Your compressor motor is the delicate heart of your compressed air system. You wouldn't neglect heart health as a person, would you? Give your motor the same care and maintenance. While motors differ greatly in their needs according to their age, use, components, and previous maintenance history, all motors have a need for general, basic maintenance practices. Follow this short checklist to keep your compressor motor running smoothly.
- Proper lubrication. Premature motor failure can occur with both too much and too little lubrication. Check the manufacturer's specifications. When adding new grease, let the motor run for an hour without the drain plug to purge excess grease from the motor without damaging windings and other parts.
- Keep passageways free of debris. Up 80-90% of the electrical energy used by a compressed air distribution system and its motor is converted to heat. All air passages, piping, and cooling fins should be clean and free of debris, or that heat cannot entirely dissipate, which could spell low inefficiency and even danger.
- If applicable: adjust V-belts on electric motors. Tension adjustments are needed about every 400 hours of operation, as regular use can stretch and cause wear on belts. If the belt is too tight, it causes excess wear on bearings; too loose and you lose energy efficiency. Make sure whoever is adjusting the belt knows its sweet spot for tension.
- Record when inspections and maintenance were completed. Record everything! Not only is this best practice to look good for third-party inspections and keeping up with industry standards, it allows you to rest easy knowing you're not wasting time on an inspection or repair someone just completed the day before. Accurate records save you time, money, and headaches.
- Make time for quick check-ins between routine cleanings and maintenance. Even if you follow best practices for the time between equipment inspections and maintenance, things can go wrong between check-ups. Take a tiny bit of time periodically to do a quick once-over of your equipment and catch any issues early.
It may seem difficult keeping such a close eye on maintenance when you have bigger business operations to worry about. Create a routine of following a basic checklist like this and eventually it will simply become a habit. Whether it's you, all employees, or a designated group or individual, you won't regret being proactive with inspecting and sprucing up your motor.