Is Buying A Refurbished Motor A Bad Idea?

Depending on the industry and application, electric motors can be a significant investment. Their high cost and the budget requirements that factor into all aspects of manufacturing and maintenance make it easy to prioritize price regardless of the motor type.  Many motor manufacturers understand this and fight to outdo the competition when it comes to bottom-line costs for the consumer. Unfortunately, this amounts to a glut of low-cost, low-quality motors.

Many buyers want to purchase directly from an electric motor manufacturer but they are also looking for ways to cut costs without also sacrificing quality. This leads some to consider buying refurbished units from electric motor parts manufacturers and suppliers who offer refurbishment services and second-hand products. Is this a clever way to save money while gaining a perfectly functional motor or is this a bad idea?

Before you contact a DC and AC motor manufacturer to ask about their refurbished inventory, here are some points to consider.

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Who Completed The Refurbishment?

Like all electrical devices that are widely available as refurbished products, the first thing to find out is who refurbished the motor. Some commercial electronic motor manufacturers will provide refurbished units that are fully certified and rebuilt according to the same production and quality standards as their original equipment. This means that any replaced parts are consistent with the manufacturer’s regular components while all other elements will be thoroughly checked for proper operational capabilities. A fully certified refurbished motor can be a great way to save some money and get what is essentially a new name-brand motor.

Sometimes independent motor manufacturers and maintenance specialists will offer refurbished products. Depending on the skills and capabilities of the provider, these motors can be just as good as the originals. And depending on the parts utilized, they may even be enhanced, higher-quality versions. But, keep in mind, motors refurbished by anyone but the original manufacturer will not be able to fully certify the product. This is why there is some debate over whether an independently repaired or restored motor is the same as one that’s been factory refurbished.      

Refurbished Vs. Repaired

Depending on the skill and work put into it, there may be no visual or operational differences between an electric motor that’s been factory refurbished and one that’s been independently repaired. The key differences between them are the inspection, testing, and certification processes. An independently restored or repaired motor isn’t going to be factory-certified and any testing and inspection procedures may be inconsistent with that of the original manufacturer.

Some service providers may only address the part or portion of the motor that requires repair and may not complete a full check of other parts that are still operational. For example, a motor that has been refurbished because of issues with the bearings will also have its stator and rotor assembly, housing, and all other parts thoroughly checked as part of the process. An independently repaired motor may only have its bearings replaced without a comprehensive service and test of all other components. Additionally, a factory refurbished motor will have only new parts incorporated into its construction, while a repaired motor may be restored using used parts.

Keep in mind, however, that many independent motor refurbishing and maintenance sources do offer their own certifications and warranties. Depending on their practices, they may offer service agreements and performance guarantees that are comparable or better than the original manufacturer.

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What Are The Real Costs Of The Discount?

Refurbished motors, whether purchased from the original manufacturer, certified provider, or independent maintenance specialist, can be a real bargain, but this is not the only option for saving money on a motion control device.

One of the best ways to save money on a motor is to buy one that will offer a long-lasting and reliable performance. A motor that’s properly designed and built using top-quality components will be a high-value investment, which will save significant costs. A low-cost motor, whether new or refurbished, may not offer the same level of performance and longevity and will more likely need replacement in a shorter time.  That’s why buying a high-quality electric motor that meets your performance parameters can be one of the most effective cost-saving measures in the long run.