Electromechanical services are essential for minimizing operating costs of rotating equipment

Involving a maintenance partner in more routine tasks and using their expertise can minimize downtime and reduce overall maintenance costs in the longer term.

By Jaime Valdez August 18, 2017

Maintaining the reliability of generators and large motors is a skilled task and one that is central to the productivity of many industries. Most large businesses using this specialist equipment have to choose between engaging a number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or selecting an independent service provider (ISP). The outcome of this decision can affect running costs as well as the efficiency and productivity of the company.

Generators and large motors form the heart of many industrial operations; creating energy and using it to drive processes that fulfill the needs of the day. Keeping all of this equipment operational and efficient requires a team that can tailor a comprehensive maintenance solution to suit each set of circumstances. Every application is different but each one will require an approach that promotes preventative maintenance and minimizes reactive repairs.

Carrying out regular, non-invasive inspections and tests helps to build a picture of plant performance and to identify any anomalies that might indicate a threat to continued performance. Conducting and interpreting these tests calls for considerable expertise, but resolving potential issues in a tight time frame requires extensive technical facilities and experienced engineers.

Defining successful maintenance

Any service provider needs to have a close relationship with the plant operator; that promotes good communication and prompt action when required. In the ideal world, preventative maintenance techniques, such as vibration monitoring and thermal imagery, would predict all potential issues and allow them to be rectified during a planned maintenance period. This is the ultimate goal, along with achieving zero lost time due to plant reliability.

A maintenance provider is only really tested when an unexpected failure requires immediate attention. The pressure to deliver a robust repair is considerable when every day of lost production is being counted by the customer. Being able to call on specialist, in-house facilities such as high voltage coil manufacturing, at-speed balancing and expert field service teams is certainly an advantage.

Beyond the demands of immediate repair, there are often opportunities to benefit from improvements in design and efficiency during planned maintenance. Involving a highly skilled design engineer during this process will typically yield long-lasting rewards. Implementing advances in technology and materials can make significant improvements in the durability and performance of rotating equipment.

Independent maintenance providers should be able to offer plant operators a complete, turnkey solution for all of the rotating equipment on site, irrespective of the manufacturer. 

Independent maintenance specialists have the flexibility to respond quickly when a customer has a significant issue that needs to be resolved fast. Involving a maintenance partner in more routine tasks and using their expertise can minimize downtime and reduce overall maintenance costs in the longer term.

Jaime Valdez, vice president of sales at electro mechanical services, Sulzer. Edited by Carly Marchal, content specialist, CFE Media, cmarchal@cfemedia.com