Industry, Manufacturing

Proper Maintenance of Compressor Motors


In order to keep compressors operating at peak performance, maintenance of its specific components is key. Not to mention, proper maintenance keeps parts running safely and reliably, helping to reduce operating costs and improve efficiency.

Here are the two most important aspects of motor maintenance:

  1. Lubrication. Too much lubrication can be just as harmful as too little lubrication, which can both cause premature motor failure. A motor should be lubricated according to the manufacturer’s specification and depending on annual hours of operation and motor speed. On a motor with bearing grease fittings, the first step is to clean the grease fitting and remove the drain plug. High quality new grease should be added, and the motor should run for about an hour before the drain plug is replaced. This process allows access grease to be purged from the motor without dropping on the windings and damaging them.
  1. Cleaning. Motors need to dissipate heat. Therefore, it’s important to keep all air passages clean and free of obstruction. For an enclosed motor (TEFC), it is vital that cooling fins are kept free of debris. Poor motor cooling can increase motor temperature and winding resistance, which shortens motor life and increases energy consumption.

Electric motors using V-belts also require periodic maintenance to ensure that the tension is correct. Tight belts can lead to excessive bearing wear, and loose belts can slip on the pulleys, resulting in wasted energy. Under normal operation, belts stretch and wear, causing them to need adjustment. As a good rule of thumb, you should adjust belts after every 400 hours of operation.

Remember to use this checklist as a guide when you’re working on equipment maintenance, and record dates for when each step is completed so you can keep track of what’s been done. For additional tips on proper maintenance of your compressed air system, leave us a comment below, and we’ll have a product expert reach out with more information.