Even if you’re not an engineer, the chances are you’ve used an appliance with an electric motor. Fans, power tools, electric toothbrushes and razors are all driven by clean and simple electric motors that harness the power of magnets.
So what distinguishes an electrical motor from a magnetic solenoid? An electric motor generates power through the interaction between the motors winding currents and magnetic field and then converts that electrical energy into motion or mechanical energy.
So, why do we need electric motors? Whether you opt for an AC or a DC motor, there are five key reasons why an engineer opts for the versatility and flexibility of an electric motor.
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Reason #1. Low Cost
A key benefit of the simplicity of an electric motor’s design is the low cost of using one in a huge variety of applications, especially for fixed speed commercial applications and commercial and domestic applications where an AC power line is easy to attach.
That’s why you’ll find an efficient and cost-effective electric motor in domestic air conditioners, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. However, when it comes down to services such as cooker, oven, hob, and hood repairs, dishwasher repairs, tumble dryer repairs, fridge freezer repairs, washing machine and washing dryer repairs, the level of know-how and complexity will require professional help.
This type of induction motor uses electromagnetic induction to produce torque and can be either three phase for industrial applications or one phase for domestic systems. It’s also the technology you’ll find in an e-bike.
Reason #2. Reliability
Electric motors have an extensive operational lifespan but with minimal maintenance needs thanks to the simplicity of the design architecture. Some electric motors are even self-starters for greater ease of use.
Electric motors contain relatively few moving parts and can operate for anything up to 30,000 hours – or around 3 1/2 years – without needing any major repairs. In fact, if the application is well designed an electric motor may not require replacement bearings for anything up to 10 years, making an electric motor extremely cost-efficient.
Electric motors can also operate in harsh environments where dust and dirt and chemicals may be present making them ideal for use in agriculture machinery, for example.
Reason #3. Efficiency in Operation
Electric motors are highly efficient with ratings anywhere from 50% – 95%. That’s over twice as efficient as a diesel engine and three times as efficient as a petrol engine.
Unlike engines that run on fossil fuels, electric motors don’t produce any of the associated needs for servicing and will continue to operate even in freezing temperatures making them ideal for commercial and domestic refrigeration.
Electric motors also contribute to a safe and comfortable working environment. That’s because they emit little or no noise with quiet starting and stopping, produce no emissions and are a minimal fire risk.
Reason #4. Excellent Speed Control
One of the biggest advantages of an electric motor is the simplicity and efficiency of the design. The resulting ability to precisely control the speed of this type of motor makes it ideal for applications where fine speed precision is required.
“Motors can also be fitted with a Silicon Controlled Rectifier (SCR) which allows you to regulate voltage and therefore speed with a simple turn of a knob,” says Daniel, a tradesman at the Fantastic Electricians department.
This is useful for applications that need precise torque and fine speed controls – anything from milling equipment to robotics. Automated controls add extra functionality, letting you operate a motor at a distance.
Reason #5. Variable Torque
Some DC electric motors can have a starting torque of 500% making them ideal for applications like electric cranes and trains.
Three phase AC induction motors have self-starting torque, although single phase motors require auxiliary starting power. The ability to produce instant torque means that an electric car can out accelerate even high-performance petrol engines with ease.
Engineers have only scratched the surface of what AC and DC electric motors can do. In the future, it’s highly likely that everything from motorbikes to space rockets will be powered by ultra-clean, efficient and low maintenance electric motors thanks to their robustness and versatility.