Motor's or Generator Magnetic Center

Q: What is a motor's "magnetic center"? A: Sometimes called "electrical center," it's the axial position that the shaft/rotor assembly will attempt to maintain during steady-state running at rated voltage and frequency, without the influence of any coupled load. In the usual ball- or roller-bearing machine, the shaft position is fixed by the bearing mounting. But in sleeve bearing motors, the bearing construction inherently permits mechanical movement or "float" (typically 1A" or 2", depending upon motor size). Low sliding friction allows the shaft to drift readily back and forth to seek whatever position is dictated by the axial forces acting on the rotor. Q: What creates those forces? A: Like an elastic band, the magnetic field linking rotor and stator across the air gap will be stretched if the rotor is pulled axially out of alignment with the stator. A restoring force will tend to pull it back. Movement in the opposite direction will be similarly resisted. That location for which such forces are balanced is called "magnetic" center because those forces are magnetic in nature (although, as we will see, other forces may be present as well). Q: Why isn't magnetic center necessarily the same as mechanical center? A: In a perfect machine, the rotor/shaft would find its rest position exactly midway between the limits of mechanical movement allowed by the bearing and journal relationship. Here are the main reasons why that may not happen: Differences between the magnetic structures of stator and rotor-in overall length, in flatness and squareness of the core ends, and in the relative positions of radial air vents in the two structures. These result from necessary tolerances in the manufacturing process. For example, core stack length in a large machine is allowed to vary as much as a quarter inch. The result is axial variation in the magnetic field "stretch," causing the rotor to move until the forces in one direction are balanced by those in the other. Non-electromagnetic forces that are not balanced endfor-end, because of differences in rotor fan action. Winding connections typically cause air flow paths-and therefore fan pressure/flow characteristics-to differ between the two ends of the machine. This effect is most often observed in 3600 rpm motors. Q: What difference does it make? A: As long as the rotor does not seek a magnetic center that forces a shaft journal into continuous running contact with a bearing thrust face, no harm will result from a difference between magnetic and mechanical centers. Running uncoupled in a properly built motor, the rotor will never move far enough to "close up" all the mechanical end play provided. At the factory, if the magnetic center lies outside (or even dangerously close to) the boundaries set by the mechanical end play, three corrective measures may be employed depending upon

But it is of little importance. coincident with mechanical center. is likely to be required. But the magnitude is too low to constitute any threat to bearings normally provided in such machinery. At full speed. most rotors will settle into one safe position. Similarly. The only requirement for safe operation is that the magnetic center fall somewhere within the limits of the mechanical end play. particularly some 3600 rpm designs. Some designs permit that. bolted to the bearing the machine is constructed. But motor bearings aren't designed to withstand even these low values. Some sleeve bearings are fitted with adjustment screws for that purpose. Q: What about shaft movement during starting? A: The rotor of an accelerating motor will usually "hunt" or "bump" back and forth between its mechanical limits. most do not. A second fix is to move the stator in its housing. The most common is to shift the bearings axially in their housingsmoving the mechanical center closer to the magnetic center. Others. largely resulting from the greatly increased magnetizing current associated with the distorted magnetic field. However. Bearings with thrust capability could be providedat a price. Figure 2 shows another effect. they result only from gross manufacturing errors. This metal pointer. . To show that. which some users find unsettling. because no properly constructed sleeve bearing motor could allow such extreme displacements. Q: Is thrust the only issue? A: No. and need not be. may continue to drift slowly back and forth. the motor manufacturer may also provide a third scribed line indicating the magnetic center as well. proper use of a limited-end float coupling (in accordance with NEMA standards) will constrain the shaft to run in a safe position while the load is being driven. the rotor core might be moved on the shaft-but large. In conclusion: We emphasize again that motor magnetic center often is not. That does no harm because it doesn't last long enough. users sometimes request a "magnetic center indicator" as a motor accessory. to change the journal positions. either in place of or in addition to the pointer). Q: Doesn't that constraint involve some endwise thrust against a bearing in the driven machine? A: Yes. Reworking or replacing the shaft itself. high-speed machines seldom permit that. shows at a glance whether or not the rotating shaft is "floating" within the end play limits (shown by scribed lines on the shaft. Q: How much endwise force is involved when a motor is restrained against finding its magnetic center? A: The value is typically quite small Measurement is difficult because holding a spring scale against the end of the rotating shaft introduces its own axial force.

Crankshaft horizontal growth occurs at the opposite end of the engine from the thrust bearing. not away from it. Vertical growth occurs between the component mounting feet and their respective centerlines of rotation.Thermal Growth As engine and driven equipment reach operating temperatures. Failure to do so results in excessive crankshaft thrust bearing loading and/or coupling failure. . Sufficient clearance has been allowed if it is determined that the crankshaft still has end clearance. and the vertical distance from the center of rotation to the mounting feet. expansion or thermal growth will occur. This growth occurs in all directions. For generators without thrust bearings. This growth has to be planned for when driven equipment is connected to that end of the engine. Horizontal compensation consists of using a coupling allowing sufficient relative movement between driving and driven members. Position the generator shaft back (towards the rear of the base) against thrust bearing. The equipment must be positioned so the horizontal growth moves into the coupling operating zone. Adjust generator to half (50%) of the total end-play of the generator and engine. One method is to position the engine crankshaft all the way forward (towards the front of base). the generator must be positioned in the magnetic center. since the block and crankshaft grow at approximately the same rate. The growth is slight if the driven equipment is bolted to the engine block. This thermal growth depends on the type of metals used. the temperature rise that occurs.

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