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Motor Troubleshooting Tips: What is the Appearance of Your Grease Telling You?

Mike Jeffries | June 30, 2016

motorgrease.jpegGrease is essential to the smooth running of many components within a motor. However, did you know that the state of the grease also gives an indication of the health of said motor? It is possible to run an in-depth analysis of the grease that you use to determine its structure, components and potential contaminants. However, sometimes all you need to do is cast a critical eye on it to know that something is wrong. 

Related Blog: What Can I do to Prevent My Motor From Needing Repair

Here is a rundown of six of the most common states of motor grease and the problems they indicate:

Clean Grease
Bearing failure is one of the most common problems associated with a motor breakdown. Caught early, depending on the cause, adding grease to the bearing can solve the problem and get you running again. However, to catch it early enough you need to be using vibration analysis or thermography. These pick up smaller changes in vibration frequency and temperature. If the grease around the bearing casing comes out clean, it is too late, and the bearing has already failed.

No Grease
If there is no grease in the grease fitting or pipes, then grease has not been added since installation. This needs to be rectified immediately. Lack of grease can cause problems such as grinding of parts and overheating, which will ultimately lead to the deterioration of your motor.

Excess Grease
Over greasing is just as dangerous as under greasing when it comes to your motor. If you have excess grease in the windings or any other part of your motor, you are at risk of collapsed seals and high operating temperatures. Where you are dealing with an electric motor, you can also experience energy failure. Avoiding motor repair requires a stringent maintenance program and careful calculations to determine the amount of lubrication needed. Machine Lubrication recommends the following equation for lubrication: G = 0.114 x D x B (G = grease in ounces, D = bore diameter in inches, and B = bearing width in inches).

Emulsified Appearance
Water mixed with grease severely diminishes its effectiveness as it changes the consistency of the grease, and potentially causes the breakdown of its components. Also significant is the fact that water is one element you do not want in an electric motor. It could interfere with the electronics. Where water is suspected, motor repair includes cleaning and re-greasing of the affected parts with non-contaminated grease. Keeping unused grease in properly sealed containers can prevent this.


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Topics: industrial motor repair, motor repair, motor failure, industrial motor, motor bearings

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