01 Jul 2021

Motors and drives get a new lease on life with retrofitted monitoring

Motors and drives get a new lease on life with retrofitted monitoring
Ageing motors and drives can be updated with DCO's monitoring capabilities
Drive motor systems are often seen as the real muscles for generating force to power machines in the manufacturing sector.

Motors and drives of varying types, speed and torque play a vital role on assembly lines throughout the world. The components and complexity of the drive system can range from small fixed-speed DC motors to large variable frequency drive AC induction motors. Many of these systems are still within their service lifetime but need updated monitoring capabilities. Expensive, state-of-the-art motors often have these capabilities built-in, but most installations are reliant on simpler, lower cost and often older motors. The ease of retrofit of DCO Systems sensing solutions enables these pre-existing motors to acquire the same monitoring capabilities and performance metrics.  

DCO’s energy harvesting sensors thrive within the conditions of motors and drives. Harnessing power from vibration, heat or electromagnetism, DCO’s self-powered sensors do not need an installed power source to function. Here we explain three features of DCO’s monitoring, real-time, predictive and preventative and holistic, that have successfully given ageing motors and drives a new lease on life. 

Real-time monitoring flags electrical and mechanical faults 

DCO monitors collect data in real time for several different components of the drive motor process. Turning electrical power into mechanical action, motors benefit from a combination of electrical and physical monitoring techniques. Motor current signature analysis (MCSA), temperature and vibration monitoring can be combined to deliver real-time performance metrics and to provide instantaneous and short-period performance comparisons to flag predictive and preventative maintenance. As a result, real-time monitoring provides unequivocal information on the functioning of these systems and flags inconsistencies to determine electrical and mechanical faults. 

Predictive and preventative maintenance increases productivity 

Drive motor systems are often seen as the real muscles for generating force to power machines in the manufacturing sector. However, the variations of rotational or linear force, varying electrical frequencies needed to control speed and torque, and the need for precise regulation make motors and drives susceptible to change. Wear in the many mechanical and electrical elements of drive systems - such as commutators and bearings – leads to changes over time that if not resolved early enough can lead to expensive maintenance headaches. 

Because DCO monitors constantly collect and aggregate performance data they build a profile of the equipment behaviour that includes an assessment of what “normal” is for each drive system. Analysis of difference from those normative values and generation of long run trend data enables the production of predictive and preventative maintenance data. Predictive data permits pre-emptive scheduling of maintenance on a schedule that maximises operational efficiency. 

Holistic monitoring uncovers knock-on effect pinpointing true issue 

Drive motors are frequently combined with other mechanical components such as gearboxes, pulleys, belts, and drive shafts. These components can also benefit from use of sensing to monitor their performance. DCO’s sensors look at the whole system as a collective and gather information in real time and over longer periods of time. In turn, DCO’s dashboard analytics uses the data to create a real-world performance profile for each device and system. This historical data sheds light on the function of the system over weeks, months or years. 

With motors and the equipment driven being intricately connected, problems in one part may show up elsewhere. DCO monitoring integrates Motor Current Signature Analysis (MCSA), multiple surface temperature probes, and wide bandwidth vibration analysis of the drive systems. DCO’s holistic monitoring offering temperature, vibration and electrical analysis in parallel provides the detail needed to identify root cause and the actual issues. 

DCO Systems offer monitoring solutions that can be retrofitted throughout the entire drive system and can enhance or extend data collection. Seeing information in real time and over time provides a more robust data set which is needed for the overall upkeep of this equipment. To get started with DCO’s affordable monitoring tools, go to or email 

View all News