Is electric motor rewinding good for the environment?

High Voltage electric motor stator
Let’s say you’ve got an 160kW electric motor that needs a rewind. You are either going to send it for a rewind or replace it. Is electric motor rewinding good for the environment?

We recently carried out an exercise just to see how much of a motor was recyclable. The results? quite surprisingly really. The 160kW electric motor, based on weight, was over 99% recyclable. Would that make you think again about repair versus replacement?

Just concentrating on the electric motor we rewound (or should I now start saying ‘recycled’?) it was sent in to us for a rewind, the windings had blown and new bearings were required. A pretty straightforward service and something we do each week.

We decided to judge the recyclability of the motor based on weight, this was the easiest variable to measure in our workshops. Before our eager engineers got their hands on the motor, it was weighed at 876Kg. Pretty quickly and because we were all interested to see the results the motor was stripped down, bearings removed, washed and weighed.

The windings were burnt-out, removed and weighed.

Just a minute though, I can hear it now…..

“Rewinding electric motors reduces their efficiency…doesn’t it?”

Well no, providing critical steps are followed, it does NOT! this has been proven by a joint EASA and AEMT study which has recently been updated. 2020 Electric Motor Rewind study We are an EASA Accredited repair facility too, we’ve been audited to ensure our electric motor rewinds maintain an electric motor’s efficiency EASA Accreditation

Without going into the individual weights of the electric motor stator, rotor, windings, bearings, pins, washers etc. the total weight of the parts were reused or being sent for recycling was 869Kg. So only 7Kg was going to waste!

I’m going to say with a degree of confidence here that rewinding electric motors is a process that’s over 99% recyclable.

In 2015 the European Commission produced a communication to the European Parliament titled Closing the Loop – an EU action plan for the Circular Economy, the first paragraph says…

‘The transition to a more circular economy, where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimised, is an essential contribution to the EU’s efforts to develop a sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and competitive economy.’ Read more here – The Circular Economy

Well the process of electric motor repair fits in pretty well with that statement, we’ve been doing this for 75 years this year. I think it fits in pretty well indeed with the Circular Economy.

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