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Service Factor: What is it and what does it do?

Source of heat Table 1. Temperature Rise ( C) vs Percent Loading.

First, we will ex-
amine the source of Size/load 50% 100% 115% 125%
the heat being pro-
20 hp
duced in the motor. Avg. winding temp. 23 56 75 91
Electric motors, like Max. rotor temp. 28 79 100 126
all electromechanical Max. bearing hous- 15 37 49 62
devices, are not totally ing temp.
efficient. Much has
been discussed about 50 hp
this efficiency since Avg. winding temp. 28 75 102 128
the inefficiency results Max. rotor temp. 33 93 126 139
in wasted power. This Max. bearing hous- 20 50 70 80
costs money and re- ing temp.
By Jim Bryan
EASA Technical Support Specialist quires more power
100 hp
to be produced than
There are many misconceptions Avg. winding temp. 32 64 80 94
is required to do the Max. rotor temp. 39 84 107 127
about Service Factor (SF) in the indus-
work. The efficiency Max. bearing hous- 21 41 51 60
try. Some feel it is meant for temporary
of the motor can be ing temp.
excursions into overload conditions;
expressed as:
others consider it to be an allowance for
200 hp
permanent overload. The truth is that %Eff = Pout / Pin Avg. winding temp. 31 69 80 108
it is neither. As defined in the EASA or = (Pin L) / Pin Max. rotor temp. 39 98 130 160
Technical Manual and NEMA MG1, the Max. bearing hous- 17 37 48 58
definition of service factor is: Where Pin = Power In
ing temp.
Pout = Power out
A multiplier which, when applied to L = Losses
rated power, indicates a permissible IEEE 841 TEFC, 4 pole, 460V
power loading that may be carried So the losses con- Notes: Bearing housing temperature is the drive end
stitute the inefficiency. bearing. Maximum rotor temperature is in the rotor bar.
under the conditions specified for the
Some of these losses These temperatures are the rise above ambient.
service factor.
are friction and wind-
The NEMA MG1-2011 theory of
age, but most of the inefficiency is the Cooled (TEFC) motors. TEFC motors
SF says that a motor is thermally ca-
result of winding and core losses. The will also have a greater increase in
pable of overload to that point within
largest contributor is the winding loss bearing temperatures than open mo-
the insulation class at normal service
that can be expressed as: tors because of the way they are cooled.
Since any increase in load increases Plosses = I2R Effects of heat
the current, this overload will increase Where: Plosses = Power lost Figure 1 shows that for every 10 C
the operating temperature of the motor. I = Motor load current (18 F) increase in winding tempera-
For every increase of 10 C, the motor R = Motor winding resistance ture, the thermal life of the insulation
winding expected life is reduced by system is reduced by one-half. Look-
one-half. It does not matter what the The winding resistance remains
ing at the 50 hp (37.5 kW) motor in
source of that increase in temperature relatively constant and is a smaller
Table 1 as an example, at full load the
is; overload, poor ventilation, low factor than the load current. We can
temperature rise is 75 C (135 F). If the
voltage or high ambient temperature determine from this equation that the
load is increased to the SF of 1.15 or
are just a few. heat producing losses increase by the
57.5 hp (43 kW), the temperature rise is

square of the increase in load current.

increased to 102 C (184 F), an increase
The NEMA MG1-2011 The increase in current compared to
of 27 C (49 F). The reduction in life
theory of SF says that a load is nearly linear over short changes
expectancy is calculated by:
so if we have a SF of 1.15, the load
motor is thermally ca- current will increase by 15%. The ad- Life1.15 = Life1.0 X 0.5(T/10)
pable of overload to that ditional watts produced will be 1.152 or
= 1 X 0.527/10 = 0.154
point within the insu- 1.32, a 32% increase, which will result
lation class at nor mal in a similar increase in temperature. The life has been reduced to 15.4%

Table 1 shows this increase for sev- of the original expected life. Of course
service conditions.
eral examples of Totally Enclosed Fan Continued on Page 2

