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Experience with variable-frequency drives and motor bearing reliability

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7 Author(s)
S. Bell ; Rockwell Autom. Reliance Electr. Co., Athens, GA, USA ; T. J. Cookson ; S. A. Cope ; R. A. Epperly
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Motor bearing life historically has been difficult to predict. Many variables influence bearing life in motors, including operating speed, mechanical fit, loading, lubrication, vibration, and environmental conditions. A large synthetic fibers producer discovered that motor shaft voltage induced by variable-frequency drives (VFDs) can add another significant variable to the formula. Based upon this experience, this paper presents theory, test data, and actual results quantifying electrical discharge machining damage to bearings initiated by VFDs. The paper presents several mitigation techniques and quantify their relative effectiveness and attributes. Other factors and interactions of the above-mentioned variables are also discussed in relation to the total goal of improving motor bearing life

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications  (Volume:37 ,  Issue: 5 )