Electrical Apparatus June 2014

Electrical Apparatus June 2014

This is a summary of the Electrical Apparatus June 2014 featured technical article,  by Richard L. Nailen, P.E.    

Application engineering is the art of selecting the right motor to perform a designated task. This means much more than choice of output power rating, enclosure, efficiency, or torque characteristics. It also involves understanding how the motor will be installed, operated, and maintained.

Reaching this understanding demands clear and timely two-way communication between motor user and motor manufacturer. Each must recognize what is or is not normal practice dictated by industry standards; what features are standard only for a specific manufacturer; and the effect on other motor characteristics when some nonstandard feature is specified.

Technical issues are too often improperly dealt with because the persons involved are not sufficiently familiar with motor standards, the interrelation between various motor performance characteristics, and the feasibility of what may seem like obvious design or construction modifications. They must know what questions to ask and avoid making unsupported assumptions.

Experienced application engineers, even entire departments, have retired or otherwise left the profession. In the United States, several major motor manufacturers have gone out of existence. Trained largely in electronics or computerized processes, recent graduates entering the field tend to lack direct familiarity with motors and other industrial machinery.

On the user side, downsizing of operating and maintenance departments plus retirement of older employees has resulted in a similar situation. Many examples could be given of the consequent misunderstandings leading to motor misuse and premature failure.

Fewer engineers are being given the opportunity to attend technical conferences and take part in technical society activities. Those presenting papers at such meetings often possess limited experience themselves. Their audiences receive incomplete or even incorrect information.

All these trends decrease the likelihood of a fully satisfactory motor application.

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