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What Are Industrial Motors and Their Types?

Motors are electro-mechanical devices that convert energy into motion. The energy is usually electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic while the motion is either rotational or linear. In particular, electrical motors include the AC and DC varieties, which can be further categorized into specific special purpose electrical motors such as gearmotors, stepper motors, servo motors, and linear motors.

Meanwhile, pneumatic and hydraulic motors rely on fluids such as oil and air for their motive power. Chemical motors, on the other hand, feature outboard motors for use on boats and rocket motors. With this in mind, it is clear that there are a wide variety of industrial motors, some of which will be outlined in this blog, allowing you to better understand their function and purpose.

AC Motors

AC motors are powered by alternating current in order to generate rotational motion which can drive other rotating parts such as pumps. Their frame is customizable, usually offering a range of power values. Enclosures, on the other hand, can range from simple open designs to explosion-proof, non-ventilated designs, and totally enclosed, fan-cooled (TEFC) designs serve as the most commonly used types. As AC motors make up a large portion of motors in use today, they are available in two distinct configurations: single-phase and three-phase.

Single-phase motors are most commonly implemented in fractional HP ranges. This type of motor is not self-starting and is typically grouped by its starting method. With the split phase motor serving as the most widely used single-phase type, it utilizes two stator windings to achieve a pair of unbalanced winding currents, with the auxiliary winding dropping out as the motor reaches synchronous speed.

Three-phase units are categorized by rotor design, featuring either a squirrel cage or wound rotor configuration. Squirrel-cage designs utilize copper or aluminum rotor bars shorted by end rings. Wound rotors use an equal number of wire-wound rotor poles and stator poles, and slip rings are used to provide a means of inserting resistance for starting and varying speed. 

DC Motors

In contrast, DC motors are powered by direct current to produce rotational motion that drives other rotating elements such as hoists at varying speeds. As their wiring arrangements can be customized to produce strong, slow-speed torque, DC motors work well as traction motors for locomotives. Nonetheless, they have been replaced by variable-frequency controlled motors. 

Within the toy and consumer goods manufacturing realm, DC motors are used increasingly by automakers. Moreover, they are often implemented in elevators, electric forklifts, and conveyors, where continuous torque loads are customary. It is important to note that DC motors are available as brushed and brushless types.

Traditional brushed DC motors can be further classified by the excitation used in the field winding with the three main variations being shunt, series, and compound motors. Shunt motors are characterized by a low starting torque, low overload capacity, minimal speed variation in response to loads, and poor stability at zero load. Conversely, series motors consist of a high starting torque, high overload capacity, notable speed variation in response to loads, and ample stability at zero load. Lastly, compound motors share the unique characteristics of the former two motor types with the exception of maintaining stability at zero load like series motors.


Powered by either alternating or direct current, gear motors produce rotational motion which is then stepped down through an integral gearhead to drive rotating machines like conveyors or packaging machines.

Stepper Motors

Stepper motors are exclusively powered by alternating current to generate rotational motion and positioning. They achieve position control by turning the motor rotor with a discrete amount of steps.


This variety of electro-mechanical devices are powered by either alternating or direct current to produce rotational motion and positioning. They utilize a feedback loop to control the radial position of the motor rotor with relation to its stator. Furthermore, they find use in positioning applications that necessitate smooth, controllable motion.

Linear Motors

Lastly, linear motors are powered by alternating or direct current to generate linear motion. This type of motion is useful in applications where an air cylinder is utilized, precision is important, and positional feedback is required.


If you find yourself in need of electric motors or other related machines, rely on Stacked Industrials. Stacked Industrials is a premier distributor of industrial parts and equipment which has been vetted for quality, reliability, and functionality. Peruse our ever-expanding listings with ease, and request a quote on any item that sparks your interest. Within 15 minutes of submitting a Request for Quote form, a dedicated representative will reach out with a customized solution that works for you.


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