How To Pick an Industrial Motor

Hi, my name is Andy Lewis with Innovative-IDM and today I’m going to tell you about some guidelines whenever specing in or picking out an industrial motor. It’s really not as hard as you might think; it’s pretty simple to tell you the truth. But there are a couple of things that you need to pay attention to.

One, sizing:  whenever we’re talking about mounting size or voltage or current, we need to make sure that the holes are going to match up. You need to make sure that if it’s a 494T, that what you get is capable of handling that amount.

Second: current and voltage, as long as the application is not changing, need to be the same as the previous motor. If you’re unsure of that information, I would suggest that you take a look at the force requirements and other requirements from the application before you spec in that motor. First, take a look at torque curves; make sure that you’re providing enough information so that you can pick out the right size motor. Second is environment. Is it in a harsh environment? Are there pieces of rock, dust and dirt falling on it? Or is it inside? Or is it just for general purposes, running a fan 24/7 all day, every day.

Another idea is to take a look at whether it is inverter duty or general purpose. And when we say inverter duty, this type of motor is made for a high duty cycle environment; it is constantly speeding up and slowing down, all from an inverter or a VFD.

Next, there are a couple of different ways to control a motor. You can do it across the line, meaning that the motor is basically hooked up, three phased or one phased, however it is, to a circuit or a disconnect. Otherwise, you can use a VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) and use volts, hertz control, you can do open loop vector or you can do closed loop vector. The main thing you need to know here is that if you’re going to be dealing with closed looped vector for the most control out of that motor, you’re going to need an encoder or a tach for a DC motor to actually make that happen. Don’t overlook that; make sure that the mounting bracket on the backside is going to fit the encoder that you use.

Finally speed range. What speed are you working at? Do you need a gearbox? Do you need some type of rack and pinion? How do you plan on driving the end product? All questions that are very important, but if you do it correctly, it shouldn’t be that difficult.

For more information, go to and remember, Innovative-IDM is Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.

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