Electric Motors: A Guide

When selecting a motor, there are a variety of factors to consider. As the largest stocking independent motor distributor in the state of Georgia, Gainesville Industrial Electric (GIE) has the knowledge and experience to help your company select the optimal industrial electric motor for your unique application. To aid the decision-making process, we put together the following guide that outlines how motors work, the types available, the typical industrial applications, and the selection considerations.

Electric Motors – All You Need to Know

Electric motors are electromechanical devices that convert electrical energy into mechanical energy to power equipment. Powered by stored electrical energy or a direct electrical connection, these devices operate by generating rotating magnetic fields to produce rotational force. The force is then used to drive a shaft which, in turn, drives equipment.

Different Types of Electric Motors

While electric motors are available in a wide range of designs with various operational and safety features, they can be categorized into two broad categories: alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC).

While the power source is the most significant difference between the two motor types, each also offers different functionality and ideal applications. AC motors can drive complex and more fragile equipment, whereas DC motors usually power heavier equipment that needs easier maintenance and operation controls. AC motors can also provide higher levels of torque, leading to many industry professionals considering them as more powerful than DC motors.

Industrial Applications of Electric Motors

Electric motors find application in a variety of equipment throughout industry. Common industrial applications include:

  • Compressors
  • Fans and Blowers
  • Heavy-duty equipment
  • HVAC systems
  • Crushers
  • Pumps
  • Lathes

Choosing the Right Electric Motor for Your Needs

The right type of electric motor for an application varies depending on the equipment employed. For example, a motor must be chosen to suit the attached machine’s startup power levels and operational power output requirements. An improperly matched motor can cause significant damage to the machine or result in stalling and failure. Multi-phase motors and motors with different voltage levels are available so motor technicians can more easily match industrial equipment with the appropriate motor.

Types of Electric Motors

At Gainesville Industrial Electric, we offer a comprehensive selection of electric motors from Marathon, Teco-Westinghouse, Leeson, Lincoln, Century, GE, Baldor and Worldwide Electric. Each motor has unique features, attributes, and recommended applications. Our product offerings range from fractional single and three phase motors to large medium and high voltage motors.


General-Purpose – Single-Phase Motors

Our selection of general-purpose, single-phase motors includes:

  • Drip Proof Motors
  • Totally Enclosed Motors
  • Hazardous Duty Division 1, Explosion-Proof Motors
General-Purpose – Single-Phase Motors

General-Purpose – Three-Phase Motors

Three-phase motors have a voltage of 208, 230, 460 or 575. We offer the following general-purpose, three-phase electric motors:

  • Drip Proof Motors
  • Totally Enclosed Motors
  • Severe Duty Motors
General-Purpose – Three-Phase Motors

Hazardous Duty – Three-Phase Motors

Hazardous duty, three-phase motors are designed and built to withstand more severe operating conditions than general-purpose motors. While all of these motors are suitable for Division 1 locations, individual models are suited for Class I and/or Class II locations with Group C, D, E, F, and/or G hazardous materials.

Hazardous Duty – Three-Phase Motors

Washdown Duty, Painted and Stainless Steel Motors

Washdown Duty painted and stainless steel motors are designed for rugged and demanding environments such as food processing, chemical processing and carwash applications. They are available in single and three phase models up to 20HP

Washdown Duty, Painted and Stainless Steel Motors

Medium Voltage Motors

These medium voltage motors run on 2,300 or 4,000 volts. Available in weather protected, blower-cooled, and totally enclosed models. Additional features include roller bearing conversion kits, WPII kits, and energy saver designs.

Medium Voltage Motors

Electric Pump Motors

Electric pump motors are designed to have enough power to drive a pump without overloading. They have special shafts for use with mechanical seals (JM Frame) or packing (JP Frame). Applications for these motors include use on centrifugal or close-coupled pumps, jet pumps, and pool pumps.

Electric Pump Motors

Inverter Duty and Vector Duty Motors

When variable frequency drives (VFDs) drive motors, they produce large voltage spikes. Inverter duty and vector duty motors can withstand these spikes and operate without overheating.

Inverter Duty and Vector Duty Motors

Permanent Magnet DC Motors

DC motors are used for immediate startups and applications where quick changes are more critical than gradual or soft changes. Permanent magnet DC motors facilitate these simpler startup operations.

Permanent Magnet DC Motors

Air Compressor Motors

Air compressor motors generate the power and high levels of torque necessary to drive portable and stationary air compressors used in facilities such as body shops and manufacturing plants.

Air Compressor Motors

Brake Motors

Brake motors are typically single-disc AC or DC motors that can stop driven motion quickly. They are designed to do so safely without jarring or shortening the lifespan of the equipment.

Brake Motors

Cooling Tower Motors

These motors provide power for cooling towers. They’re designed to withstand the hot and humid harsh conditions typical of cooling towers. TEAO and TEFC enclosures are available as well as single and two-speed motors.

Cooling Tower Motors

Farm Duty/Agricultural Motors

These motors meet high-torque requirements for farming and agricultural equipment, such as auger drivers and grain stirring machinery.

Farm Duty/Agricultural Motors

HVAC Motors

These motors power a range of HVAC equipment, such as:

  • Blowers
  • Fans
  • Oil burners
  • Pumps
  • Ventilators

. Instant Reversing Motors

These motors are suitable for applications that require the instantaneous reversal of motion, such as for opening, closing, and hoisting barriers.

. Crusher Duty Motors

These severe duty motors feature high starting and breakdown torque. Chippers and crushers typically benefit from these specialty motors due to their durable design and high-strength components.

Crusher Duty Motors

Industrial Electric Motors Solutions From GIE

Choosing the right motor for an industrial application ensures better performance over the lifespan of the equipment employed. Many specialty motors include safety features or unique power options for enhanced performance.

At Gainesville Industrial Electric, we are proud to distribute high-quality industrial electric motors from leading manufacturers, such as Marathon, Teco-Westinghouse, Leeson, Lincoln, Century, GE, Baldor, and Worldwide Electric. Additionally, we maintain a full-service motor and pump repair shop to readily service any brand of motor.

To learn more about our product and service offerings or for assistance selecting, sourcing, or maintaining an electric motor, contact us or request a quote today.