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Home / Technical Articles / 12 Basic Motor Types Used For Industrial Electric Drives

Few Words About Electric Drives

Almost all modern industrial and commercial undertakings employ electric drive in preference to mechanical drive because it possesses the following advantages :

12 Basic Motor Types Used For Industrial Electric Drives
12 Basic Motor Types Used For Industrial Electric Drives (photo from: DOE Navigant Master Presentation)
  • It is simple in construction and has less maintenance cost
  • Its speed control is easy and smooth
  • It is neat, clean and free from any smoke or flue gases
  • It can be installed at any desired convenient place thus affording more flexibility in the layout
  • It can be remotely controlled
  • Being compact, it requires less space
  • It can be started immediately without any loss of time
  • It has comparatively longer life.

However, electric drive system has two inherent disadvantages :

  1. It comes to stop as soon as there is failure of electric supply and
  2. It cannot be used at far off places which are not served by electric supply.

However, the above two disadvantages can be overcome by installing diesel-driven DC generators and turbine-driven 3-phase alternators which can be used either in the absence of or on the failure of normal electric supply.

Motor types for industrial electric drives

Ok, let’s take a short overview of twelve most basic motor types used for different industrial electric drives:

  1. DC Series Motor
  2. DC Shunt Motor
  3. Cumulative Compound Motor
  4. Three phase Synchronous Motor
  5. Squirrel Cage Induction Motor
  6. Double Squirrel Cage Motor
  7. Slip ring Induction Motor
  8. Single phase Synchronous Motor
  9. Single phase Series Motor
  10. Repulsion Motor
  11. Capacitor start Induction run Motor
  12. Capacitor start and run Motor

1. DC Series Motor

Since it has high starting torque and variable speed, it is used for heavy duty applications such as electric locomotives, steel rolling mills, hoists, lifts and cranes.

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2. DC Shunt Motor

It has medium starting torque and a nearly constant speed.

DC shunt motor is used for driving constant speed line shafts, lathes, vacuum cleaners, wood-working machines, laundry washing machines, elevators, conveyors, grinders and small printing presses etc.

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3. Cumulative Compound Motor

Cumulative compound motor is a varying speed motor with high starting torque and is used for driving compressors, variable head centifugal pumps, rotary presses, circular saws, shearing machines, elevators and continuous conveyors etc.

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4. Three-phase Synchronous Motor

Because its speed remains constant under varying loads, 3-phase synchronous motor is used for driving continuously operating equipment at constant speed such as ammonia and air compressors, motor generator sets, continuous rolling mills, paper and cement industries.

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5. Squirrel Cage Induction Motor

This motor is quite simple but rugged and possesses high overload capacity. It has a nearly constant speed and poor starting torque.

Squirrel cage induction motor is used for low and medium power drives where speed control is not required as for water pumps, tube wells, lathes, drills, grinders, polishers, wood planers, fans, blowers, laundary washing machines and compressors etc.

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6. Double Squirrel Cage Motor

It has high starting torque, large overload capacity and a nearly constant speed.

Double squirrel cage motor is used for driving loads which require high starting torque such as compressor pumps, reciprocating pumps, large refrigerators, crushers, boring mills, textile machinery, cranes, punches and lathes etc.

Double squirrel cage blower fan motor - 3 speed; 110V
Double squirrel cage blower fan motor – 3 speed; 110V

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7. Slip Ring Induction Motor

It has high starting torque and large overload capacity. The speed of slip ring induction motor can be changed up to 50% of its normal speed.

Slip ring induction motor is used for those industrial drives which require high starting torque and speed control such as lifts, pumps, winding machines, printing presses, line shafts, elevators and compressors etc.

6,000 kW slip ring induction motor for compressor test bench
6,000 kW slip ring induction motor for compressor test bench (photo credit:

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8. Single Phase Synchronous Motor

Because of its constant speed, single phase synchronous motor is used in teleprinters, clocks, all kinds of timing devices, recording instruments, sound recording and reproducing systems.

Synchronous motor / single-phase / IP65
Synchronous motor / single-phase / IP65 (photo credit:

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9. Single Phase Series Motor

It possesses high starting torque and its speed can be controlled over a wide range. Single phase series motor is generally used for driving small domestic appliances like refrigerators and vacuum cleaners etc.

