AEMT - Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades

23 October 2019
A new standard of repair for motors.
Sustainability can officially play a part in the remanufacture of rotating equipment. Karl Metcalfe of the AEMT (Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades) outlines the potential impact and benefits of the international repair, overhaul and reclamation of rotating equipment standard IEC 60034-23:2019.

Until now environmental considerations for rotating equipment have mainly focussed on new equipment and energy efficiency; however, the full lifecycle of an existing device, including material consumption is now being considered. The new international standard IEC 60034-23 which was published in Spring 2019, is the first to include the requirements of the circular economy, which aims to reduce the consumption of resources.

Setting the standard for sustainability

The new standard establishes the benchmarks for repairing rotating equipment, maintaining efficiency levels, high standards of quality control and improving efficiency in associated pieces of equipment. The standard does not supersede those pertaining to specialist equipment, such as ATEX, nuclear, aviation, hydrogen cooled and traction, but it does include reference to them and several other standards.

By complying with the new standard, maintenance and repair facilities can prove their quality of workmanship and performance, as well as promoting their commitment to reducing waste and recycling resources. By following the international guidelines, the repaired equipment can be badged with an indicative sustainability statement.

The long-term aim of the standard is to maintain or improve the efficiency of equipment. It will allow upgrades to be implemented, if they are allowed by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). This means that a repairer needs to be well equipped, with good quality control procedures and staffed by suitably qualified employees capable of delivering high quality repairs.

The circular economy

This brings us back to the circular economy, which aims to minimise waste through reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products. The repair of electrical machines fits-in exactly to this concept and by keeping equipment operational and energy efficient, we are minimising the use of additional resources.

For some larger - older machines, it may be possible to upgrade their efficiency at the same time as completing a repair. Using modern materials in the rewind and upgrading to a higher-grade insulation e.g. grade B to F, which is much thinner than the legacy component, the copper content of the windings can be increased, making it more efficient by reducing the electrical losses and extending the longevity of the motor.

At the same time, any materials that are removed during the repair process, such as old windings and bearings, can also be recycled, which again minimises the net increase in material consumption.

Not every motor, drive or gearbox can be economically repaired, and new units do offer increasingly high efficiency levels alongside advanced control and monitoring options. Best practice for an accurate efficiency and sustainability analysis however should consider both the repair and the replacement options, which is where the new standard will help to provide a balance of information in order to make the best environmental decision.

 
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