Electrical Apparatus Service Association, Inc. Copyright 2015 August 2015 1
Service Factor: What is it and what does it do?
Continued From Page 1

these are theoretical numbers and in load, but the locked

real situations many factors contribute rotor torque and cur-
to the life (or lack thereof) of the motor. rent and breakdown
This example is meant to illustrate how torque will remain
important temperature considerations unchanged.
are in the proper application of the A motor operating
equipment. According to this example, continuously at any
if we expected a theoretical life of 10 service factor greater
years for our motor, by operating at than 1 will have a re-
SF that would be reduced to 1.5 years. duced life expectancy
A motor with Class F insulation can compared to operating
be rewound with Class H to help ac- at rated nameplate
commodate the higher temperature. horsepower. Insula-
This step will improve the overall life tion life and bearing
but will not lessen the impact of the life are reduced by the
overload condition. The theoretical service factor load.
expected life might be increased to 15 If the application
years, for instance, and the life at SF requires 110 brake
would be 2.3 years. horsepower (82 kW),
The definition of SF includes the Figure 1. Temperature vs Life Curves for Insulation Systems.
it is tempting to use
phrase normal service conditions. a 100 hp (75 kW) mo-
These conditions include that the mo- hp (kW); other factors such as wind-
tor and operate it in service factor. Of
tor be operated at rated voltage and ing turn count and coil pitch must
course this will reduce the initial cost
frequency, at a maximum of 40 C (104 be changed to do so. It is a way to
of the project. Installing a 125 hp (93
F) ambient, and a maximum altitude affect the temperature rise, however,
kW) motor will not only improve the
of 3300 feet (1000 meters). Only when as shown in the paragraph from the
reliability, but the improved efficiency
these conditions are met is the motor EASA Technical Manual below:
will result in lower cost of operation.
capable of the full SF overload. NEMA Much has been published concerning Using larger wire or improving the
also allows that the motor perform suc- the return on investment resulting from temperature rating of the insulation
cessfully at 10% of rated voltage, but improved efficiency so it is not neces- will not increase the torque. Conse-
it also states that at other than rated sary to review that here. Further, many quently, such measures will NOT
voltage, the motors performance may motor manufacturers design their mo- increase the rated hp or kW. Increas-
be affected. Service factor is included in tors to have a peak efficiency near 80% ing wire size, however, does reduce
the performance that is affected. of rated load. It is then best practice to the winding loss and temperature rise
Another way to consider it is that increase the rating of the motor rather under a given load, so the motor can
the SF accommodates these excursions than operate continuously in service be operated at a higher overload or
into other than normal conditions to factor. service factor.
protect the motors performance and While many service centers are not
life expectancy. If you have a SF of Conclusion
involved in the design and specifica-
1.15, for instance, but are operating at By misunderstanding the proper
tion of motor applications, it is good
rated load, a voltage lower than rated application of service factor, the
to be aware of these situations in the
voltage will not have as much negative system designer will often reduce
event of motor failures due to less
impact on the performance. Since the reliability and increase operating cost
than optimum applications. If you
motor rarely operates at rated voltage, for the sake of a lower initial project
have the opportunity to influence the
it therefore seems to be a poor design cost. This is one time that you truly
application design, you can provide a
choice to have the motor operate con- get what you pay for; a little foresight
valuable service to your customer by
tinually in the service factor. and a small increase in the investment
applying this information.
Other parts of the motors perfor- will pay dividends for the life of the
The EASA Technical Manual refers
mance are also affected. Part of NEMA application. l
to a practice followed by some in an
MG1-2011 14.37.1 says: attempt to increase the hp (kW) rating l l l l l
When the motor is operated at any by increasing the wire size in older mo- Editors Note: A PDF of this article is
service factor greater than 1, it may tors, many of which had ample room available in the Resource Library of
have efficiency, power factor, and in the winding slot for an increase. It
speed different from those at rated is not true that this will increase the

Electrical Apparatus Service Association, Inc. Copyright 2015 August 2015 2