Why did ALL-TEST Pro decide to market this product?
Predictive maintenance (PdM) as it relates to elecgtricaql motors historically has been difficult to both implement and sustain the testing program over the long haul for many years. From our 25 years of experience, we felt there were two main reasons for this:
- The user need to understand the operational theory of rotating equipment to effectivel;y perform the analysis.
- Existing hardware and software were too large and bulky for use in the field. Field-testing means having to access motors that are installed into confined spaces, on top of or embedded into equipment, on top of a roof, etc.
Therefore, we felt it was imperative that any new instrument from us must provide automatic analysis within the instrument itself using the simple concept of OK, Warn, and Bad. And that it is small, hand-held, and battery operated with features necessary for PdM testing.
How is this analyzer different from similar products?
There are no similar products to a small, portable, battery-operated motor tester. Some people confuse a megohm meter with an electrical motor tester and this is simply not true. A megohm meter will only detect faults between conductor and ground., However, many times faults will begin (or end with it smoke!) within the winding itself and is not detectable by using a megohm meter. Also they cannot detect rotor faults and connection problems. Field-testing using an RCL meter has also proved to provide poor results when testing an assembled motor.
What problems did you encounter during the development process?
To automate the analysis process required that we develop both new hardware and firmware that resulted in several new patents (and patent pending).
This process itself took many years, including extensive field testing.
How long did it take from conception to final production?
The concept itself goes back almost 10 years and the first real prototype (using existing hardware platform) we started to field test in 2010. The first instrument using this patented and patent-pending plaform sold is our AT33 series of electric motor testers. Development of the AT5 as it exists today began in earnest in early 2012.
Did cost factors play a role in changing the final design of this product?
Not so much on a hardware basis, but definitely specific to operational features. Anyone that has developed a new product from scratch will understand how everything related to firmware and hardware development takes far more time than originally anticipated. We are very proud of what we have accomplished and as it exists right now it is a real breakthrough in both motor testing technology and the application of the technology.
Who do you consider your target audience to be and what benefits will they realize from using this product?
Our core buyers are electricians that test electrical motors and many times they lack detailed knowledge regarding the operational theory of rotating equipment. It is the automated analysis within the instrument iself that provides a significant benefit to them. They no longer need detailed knowledge about motors to successfully test electrical motors. After all, most instruments sold by ATP are for in-plant use.
Please add any other interesting sidelights that you think our readers would enjoy knowing.
It takes a “team” to develop and launch a new product and it means a lot of evenings and weekends working out the details. The business still has to run on a daily basis while development is progressing, so it means working with a dedicated group of people that really believe in what we are doing. Without the passion of the team I do not know how we could have finished it.