Extra precautions are needed in combustible environments such as grain handling and processing facilities.
by Scott Miklavcich
June 8, 2018

To eliminate these issues, many industrial facilities have turned to standardization as a means of ensuring that motors are qualified for use in hazardous locations. In such cases, the facility stocks one single motor that is rated for all possible environments. Motors designed to keep all dust out of the motor are a good idea, as are those that meet or exceed National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) premium efficiency levels and the efficiency requirements of the U.S. Department of Energy. It is also important that motors are suitable for processes in a wide range of facilities—from storage and transport of grains, to distilling ethanol, DOL or in constant or variable torque applications on drives.

Aside from ensuring safety, which should be the top priority in hazardous duty motor selection, specifying a single model motor for an entire facility enables optimization of inventory. In many cases, savings generated by eliminating excess inventory can offset the higher cost associated with purchasing a motor that is “over-designed” for its location. Additionally, standardization allows electricians and plant personnel to better familiarize themselves with a single product, leading to quicker installations and streamlined maintenance.

Standardization Helps Ensure Safety

In facilities where combustible dusts are handled or stored, the misapplication of electric motors can have repercussions. Unfortunately, mitigating the risk associated with this common problem is something that requires both a firm understanding of hazardous location classifications and the principles of motor design. In some facilities, this depth of expertise simply does not exist. The responsibility of motor selection is passed down the line, which increases the likelihood that an error will be made. Standardization has emerged as a cost-effective method of simplifying this arduous task, providing facility managers with assurance that their operations are safe, efficient and in compliance with applicable regulations.


  1. Cowell, B., (2016, June 6). Grain Dust Explosions Explained. Agri-City Insurance.
  2. Vallero, D., Letcher, T. (2013). Unraveling Environmental Disasters. Elsevier.
  3. Combustible Dust in Industry: Preventing and Mitigating the Effects of Fire and Explosions. (2014, November 12). Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  4. Hazardous Classifed Locations. Workplace Safety Awareness Council. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).