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What Types of Problems Can Be Detected Using Ultrasonic Motor Testing?


Ultrasonic motor testing (AKA – motor vibration analysis) is an excellent “nondestructive” means of finding possible problems with the operation of your electric motor before it becomes a serious problem.

What is a nondestructive testing? It is a group of testing methods that evaluate the properties of a particular object without causing any damage. A lot of nondestructive tests can be performed while the unit is still in operation.

Ultrasonic motor testing equipment in Knoxville, TN

What Problems Can Motor Vibration Analysis Detect?

Ultrasonic testing uses a lightweight ultrasonic translator to listen for possible problems in the function of your motor. Here are a few of the conditions that an ultrasonic translator can detect:

Poorly Lubricated Bearings – Bearings that are under lubricated cause friction, which can be detected even at low levels using an ultrasonic test–even those where the friction is not generating enough heat to make it noticeable using infrared detection. Because of this, a motor vibration analysis is considered to be the best way to detect the possible causes of bearing failure.

Partial Discharge – Also known as a “corona,” this is an electrical issue where a high voltage electrical field ionizes the air around a conductor this causes an electric discharge that can damage the motor if it is not addressed properly.

Partial Arching – This is also known as “tracking.” This is typically a high-frequency arcing that partially bridges the insulation between multiple conductors or the wall of the motor. This can be the result of poor winding insulation, or contamination within the motor itself. Tracking degrades the winding insulation which makes the problem worse over time, and may eventually result in a need to rewind the motor completely.

Why Motor Vibration Analysis Works Well in Electric Motors

A motor vibration analysis is one of the best predictive maintenance tests an electric motor shop can provide for the following reasons:

  • It can pinpoint the specific source of a problem, and can often narrow it down to specific component or connection.
  • It can be used while the equipment is operating.
  • It works even in very loud environments
  • It can identify the type of problem you are dealing with through the sonic signature of the issue.

For all of these reasons–and many more–a motor vibration analysis needs to be an integral part of your electric motor predictive maintenance program. No other test is better at seeing problems as they emerge and allows them to be dealt with before they result in an expensive repair or replacement of an electric motor.

Tekwell Services Provides Comprehensive Electric Motor Vibration Analysis Services

Our service technicians have years–some even have decades–of experience conducting ultrasonic motor tests and interpreting the results. If you suspect there might be a problem with one of your industrial electric motors, give us a call (toll-free) at 1-888-984-4668 or fill out our quick solution form to talk to an electric motor vibration analysis expert today.