Assessing Electric Motor Reliability and Efficiency Through Electrical Pattern Monitoring

May 16, 2019
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Eastern Time


Electric motors are essential components of most laboratories, used for ventilation, heating, cooling, refrigeration, pumps, and other required infrastructure. Electric motors account for the vast majority of electrical energy consumption globally. The next closest category is lighting, at less than one half of the consumption of motors. It is difficult to overestimate the monetary and environmental impact of improving the efficiency of electric motors.

And yet, electric motors are often ignored in sustainability efforts. Given that electric motors account for a significant percent of operational cost in many facilities, it is surprising that motorsí energy consumption is rarely monitored. Though motor failures tend to result in high-cost emergency repair, as well as inconvenience and discomfort to occupants, electric motors are almost always operated blindly until failure. Does this make sense in the modern high technology age?

Comprehensive monitoring of an electric motorís power supply quality and energy consumption patterns reveals a surprisingly rich source of diagnostic information. This presentation will show how detailed continuous power monitoring can be used to assess the reliability and efficiency of electric motor-driven systems in near real time. Mark Vinson will present a detailed case study from in-service industrial motors, and discuss the impact of various power-related factors, including:

  • Voltage range, balance, and distortion
  • Current range, balance, and distortion
  • Power consumption and energy usage patterns
  • Internal electrical faults and power supply disturbance events
  • Start event measurements
  • Motor behavior deviates from the general population of motors
  • Motor behavior changes relative to its own baseline

Mark will reference NEMA Standard MG-1 for initial watchpoint generation and operating guidelines. Lessons learned from the industrial case study are generally applicable to other motor-driven systems such as those used in laboratories. A new concept called electrical pattern monitoring will be presented as a novel approach for reducing large volumes of electricity-related trend data into near action-ready information.

After viewing this presentation, attendees will:

  1. Gain a high-level understanding of how the quality of the power supply to electric motors impacts reliability and efficiency and review the causes of power supply quality problems;
  2. Gain a high-level understanding of how power demand and energy consumption patterns can reveal emerging problems and improvement opportunities associated with electric motor-driven system (ventilation, HVAC, refrigeration, pumps, etc.);
  3. Learn what to measure and become aware of data analysis alternatives; and
  4. Become aware of the electrical pattern monitoring concept.


Sign up to view the webinar recording.

Professional Development Hours and Continuing Education Credits

Webinar attendees and those who view the recording can earn one Professional Development Hour (PDH) for professional engineers or one Learning Unit (LU) from the American Institute of Architects for registered architects.

Contact I2SL after the webinar if you would like to receive a credit for your participation.

Instructor Biography

Mark Vinson, Professional Electrical Engineer, has 26 years of experience with American Electric Power on metering, monitoring, control, and field technology development. He also co-founded ADMMicro (now Gridpoint), conducting chain retail enterprise energy monitoring and management and is currently co-founding Centenelle, a startup developing electrical pattern monitoring technologies.


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