Friday, 12 August 2016


Kevin Brown, managing director of Quantum Controls, writes: No-one wants to think about a motor breaking down, but when it does you have two choices: repair it or replace it with a new one.

This might sound like a simple choice but there are many factors to consider. Thankfully, there are three steps you can take to help you make the right decision.


Firstly, consider the motor’s running hours. If a motor runs for fewer than 2,000 hours per year then the energy savings gained from a high efficiency motor are unlikely to justify its purchase cost. These motors are ideal candidates for a high quality repair and rewind. However, if a motor runs for more than 2,000 hours per year, you need to weigh up the cost of repairing the motor with the cost of replacing it with a new one.

Secondly, compare the cost of repair versus the cost of replacement. When repair costs are 60 percent or more of the cost of replacement, replacing the motor could be the best option. However, where repair costs are below 60 percent of replacement costs, the total overall running costs should be calculated and compared for both replacement AND repair options. Additionally, if the motor is a special design for which it is difficult to source a high efficiency replacement, then repairing the existing motor may be more practical.

Last but certainly not least, you need to work out the motor’s total overall running costs. This can be done using ABB’s Total Cost of Ownership calculation. This looks at the purchase cost, the cost of running (the energy consumed over its lifetime) and the cost of not running (annual maintenance and repair costs). A new motor will have a higher purchase price, but lower running costs due to the higher efficiency modern motor designs typically bring. It will also have a lower cost of not running as it will be more reliable.

For an existing motor, we substitute the repair costs for the purchase price, and evaluate the running costs, taking into account the loss of efficiency a rewind brings. The cost of not running will also be higher as the older the motor, the higher the maintenance costs. Whichever works out cheaper is the best option in the long run for you.

Of course, every motor and every situation is different, but hopefully this guide will help you to make the right decision for your business.  If you’re interested in hearing more, please take a look at the video I created for ABB’s Ask the Experts series:




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