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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Hixson

A Difficult Decision: Repair or Replace

There’s a harsh reality when it comes to electric motors and any other piece of equipment. It’s not a matter of whether it will fail, it’s when. When electric motors fail, it’s never a good time. Though it becomes a time when there are so many things to consider. From how it can disrupt the flow of production, resulting in delays and lost revenue in the case of some of our customers as much as $17,000 a minute.

It could be a new potential safety hazard for workers. This can lead to accidents and injuries, which can be costly for the company in terms of both financial expenses and potential legal liabilities. Or even damage a company's reputation with customers. This can be especially damaging for companies that rely on the timely delivery of goods or services. With all those factors or more a whole new question comes to mind.

Do I get this repaired or do I replace the motor?

The decision to repair or replace an industrial electric motor can be difficult. There are several factors to consider for a decision like this. Here are some key points to consider when making this decision:

1. Cost:

Repairing an industrial electric motor can often be more cost-effective than replacing it. However given the rising cost of raw materials like steel, a commodity that has increased more than 100% since 2016, resulting in motor costs up to 40% higher than 2020 prices. However, this is not always the case. It's important to carefully evaluate the cost of the repair compared to the cost of a new motor. In some cases, a new motor may be more cost-effective in the long run, especially if it is more energy-efficient or has a longer lifespan.

2. Efficiency:

Something to consider is that the cost of running an electric motor will greatly outweigh the purchase price over its lifetime. According to the Department of Energy, even at the relatively low energy rate of $0.04/kWh, a typical 20-horsepower (hp) continuously running motor uses almost $6,000 worth of electricity annually, about six times its initial purchase price. A newer industrial electric motor may be more efficient than an older one, it’s as simple as that. This is especially important if the motor is in use for long periods of time, as the added efficiency can result in significant cost savings.

3. Performance:

In some cases, an older motor may not be able to handle the workload it was originally designed for. If this is the case, repairing the motor may not be a viable option. In these instances, replacing the motor with a newer, more powerful model may be the best decision.

4. Availability of parts:

If the industrial electric motor is no longer being manufactured, it may be difficult or impossible to find the parts needed for a repair. In these cases, replacing the motor may be the only option.

5. Availability of the motor:

At times motors are manufactured for hyper-specific purposes. By at times a few as just one company. Worst of all over time some of these specialized motor manufacturers are no longer producing that motor designed for your equipment if the even still operate. Sometimes making repair your best option

6. Speed of repair:

While at times the most immediately cost-effective solution to your motor worries is repair, how available is your current service partner to provide immediate service? Depending on the motor you bring in service numerous factors can come into play that contributes to long turnaround times. Such as the availability of parts, the size of your motor, technician availability, and the nature of your motor’s failure. As job shops all over the country are becoming inundated with the length of their repair que the time it takes for service can be far too long. Meaning far too long where your facility isn’t producing at full capacity. Making the occasional higher initial cost of purchasing a new motor far less than the lost revenue of having a down machine.

Ultimately, the decision to repair or replace an industrial electric motor will depend on a variety of factors. It's important to carefully evaluate the cost, efficiency, performance, and availability of parts before making a decision. By taking the time to carefully consider these factors, you can ensure that your industrial electric motor is running at its best and providing maximum value for your business.

When that decision does have to happen, it’s important to have the right service partner in your corner. One that provides you with as much information as possible to know if repairing or replacing your motor is the right decision. A service partner that has a wide network to replace your equipment and a facility with the bandwidth to service your motors when the need arises.


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