Motor Name Plate Terminology

General Terminology

(1) Service Factor:

  • The service factor is a multiplier that indicates the amount of overload a motor can be expected to handle. If a motor with a 1.15 service factor can be expected to safely handle intermittent loads amounting to 15% beyond its nameplate horsepower.
  • For example, many motors will have a service factor of 1.15, meaning that the motor can handle a 15% overload. The service factor amperage is the amount of current that the motor will draw under the service factor load condition.

(2) Slip:

  • Slip is used in two forms. One is the slip RPM which is the difference between the synchronous speed and the full load speed. When this slip RPM is expressed as a percentage of the synchronous speed, then it is called percent slip or just “slip”. Most standard motors run with a full load slip of 2% to 5%.

(3) Synchronous Speed:

  • This is the speed at which the magnetic field within the motor is rotating. It is also approximately the speed that the motor will run under no load conditions. For example, a 4 pole motor running on 60 cycles would have a magnetic field speed of 1800 RPM. The no load speed of that motor shaft would be very close to 1800, probably 1798 or 1799 RPM. The full load speed of the same motor might be 1745 RPM. The difference between the synchronous speed and the full load speed is called the slip RPM of the motor.


Motor Torque:

(1) Pull Up Torque:

  • When the motor starts and begins to accelerate the torque in generally decrease until it reach a low point at a certain speed it called the pull-up torque.
  • The Pull-up Torque is the minimum torque developed by the electrical motor when it runs from zero to full-load speed (before it reaches the break-down torque point).
  • Pull-up torque is the minimum torque developed during the period of acceleration from locked-rotor to the speed at which breakdown torque occurs.
  • Some motor designs do not have a value of pull up torque because the lowest point may occur at the locked rotor point. In this case, pull up torque is the same as locked rotor torque.
  • For motors which do not have a definite breakdown torque (such as NEMA design D) pull-up torque is the minimum torque developed up to rated full-load speed. It is usually expressed as a percentage of full-load torque.

(2) Starting Torque (Locked Rotor Torque):

  • The amount of torque the motor produces when it is energized at full voltage and with the shaft locked in place is called starting torque.
  • The Locked Rotor Torque or Starting Torque is the torque the electrical motor develop when its starts at rest or zero speed.
  • It is the amount of torque available when power is applied to break the load away and start accelerating it up to speed.
  • A high Starting Torque is more important for application or machines hard to start – as positive displacement pumps, cranes etc. A lower Starting Torque can be accepted in applications as centrifugal fans or a pump where the start loads is low or close to zero.

 (3) Full Load Torque:

  • Full load torque is the rated continuous torque that the motor can support without overheating within its time rating.
  • In imperial units the Full-load Torque can be expressed as
  • T full-load torque (lb ft) = (Rated horsepower of Motor X 5252) / Rated rotational speed (rpm)       
  • In metric units the rated torque can be expressed as
  • Full-load torque (Nm) = (Rated KW of Motor X 9550) / Rated rotational speed (rpm)
  • Example :The torque of a 60 hp motor rotating at 1725 rpm can be expressed as
  • T full-load torque = 60 X 5,252 / 1725 (rpm)
  • T full-load torque = 182.7 lb ft

(4) Peak Torque:

  • Many types of loads such as reciprocating compressors have cycling torques where the amount of torque required varies depending on the position of the machine.
  • The actual maximum torque requirement at any point is called the peak torque requirement.
  • Peak torques is involved in things such as punch presses and other types of loads where an oscillating torque requirement occurs.

(5) Pull out Torque (Breakdown Torque):

  • Breakdown torque is the maximum torque the motor will develop with rated voltage applied at rated frequency without an abrupt drop in speed. Breakdown torque is usually expressed as a percentage of full-load torque
  • The load is then increased until the maximum point is reached.

Motor Current:

(1) Full Load Amps:

  • The amount of current the motor can be expected to draw under full load (torque) conditions is called Full Load Amps. It is also known as nameplate amps.

(2) Locked Rotor Amps:

  • Also known as starting inrush, this is the amount of current the motor can be expected to draw under starting conditions when full voltage is applied.
  • Lock Rotor Current (IL) Three Phase Motor: 1000x HP x (KVA/HP) / 1.732 x Volt
  • Lock Rotor Current (IL) Single Phase Motor: 1000x HP x (KVA/HP) / Volt


About Jignesh.Parmar (B.E,Mtech,MIE,FIE,CEng)
Jignesh Parmar has completed M.Tech (Power System Control), B.E(Electrical). He is member of Institution of Engineers (MIE) and CEng,India. Membership No:M-1473586.He has more than 16 years experience in Transmission -Distribution-Electrical Energy theft detection-Electrical Maintenance-Electrical Projects (Planning-Designing-Technical Review-coordination -Execution). He is Presently associate with one of the leading business group as a Deputy Manager at Ahmedabad,India. He has published numbers of Technical Articles in “Electrical Mirror”, “Electrical India”, “Lighting India”,”Smart Energy”, “Industrial Electrix”(Australian Power Publications) Magazines. He is Freelancer Programmer of Advance Excel and design useful Excel base Electrical Programs as per IS, NEC, IEC,IEEE codes. He is Technical Blogger and Familiar with English, Hindi, Gujarati, French languages. He wants to Share his experience & Knowledge and help technical enthusiasts to find suitable solutions and updating themselves on various Engineering Topics.

14 Responses to Motor Name Plate Terminology

  1. sheikh says:

    Thanks for useful information

  2. Panneer SELVAM (ETS Limited, Dubai) says:

    I always appreciate your blog. Simple to learn

    Paneer Selvam | Manager (Marketing)

    Emirates Transformer & Switchgear Limited

    Post Box No 16842 | Jebel Ali | Dubai | United Arab Emirates

  3. Prashant Soni says:

    Thank you very very much for your valuable knowledge…
    Prashant Soni

  4. velan babu says:

    great job…#awesome…….

  5. sundararaju says:

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    Thanking you

  6. Ashvin Prajapati says:

    Thank you very much for your Most valuable information

  7. krishna says:

    thanks for sharing knowledge.

  8. Pradeep K Mishra says:

    Thanks a lot for new information………………..

  9. Baji Mumbai says:

    Thank you very much for your Most valuable information

  10. ajai says:

    Please locked rotor current explain with examples???

  11. harish says:

    sir can you define rating of fuse depend on nature of load ..resistive inductive or capacitive

  12. JD.. says:

    Dear sir,
    Thank you very much for valuable information.i have a question; How we know that KVA/HP in Lock Rotor Current formula..?

  13. jayesh sathwara says:

    Dear sir
    Thanks for good knowledge of electrical .

  14. shanmukh says:

    Dear Sir,
    Thanks a lot for valuable information.

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