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Understanding end play and its impact on axial alignment

  • February 2013
  • Number of views: 6545
  • Article rating: 4.4

Jim Bryan
EASA Technical Support Specialist

End play in an electric motor is the amount of axial movement allowed by the motor’s construction. This end play is limited by the motor’s bearing design. The bearing’s primary purpose is to locate the shaft radially so it can be aligned to the driven equipment shaft and efficiently transmit torque to the load. It is also important that the axial location be controlled such that the motor and driven equipment bearings are not subjected to excessive thrust or vibration and still have room for thermal growth of the shaft as it heats up during operation.

This can be accomplished by a number of ways depending on the design of the motor. If the motor has sleeve bearings, axial movement is expected within the limits of the bearing design.  Most rolling element bearings have much less axial clearance but must be contained in the bearing housing to control the end play.

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