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Advances in low voltage motor practices, Unearthing electric motor potential in mining

Weak commodity prices and tighter financing is putting the mining and minerals sector under pressure. Embracing technology is seen as the way forward. It is important, however, not to overlook established technology, especially the humble electric motor. Today’s motor has much more to offer the industry and may have the answers to many of its challenges.


If you were asked to design the perfect electric motor for today’ s mining and minerals sector, what would it look like? The motor technology, it could be argued, is well established. The motor must meet global mining standards, yet be flexible for adaptation to local legislation; robust to meet the aggressive nature of the environment; and highly reliable, never being the component in the drive train responsible for unplanned downtime.

Yet that is only half the story. It is essential that the pr oduct has comprehensive life cycle services that help define the true cost of ownership of that motor. In short it must provide maximum up-time with minimal maintenance.

What is harder to engineer is ensuring that both these aspects - the products and the services - address the key challenges that the industry faces.

These challenges vary, depending on your role in mining. But whether you are in management, maintenance or an OEM, the top three challenges upon which everyone is agreed is the need to maximize productivity, improve performance and operational efficiency and enhance safety, all of which will help tackle a fourth challenge - profitability.

Although there are no easy solutions, it is becoming increasingly apparent that technology will play a growing role in the mine of the future. In fact, mining is among the least penetrated industrial sectors for automation and yet this is key to improving safety, product quality and cost competitiveness. 

Read more from following points in the complete article:
  • Maximizing productivity
  • Improving performance and operational efficiency
  • Enhancing safety
  • Tackling the challenges
  • Changing the challenges
  • Certification
  • Technical competence
  • Packages
  • Product history
  • Life cycle services

The key to integrating good motor design with life cycle services is to update or devise a motor management policy. While this document gives a complete overview of the motor installed base, its main purpose is to give detailed information about specification, installation and repair scenarios. A motor management policy helps reduce costs, simplify the repair/ replace decision, reduces down time, make decisions before a motor fails, selects the right motor when replacement is the decision and outlines a procedure for auditing repair shops.

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Reasons why motors fail:

  • Bearing failures
    Excessive motor temperatures
    Contamination due to interior bearing seals
    Lubrication related issues
    Vibration and shock loading
  • Winding failures
    Poor or ineffective cooling design
    Excessive number of starts
  • Corrosion
    Inadequate materials used for the application
    Insufficient sealing system design
  • External damage
    Fan cover material not suitable
    Fittings and connections not rugged enough
    Terminal box design not suitable for the application

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