Checking the motor plates offers valuable information when comparing two different motors.
Replacing motors on feed systems and ventilation fans is maintenance cost familiar to all hog and poultry growers. Many equipment retailers offer generic units as an option to more expensive Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) motors. At first glance, these motors may look comparable in horsepower, frame type, and mounting.
Fan and feeding equipment manufacturers work with motor companies to source motors designed to match up with specific equipment. Generic motors, on the other hand, are stock items that motor manufacturers keep on the shelf to fit a wide variety of applications. Although the quality of these stock motors can be good, they are not explicitly made for a single purpose. While they will undoubtedly operate a feed system or ventilation fan, generic motors will typically not last as long or run as efficiently. A closer look at the motor plate will give the information needed to make an informed choice.
Here are two motor plates for similar one horsepower direct drive auger motors to illustrate the difference.
S.F. or Service Factor is defined as a motor’s ability to operate under an increased short-term load. The higher a motor’s rating, the more durable the motor. In this example, the motor with 1.3 S.F. will provide additional horsepower when the motor is overloaded. Fluctuating voltage, common with rural power grids, can cause motor overloading even under normal system loads.
F.L.A. or Full Load Amps represents the amount of current the motor is designed to draw at the rated horsepower. In this case, the generic motor draws 6.4 amps while the GrowerSELECT motor is rated at 4.4 amps. We can estimate the annual electric usage by using the national average of 10¢ per kilowatt and the average run time of two hours per day.
(6.4 – 4.4) amps x 230 volts = 460 watts
460 watts x 2 hours/day x 365 days = 335,800 watts/year
335,800 watts / 1000 watts = 335.8 kilowatts/year
335 Kw x .10/ Kw = $33.58 difference in annual operating costs
Please note that this example is a comparison of nameplate ratings only. Actual application results will vary slightly depending on the specific application loading.
A straightforward item to check is the total weight of the motor. Although not listed on the motor plate, the generic motor weighted 33 pounds while the GrowerSELECT weighted over 35 pounds. A heavier motor tends to indicate more copper and steel are used in the windings. Heavier windings minimize heat buildup and dissipate the heat quicker. Excessive heat is one of the primary causes of electric motor failure. In fact, for every 18 to 20 degrees increase in temperature, the expected motor life is cut in half. Other contributing factors to shortened motor life are related to component durability; such as aluminum wire usage, nondurable centrifugal switches along with less expensive start and run capacitors.
The GrowerSELECT motor used in our example retails for about $20 more than the generic motor. The higher annual operating cost along with the labor expense associated with replacing a motor recovers the difference in the initial price very quickly.
Evaporative pads, used on poultry or livestock buildings, require scheduled routine maintenance to remain effective. A recent addition to Hog Slat Inc.’s engineering facility will help provide producers with information focused on increasing the useful life of cool cell pads.
“We are really excited to put the new Evaporative Media Test Chamber to work,” said Tyler Marion, project engineer, “So many times it is tough to do accurate evaluations under farm conditions. This equipment gives us a way to gather data using a controlled, repeatable approach. We can use a much smaller footprint to replicate conditions found in a tunnel-ventilated building. For instance, we can quickly evaluate a new product on the test chamber’s 14-foot long system compared to having to install 80 feet or 100 feet on full-sized production facility.”
“Because they are constantly saturated, pad life is greatly affected by the water quality on each farm,” Tyler explained, “The pH, hardness, and the amount of sediment of each water source account for a lot of the difference we see from farm to farm. Using the test chamber, we can simulate poor water conditions by changing the water pH or hardness. That will allow us to evaluate how different treatments such as algaecides and descalers affect pad life. We will also determine how or if different drying/saturated cycles contribute to pad failure.”
Tyler continued, “We can also accelerate product testing timeline due to the fan combination installed on the chamber. It is easily possible to double the static pressure and airspeed over normal rates, which causes a potential weakness to show up quicker. The new test chamber is a great tool to help us understand what factors contribute to product failure.”
Hog Slat is a leading manufacturer of livestock and poultry live production equipment headquartered in Newton Grove, NC. Hog Slat also provides turnkey construction services in the major production areas of the United States.
Step-Down Filtration systems improve sediment removal from the water sources used in livestock and poultry production.
Removing the sand, dirt, and organic matter is an essential first step in enhancing water quality. After removing the sediment, the water is further sanitized with chlorine dioxide or bleach to kill any pathogens.
Here are some comparisons of standard mesh sizes and microns. Note the mesh sizes in parenthesis are not economically feasible to manufacture for farm use.
Unless the water source is extremely sediment free, most farms will benefit from installing a Step-Down system consisting of two filters.
The first step is a filter with a reusable screen between 60 and 140 mesh and easy-to-use flush valve. The idea is to trap the larger sediment, flush it often and prevent these particles from plugging the smaller filter downstream. One of the best examples of a first step filter is the Rusco Spin-Down® filter. The clear housing makes it easy to tell when the filter is full and open the ball valve to quickly purge trapped sediment. The reinforced polyester screen can be cleaned and reused.
The second step is determined by the watering or metering equipment is being used. Here are some recommended filter sizes for various types of equipment.
Poultry drinkers – 20 microns
Swine drinkers – 140 mesh
Medicators – 200 mesh
Evaporative Cooling Systems – 12 to 24 mesh
For hog facilities, the second stage could easily be another flushable filter with a finer 200 or 240 mesh screen. For poultry houses, the second filter is typically a housing style that uses disposable cartridge filters to reach the recommended 10-50 microns. There are several types to choose from:
The most common and least expensive is a string wound filter manufactured with polypropylene cord. The manufacturing process creates distinct layers with looser wraps on the surface progressing to tighter layers near the core. Larger particles are trapped on the exterior to reducing plugging the denser interior layers. It is common for the string layers to separate over time allowing particles bigger than their specified rating to pass through.
