Preseason preparation tips for irrigation motors
The increasingly warmer temperatures of spring are just a few short weeks away, something that provides a great opportunity for those in the agricultural industry to amp up their preseason preparation efforts. We recently sat down with our Agricultural Irrigation Market Manager, Jeff Goldberg, to ask for helpful tips on gearing up irrigation and pumping motors for the approaching growing season.
Tip No. 1: Ensure screens are clean. “Make sure that the screens are clean from the previous season; that they're not clogged with debris, bugs or anything else that could interfere with the motor’s operation.”
Tip No. 2: Check the oil level. “Make sure that the oil level is correct. A cloudy or milky appearance may indicate water or moisture infiltration from a condensing environment. Have an oil sample analyzed if needed. Oil should be changed yearly.”
Tip No. 3: Get your motor and pump checked at the same time. “Call your well driller, your installation contractor, or the people you work with to maintain your equipment to schedule a preventative maintenance visit. That's probably the best thing to do, because they're going to look at the entire pump system, not just the motor. They'll grease up what needs to be greased up and perform that sort of maintenance.”
Tip No. 4: Ensure that the motor is completely dry before you run it. “If you can power up your space heaters in the motor to make sure everything is dry before you turn your motors on, that would be beneficial. Odds are that the motor has been sitting out for several months in cold, damp weather. You really want to make sure that the motor is dry before you turn it on. You'd hate to blow a motor because there was moisture in there. Especially if it's under warranty, and then you are disappointed to find out that you didn't maintain the motor properly and it's not covered, since many warranties do not cover user errors. Perform an Electrical Megger check on the power system cables at the control system and confirm acceptable levels prior to energizing the motor. If the motor is equipped with a space heater, it should be energized continuously when motor is not in operation.”
Tip No. 5: Get necessary repairs done before the growing season starts. “What many pump manufacturers will say is to make sure you're getting the correct flow, that your system is being pressurized and to check all of that out before the season starts. It's a lot easier to get repairs done or replace failing equipment while you're still preparing your fields for the crop than having a failure mid-season, and then it becomes an emergency. By taking care of things ahead of time, you can save money by avoiding preventable and costly mid-season downtime, and you can also take advantage of any pre-season sales that motor manufacturers might offer.”
Tip No. 6: Don’t neglect maintenance of related parts like the wells. “During the off-season, farmers may wish to call their well-drilling contractors out to check the well, make sure everything is fine there and that if they have screens down at the bottom of the well, they're not getting clogged; make sure that the walls of the well haven't started to collapse and that they still have water. Things of that sort that are really a part of well maintenance, not so much motor maintenance. But when you're doing that, you're checking everything all at the same time, because everything in the system is interconnected. If your well doesn't have enough water in it, isn't able to supply the water that the system is capable of putting out or if your water level drops, sometimes you can begin to cavitate. If you get cavitation inside the pump, that will damage the pump. These are the type of things that you want to check in advance to help avoid problems.”
It may sound simple, but Jeff believes that preseason preparation for irrigation and pumping motors really does boil down to following basic but crucial steps. “The motor just requires a little bit of TLC, like a well-maintained car. And you don't need anything more than that. Make sure the oil is in good condition, that you've turned the space heaters on to dry it out, give it a bump test to make sure that it will spin up and that you don't have any electrical system issues associated with powering the motor. Simple things like that. That's really it.”
Bio: Jeff Goldberg, Agricultural Irrigation Market Manager at Nidec Motor Corporation, has been guiding the growth of the US Motors® brand motors in the irrigation market for the past seven years. He combines his extensive experience in engineering and marketing of electronics, power quality equipment and motors with his sensitivity to the needs of agricultural producers, irrigation contractors and pump OEMs.