Electric motors are essential to productivity for many industries — without them, production would simply stop. If your business operations rely upon reliable electric motor operation, you know it’s not enough for your motors to just keep turning — they also need to display proper balance and alignment to avoid excessive vibration that can cause serious machine damage or shorten motor life.
If an electric motor isn’t properly balanced, the resulting system failures can lead to lengthy downtime and huge maintenance or replacement costs.
The process of dynamic balancing helps repair and improve the function of electric motors, by allowing engineers to calibrate their rotating equipment before an imbalance causes major problems. Here’s how dynamic balancing can help you maintain your electric motors:
The Difference Between Static and Dynamic Balancing
All electric motors rotate, and without proper balance, they’re all capable of producing excessive vibration that wastes energy, damages components, and reduces efficiency. To maximize the lifespan of electric motors — and repair potentially catastrophic issues — engineers should balance the machinery as much as possible; reducing noise, vibration, and risk.
One of the simplest balancing methods is static balancing — this process involves using minimal friction bearings to permit the machinery to settle, with its heaviest point naturally towards the bottom. From there, you can either remove material from the lower point, or add it to the top point, to improve balance. While static balancing is simple to employ, it can lead to errors and false corrections.
Dynamic balancing has the same goal as static balancing, but uses sensors attached to the bearing pedestals of the balancing machinery. This detailed process allows for the identification of imbalances on two separate planes, so an in depth correction can take place.
Correcting Rotor Imbalance with Dynamic Balancing
Problems with balance in electric motors can link to various issues — from fabrication to installation, or even just the age of the machine. At a basic level, unbalance occurs when the center of gravity in a motor is out of alignment with the rotation center. A weight must be attached to the rotating object to correct the alignment issue.
Since large-scale electric motors may require on-site maintenance, there are a number of dynamic balancing tools and machines available that engineers can use to test the angle and level of the imbalance. Using dynamic sensors to conduct maintenance in the motor’s natural operating environment allows engineers to fully evaluate the motor’s vibration performance — and correct uneven weight distribution or alignments immediately.
By allowing engineers to spin an object at near-normal rotational speeds — and assess the problems that register on the sensors — dynamic balancing replicates real-world performance, and ensures that the object will perform as it should when operated next.
Reaping the Benefits of Dynamic Balancing
The use of displacement sensors, digital measurements, and accelerometers in a dynamic balancing machine enable you to get a comprehensive analysis of your electric motor. Once you’ve analyzed and addressed issues through dynamic balancing, your motor’s balance should be fully restored. Not only have you corrected the root problem, achieving a well-balanced and functioning motor; but you’ll also find other benefits of dynamic balancing, including:
- Improved productivity — Thanks to an increase in uptime and mechanical performance, your operations are more productive.
- Longer lifespan for the motor — Correcting imbalance extends bearing life by reducing wear and tear. It also removes structural stresses that might cause the machine to malfunction.
- Lower operating costs — With less wasted energy, fewer periods of downtime, and reduced need for maintenance, your maintenance and repair costs will decrease.
- Improved operator safety — Exposure to high levels of vibration and noise caused by imbalance can affect the efficiency of the operator. Correcting the balance issue leads to a safer work environment. And, because machine failure is less likely to occur in a balanced motor, personal safety is further increased.
Regaining Your Balance
It would be ideal to remove all causes of vibration from a motor to ensure constant, smooth running. But correcting balance issues only corrects a small portion of the frequency spectrum of excessive vibration. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to remove all vibration, but you can reduce imbalance in the systems to a level that won’t have an adverse effect on your machines. With dynamic balancing, you can correct non-uniform weight distribution in the rotating pieces that might damage productivity, equipment, and operator safety — and your production will benefit from electric motors that perform better, last longer, and deliver greater results.