterNow more than ever, many facility managers are feeling the pressure to reduce costs. Motor management is perhaps one of the easiest ways to start—and it can even save you money and help improve productivity.

Motor management is a set of ongoing policies and practices based on life cycle costing and proactive planning. Many facilities underestimate the size of their motor fleet and fail to keep track of maintenance and repair histories. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the FiveTwelve Group research firm revealed that 42% of the industrial and commercial facility managers surveyed did not know how many motors were in their facility, and 77% did not know how much their facility spent on energy.* Without this information, it’s difficult to make cost-effective repair/replace decisions quickly and consistently, especially when motors fail unexpectedly. Knowing what you have can also prevent you from purchasing equipment that you don’t need.

Getting Started
Building a motor management plan begins with clearly identifying what needs to be managed. This process is as simple as conducting a survey to create an inventory of motors, both those that are in service and spares. It may be easier to start with a subset of motors, such as the largest, most critical or those that fail most frequently. Your local service center can assist you with developing an approach to survey and track your motors. Your local utility may offer technical or financial assistance or equipment rebates to help defray the costs of new purchases or upgrade older, less efficient equipment. The following resources provide an overview of the basics:

The Motor Planning Kit, developed by the Motor Decisions MatterSM (MDM) Campaign, is a resource of strategies, tools and resources for developing a comprehensive Motor Management Plan. MDM is sponsored by utility efficiency programs, motor manufacturers, and motor sales and service centers. These organizations have a demonstrated expertise in the products and services involved in motor management: electricity use, high efficiency motors (NEMA Premium®) and best practice motor repair. They share a common goal to improve the way industrial motor repair/replace decisions are made.

The Motor Survey How-To Guide includes step-by-step instructions for conducting a motor survey and developing a motor management plan. The guide was developed by Advanced Energy, a nonprofit technology consultant (and MDM Sponsor) that specializes in industrial process technologies, motors and drives testing and applied building.

MotorMaster, made available by the U.S. Department of Energy Industrial Technologies Program, is an interactive software used to create a detailed motor inventory, analyze energy savings and estimate motor life cycle costs. It can accommodate the motor needs of both small and large companies, and contains information for more than 20,000 motors.

An up-to-date motor inventory gives facility managers basic, but important, data about their motor fleet: what, where and how many. Knowing what motors you have lets you make cost-effective decisions that keep your facility running—and help you remain calm in a crisis. MT


The Motor Decisions Matter campaign is managed by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, a North American nonprofit organization that promotes energy-saving products, equipment and technologies. For further information about MDM, contact Kellem Emanuele at or (617) 589-3949, x225.

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