Why Motor OEMs are switching to Helwig’s Bearing Protection Kits™

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A span of 6 bpk brushes on our silver graphite brushes page, example of shaft grounding solutions from Helwig Carbon

Helwig Carbon has been supplying OEM motor manufacturers with shaft grounding solutions since the mid-1990s. Since that time, the use of VFDs to control electric motors has vastly increased, thus increasing the need for shaft grounding and the demand for our after-market Bearing Protection Kits™ (BPKs). Over the last number of years, Helwig Carbon has been working with more motor OEMs to supply our Bearing Protection Kits™ installed in their new motors. OEM’s enjoy the ease of installation, the unparalleled performance, and the longevity of Helwig’s BPKs.

BPK-IM2 internally mounted in Century Juggernaut motors.

There are many shaft grounding options out on the market today. However, a critical consideration for motor OEMs is the ability to install the solution quickly and efficiently to keep manufacturing costs low. Helwig Carbon works with motor OEMs to provide easy-to-install kits. Our BPKs can either be mounted internally within the motor or externally in the motor OEM mod shop with a customized mounting bracket. In fact, some BPKs are so easy to install, they take less than a minute!

In addition, one Helwig BPK model can be used on a variety of motor frame sizes and shaft sizes. This advantage has helped reduce the inventory and part numbers for the OEM to keep in their system, further reducing costs.

shaft grounding solution: BPK-SB externally mounted with a custom bracket on a WEG motor

BPK-SB externally mounted with a custom bracket on a WEG motor

Perhaps the most critical aspect of a shaft grounding solution is its performance to protect the motor bearings from electrical damage. To do this, the kits must provide the least resistance path to ground any harmful induced shaft currents. This is where Helwig’s BPK excels. Our proprietary silver graphite brush provides an ultra-low resistant path to ground throughout the life of the kit. The positive spring force within the kit always ensures consistent contact between the brush and the motor shaft. The spring force plus the cleaning action of the brush grade will keep the brush track clear from contamination while the motor is running. These two features set the BPK apart from the competition. Lab and field testing show the superiority in performance of the silver graphite brush and spring solution over the carbon fiber ring.

examples of shaft voltage, demonstrating the need for shaft grounding solutions

A: Unprotected motor           B: Motor with a carbon-fiber ring                 C: Motor with a BPK-4

Performance should be a key consideration when choosing a shaft grounding solution. However, high performance won’t yield results unless that performance is consistent throughout the life of the motor. The brush inside Helwig’s BPK is specifically designed to provide many years of effective shaft grounding performance. The life of a kit will easily surpass the warranty period of the motor. In fact, depending on the model of BPK and the operating conditions of the motor, some kits have a projected life that exceeds 10 years! The current that flows through the brush in a shaft grounding application is so low that the electrical wear is almost nonexistent. The only wear is mechanical, from the friction of the brush against the motor shaft. The proprietary silver graphite brush grade has lubricating properties that help to lower the coefficient of friction between the brush and shaft. This allows our BPKs to have an extra-long life.

shaft grounding solution: BPK-4 externally mounted using 3M™ Dual Lock™

BPK-4 externally mounted using 3M™ Dual Lock™

Simply put, there is no other shaft grounding solution on the market that provides the ease-of-installation, the quality of performance, or the longevity of a Helwig Bearing Protection Kit. That’s why more and more OEMs are adopting our solution. The following OEMs are currently working with us on offering Helwig BPKs installed in their new motors: ABB/Baldor, Regal Beloit, Nidec, North American Electric, Teco-Westinghouse, WEG, Worldwide Electric, and many more. Next time you need a new motor, contact your preferred motor provider and insist on the Industry’s Best Shaft Grounding Solution.

Kevin Koenitzer
Business Development Coordinator

Helwig Carbon Products, Inc. is the premier, family-owned, American manufacturer, of carbon brushes, brush holders, spring assemblies, bearing protection kits, metal graphite brushes, and mechanical carbons. Since 1928, we have forged innovations that have since become industry standards and requirements. We pride ourselves on manufacturing all of our products to the highest standard and performance because we know your application depends on it!