Electric motors are a vital part of  plant operations. If they fail, then so can processes within the operation. If this happens then both time and revenue can be lost.

During periods of site inactivity or when stored as a spare, correctly storing an electric motor is critical to keep the motor well-protected and in good working order. Without proper storage, the lifespan of the electric motor can decrease significantly. Consider these proper storage tips for electric motors to extend equipment life span.

How long will it be stored?

The way a motor should be stored depends on the length of time it will be inactive. If the motor is being stored for less than a month, then protecting it from weather damage — and maintaining the motor’s winding temperature — is a top concern. It should be stored 5 to 10°C above room temperature. When storing motors for longer periods, consider both the weather and the temperature. To ensure motor protection, maintenance work will also be needed.

Where will it be stored?

When it is possible, electric motors should be stored indoors to minimize weather damage. Clean, dry and heated locations are usually the best storage places. It is not always possible to store electric motor indoors, particularly for extended periods. If this is the case, use a loose tarpaulin to properly cover the entire motor. To help minimize condensation and aid in air circulation, the tarpaulin should not be too tight.

Consider vibration sources

Consider ambient vibration. Placing the electric motor near heavy construction equipment, production floors, busy roads or rail lines can expose the motor to ambient vibration. This, over time, can damage the internal bearings, even when the exposure to ambient vibration is low.

If locking the motor away in a suitable location is not possible, then lock the shaft of the motor to
prevent damage.

Minimize pest impact

When stored outside, pests like insects, rodents and birds can enter the motor and damage the winding insulation or block drain openings and ventilation. Where possible, take precautions to minimize the impact of pests and the negative effects they can have on electric motors.

Adjust insulation resistance

Check to establish whether the motor’s insulation resistance is below a standard temperature; If it is, then correct it before it is stored to prevent further problems.

Oil-lubricated bearings

Even when out of operation, oil should be used to avoid corrosion and to make sure the motor is well-lubricated. The motor oil should be removed before you move the motor to prevent an oil spill, which could contaminate windings and can cause a suction effect on the oil reservoir.

The motor’s reservoir should be filled with a compatible oil, rust, and corrosion inhibitor. By covering the bearings completely, the oil should be filled to a sufficient level that does not overflow the stand tube or labyrinth seal. Once the motor has been removed from storage, then the oil should be drained and replaced.

Grease-lubricated bearings

If the electric motor contains grease-lubricated bearings, the grease fitting will need to be cleaned. To do this, remove the drain plug and use a compatible grease before storing it for an extended period. Once it is lubricated, let the motor run for 30 minutes without the drain plug so that old or excess grease is purged from the grease chamber.

Andrew Mills is a copywriter at Mediaworks. He has a degree
in English literature from Northumbria University.

Houghton International delivers metalworking fluids and services for the automotive, aerospace, metals, mining, machinery, offshore and beverage industries. Headquartered in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the company operates research, manufacturing and office locations in 33 countries around the world delivering solutions to increase productivity, reduce operating costs and improve product quality for customers.

Andrew Mills is a copywriter at Mediaworks. He has a degree in English literature from Northumbria University.

Houghton International specializes in the repair, maintenance and life extension of rotating electrical assets. Servicing a broad range of sectors, customers benefit from more than 30 years of multi-industry experience in electro mechanical engineering and coil manufacture.

Houghton International