A second type is a spun poly or melt blown cartridge made by blowing molten polymer over a spinning core. Known as gradient density filter, the media size gradually gets smaller towards the core. This type of filter maintains its micron rating better than string wound filters.
A third type is a pleated cartridge that is commonly manufactured using a polyester material. Pleated cartridges have more surface area to trap sediment, do not require replacement as often and have a higher flow rate. 20-micron, 4.5″x 10″ string wound filter has a typical flow rate of around 12 gallons per minute compared to a pleated model rated as high as 20 gallons per minute
Smaller isn’t better.
The best advice is to install a filter media with as large as openings as possible that will still perform the task. The larger the opening, the less the screen or cartridge will need to be cleaned or replaced.
Allowing mineral deposits and algae to accumulate on evaporative pads will eventually clog the pad openings causing a restriction of the airflow into the building.
When water evaporates, pure water is released leaving behind mineral deposits on the cool cell pads. The single best way to prevent the accumulation of mineral deposits is proper water distribution. Steady water flow over the pad surface flushes away minerals left by evaporation. In a system that is operating correctly, you should see a steady trickle of water down the outside of the pads with no visible dry streaks.
1) Start with clean pads. Remove dirt and other debris from the pads using a soft brush and low-pressure hose end sprayer. To remove heavy deposits of mineral and scale use a chemical cleaner like Triple-C® by Proxy Clean. Avoid using high-pressure sprayers and harsh chemicals containing bleach which can damage the pad media.
2) Clean the spray bar. At the beginning of every season, open the ball valve on the pipe end; turn the pump on and flush water out the end. It is a good idea to mechanically scrub the inside of the pipe with a bottlebrush attached to a long PVC pipe. An inexpensive Clean-out Brush is also available with a slip coupling that glues directly to a ¾” PVC pipe. Run the brush through the pipe and turn the pump on to flush the system a second time.
3) Clean the sump. Flush the trough and sump as dirt and sand quickly cause filters to plug. Remove several sections of pad and check the trough covers. Some trough covers have only minimum drainage holes, which allow dirt and sand to accumulate.
4) Flush the filters. Install a ball valve on the filter clean out making it easy to remove trapped sediment. The screen element should be cleaned often and replaced every six to twelve months.
5) Flush don’t bleed. While “bleeding-off” is better than nothing, a much better practice is to dump all the water from the trough and replenish it with fresh water. The complete dumping helps to flush the containments out of the cool cell pads. How often the trough needs to be drained depends on the hardness of the water and how often the evaporative system operates. Monitoring the pH level is a useful method to determine when to change the water with readings above 8.5 indicating an excessive mineral buildup.
6) Check the pump size. Many times evaporative systems are extended without changing to a higher gallons per minute pump. Dry areas showing up at the end opposite the pump usually means an undersized pump. You can quickly check the pump size by using these general calculations:
4-inch pads require .50 gallons per minute per linear foot
6-inch pads require .75 gallons per minute per linear foot
Cool cell pads are the perfect environment for algae growth providing light, moisture, and nutrients. Algae growth can be limited by following a few important management practices.
1) Limit sunlight. Algae growth requires only a few hours of sunlight per day. Cover sumps and filter housings to prevent algae growth. Consider installing an awning or roof to shade the system.
2) Dry the pads. Allow the pads to dry completely once every 24 hours, as algae cannot live on a dry surface. If the system is not shutting down during the evening hours, it may be necessary to install a 24-hour timer.
3) Limit nutrient content. Water from deep wells or municipal systems is preferred over surface water. Water from ponds or shallow wells is typically higher in nutrients.
Only use chemical treatments approved for use with evaporative cooling systems. Bleach and many pool chemicals may damage the media and metal components. Don’t rely on chemicals to maintain an evaporative pad system. While the periodical use of descalers and algaecides may be helpful, there is no substitute for proper water flow and regular flushing of the system.
Replacing the belts on fans every year is a smart investment to ensure they are delivering their maximum performance. Worn fan belts can cause as much as 20% loss of cfm output.
Ordering the correct replacement fan belt is as easy taking a few simple measurements.
First, to determine what type of belt is on your fan, measure the width of the belt. Most fan belts are A type belts with a measurement of 1/2″. If the fan belt measures 5/8″ it is classified as type B belt. You may see a belt described as type AX. The X means it has a cogged design or notches in the belt. The cogged profile increases the power transfer and typically used for only industrial applications because of their higher cost.
Next, you need to measure the length of the belt. Use a cloth measuring tape (not a steel one) and wrap it around the outside of the belt. You also use a thin string to take this measurement and place it on a steel tape to get the correct length.
Next, for “A” Belts (1/2” width) subtract two-inches from the outside measurement to select the correct V-belt. For example, if the outer measurement is 48-inches and you subtract two inches, then HSA46 would be the right belt for your fan.
For “B” Belts (5/8” width) subtract 3” from the outside measurement to select the correct V-Belt. For example, if the outer measurement is 48-inches and you subtract three inches, then HSB45 would be the right belt for your fan.
Hog Slat’s line of GroBelts offers producers a top quality V-belts at a great price. GroBelts feature wear resistant, high modulus compression rubber embedded with polyester cords to reduce stretch. To order go to GroBelts.
Also, see our Laser Pully Alignment Kit. At only $14.95 it’s a great tool to accurately check the alignment of the drive pulleys while you are changing the fan belts.