One of the most common causes of premature three-phase electric motor failure is unbalanced voltage.
When the line voltage between each of the three phases varies by more than 1%, it causes excessive heating of the motor. Excess heat causes insulation failure. Motor breakdowns result in loss of production and high maintenance costs.
Voltage unbalance causes even greater current unbalance that leads to torque pulsations and vibration. Mechanical drive equipment connected to the motor is subjected to these stresses. Clutch or gear drive failures can be the result of a voltage imbalance at the motor leads.
Equipment breakdowns are the visible problems. The invisible waste of electrical power due to voltage imbalance adds to the cost of operations. Just one motor, with a 3% voltage unbalance, can waste several hundreds of dollars a year on the electric bill. All the power that is wasted goes into excess motor heating.
Learn more about voltage imbalance and what to do about it at DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
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