Single-phase Series Motor 1,0 kW; 1000 Watt; 230 V
Single-phase Series Motor 1,0 kW; 1000 Watt; 230 V

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10. Repulsion Motor

It has high starting torque and is capable of wide speed control.

Moreover, it has high speed at high loads. Repulsion motor is commonly used for drives which require large starting torque and adjustable but constant speed as in coil winding machines.

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11. Capacitor Start Induction Run Motor

It has fairly constant speed and moderately high starting torque. Speed control is not possible. Capacitor-start induction-run motor is generally used for compressors, refrigerators and small portable hoists.

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12. Capacitor Start And Run Motor

Its operating characteristics are similar to the above motor except that it has better power factor and higher efficiency. Hence, capacitor-start-and-run motors are commonly used for drives requiring quiet operations.

Hitachi capacitor start capacitor run motor
Hitachi capacitor start capacitor run motor

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Reference // ASHRAE Handbook: Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Systems 2004

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More Information

Edvard Csanyi

Electrical engineer, programmer and founder of EEP. Highly specialized for design of LV/MV switchgears and LV high power busbar trunking (<6300A) in power substations, commercial buildings and industry facilities. Professional in AutoCAD programming.


  1. mudassar nazar khan
    Jul 04, 2020

    always best u r superb

  2. ramzi berkat
    May 13, 2020

    thank you sir
    this so help full
    if there is a group in whatsapp in this domain?

  3. Martin
    Oct 18, 2019

    This is really informative, and handy when you need to choose a type of electric drive.
    It would also be really handy to give a rough price comparison of different power options, as the most cost-effective motor that delivers the drive solution is generally sought.
    eg; generally an SCI motor is used for small appliances, like say, a bench saw. These motors are cheap to produce, but are heavy and not all that efficient.
    A slightly more efficient motor would be a CS (Cap Start) motor, and an even better option would be a CSCR (Cap Start, Cap Run) motor, which also has a higher start torque. This option may come at a price premium though, so may not be the most appropriate.
    So for portable equipment, a series shunt motor would be used, because it’s power to weight ratio is much better.

  4. Aquil peyami
    Sep 13, 2019

    It’s very helpful for me, nice explanation, thanks for this article.

  5. Pulkist muni
    Sep 03, 2019


  6. Vicente Martinez
    Jun 29, 2019

    Excellent article

  7. Deepak Kumar
    Jun 19, 2019

    Thanks, Edvard

  8. Chioma Annabel
    Jun 08, 2019

    Awesome… This is really a helpful aid in the writing of my project. Thanks a lot Sir.

  9. Please provide the details in pdf from. Plz
    Mar 26, 2019

    Excellent subject

  10. moha
    Feb 14, 2019

    It’s very informative

  11. Palanisamy peritanna
    Jan 24, 2019

    It is not covering brushless d.c motors,permanent magnet d.c motors,a c servo-motors,stepper motors etc

  12. Ralph Saliente
    Nov 26, 2018

    very informative to all technical practitioners, like engineers an technicians.

  13. Samar Banik
    Oct 02, 2018

    This article is really very helpful and a reminder of Basics (those we forget with time and work area in the different areas).Thanks a lot

  14. Akshay Chaudhari
    Sep 09, 2018

    Realy Good Information.

  15. Saroj kumar pandit
    Jul 28, 2018


  16. Dnyanesh Lokare
    Jun 15, 2018

    Really good! It’s providing all the important articles for electrical students

  17. YAMAN
    Jan 25, 2018


    Jan 19, 2018

    Good information sir

  19. Kiruba Babu
    Jan 07, 2018

    Good explanation,I have got more than my expectation, your way of explanation (videos) is very good.

  20. Ramesh
    Dec 24, 2016

    Good information

  21. NILESH
    Sep 02, 2016


  22. Industrial Contractors Winnipeg
    Aug 29, 2016

    Great info. There are many differences between these motor types and you really need to dig into the matter to know which one is right for you.

  23. Mayur
    Jun 28, 2016

    Nice article

  24. Kotte anil kumar
    Jun 22, 2016

    Nice information.

  25. Saad
    Jun 22, 2016

    Great article

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