The Standard vs. Custom Electric Motor Difference

May 8, 2013

If asked to define the difference between a standard motor and an electric custom motor, most engineers will not only give the meanings by definition, but will include opinions of the implied meanings of these words.

Groschopp Custom MotorsThe word “custom” can bring to mind different connotations like expensive, long lead times, or experimental. Conversely, the next person may see custom as innovative, made to fit, or designed around specification. Connotations that are applied to the definition of “standard” vary from less expensive, short lead times, and proven design to improper performance to requires modification for application. While these viewpoints can both be correct, depending on the degree of customization, an explanation of how a motor gets its custom or standard labeling is needed.

 How a Standard Motor is Defined

The process to qualify a motor as “standard” starts by determining the frame or envelope size; this may be the result of market interest feedback or the growth of “custom” motor volume via OEM opportunities that is converted to a standard product. Either way, within the defined frame size there are limitless modifications that can be made. For example, a permanent magnet DC motor with a given shell or envelope size has several customizable components like lead wires, output shafts, mountings, armature windings (performance), brake/encoder options and IP ratings to name a few. Manufacturers will narrow down these options into a handful of units and define them as standard motor offerings. A simple change from standard, like different gauge wire, could make the motor custom. From the listed options you can see how quickly these modifications multiply. While it doesn’t make sense to offer all options as standard, systems can be put in place to offer customers as many options possible in the shortest lead time possible.

 Electric Custom Motor Does Not = Risk

A custom motor doesn’t necessarily imply a long lead time, additional expense, or experimental. In fact, most times the modifications made to standard product can actually reduce the overall project duration and cost by reducing the number of sample iterations.  Custom should not be a scary word when it comes to electric motors because of all the available options. Don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what you need, you may be surprised how quickly we can accommodate you.

 >>Looking for an electric custom motor?  Call us today and ask about our FAST TRACK department, specializing in customizing motors to fit your needs without the long lead times. Offerings include everything from special leads, shaft modifications, and various mounting options to adding brakes, encoders and features for sealing. Often, custom motors can ship within 48hrs.

For more about motor selection, read our blog series on motor selection, or check out our motor selection whitepaper.

How to use the Motor Search Tool

Narrow your search by selecting motor type, gearbox, voltage, and phase options for your desired motor.

Select a dominant variable: choose one of the three parameters to narrow your search. The selected variable determines which slider bar you will be able to manually move.

Use the slider corresponding to your dominant variable to further narrow your motor selection. The other sliders will automatically move to show available ranges based on the range of your selected variable.

Results will upload as your search criteria changes. If you have any questions regarding your results or how to use the search tool, you can chat with us using the green tab on the left-hand side of your screen.

Note: Groschopp Universal motors are custom built to fit your application so no additional options are available to narrow the search. Selecting the Universal motor type will prompt a message taking you to the Universal product page.

Not sure what you need?

One of our team members would be happy to help. Contact us at 800-829-4135 or by email at You can also chat with us using the green tab on the left side of your screen.

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Universal Motors

Groschopp Universal motors are custom built to fit your application so no additional options are available to narrow the search. Standard frame sizes and motor features can be found on the Universal page.

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