GLEN ELLYN, IL — Where do you turn if you have a tough question about a particular motor replacement? You might want to start with your wholesale-distributor. Many contractors have already forged strong bonds with their local countermen and rely on them to give advice about problems or new products.

One distributor that prides itself on this strong bond between contractor and counterman is Dreisilker Electric Motors. This 45-year-old stocking distributor specializes in motors and motor accessories. Its inventory includes new electric motors and hard-to-find foreign motor parts, as well as motor controls, adjustable-speed drives, power transmission equipment, and other related accessories.

While the company’s eight brick-and-mortar stores are spread out from Central Illinois to Northwest Indiana to the Wisconsin border, it’s now possible to tap its motor knowledge online. A recently launched website (www.emotor is designed to help contractors everywhere with their motor needs.

Entering e-commerce

With its successful distributorship in the Chicago area, one might wonder why Dreisilker felt the need to jump online.

“We felt it was a natural expansion of the services that we already offer without actually having to put branches around the country,” says Tony Ventura, marketing manager. “We feel that the site itself is getting across the service we can offer — the technical expertise we have, as well as a wide variety of motors.”

The site itself is easy to navigate, giving contractors the ability to select a motor based on brand name, application, manufacturer number, or name plate data. If there are questions, it’s possible to contact Dreisilker via e-mail or 800 number for information. Ventura states that provided it’s normal working hours, contractors should receive responses to their e-mails within minutes. For emergencies, the company is available 24 hrs a day via phone.

Since most contractors need their motors yesterday, quick delivery is offered. Ron Zaker, manager of branch sales, believes that their expert advice will keep contractors coming back, either in person or online.

“Contractors pick our brains, and they won’t ever forget where they got the right answer.”

Not afraid to give advice

Contractors aren’t the only ones seeking information at Dreisilker — the counterpeople are looking to the contractor for information as well.

One of the first questions asked when a contractor comes in is, “What type of application is this motor for?” Even if the contractor states the exact type of motor he wants, the people at Dreisilker ask a few questions just to make sure they’re providing the correct motor.

Zaker notes that contractors are generally very good at describing an application, because a lot of their work is repetitive. But if the contractor isn’t clear, it’s possible that a Dreisilker person will even go to a site to take a look at the application. That doesn’t happen too often, though.

Where contractors usually need help in the field is in regard to variable-frequency drives (vfd’s). To help these contractors, Dreisilker has a group of vfd technical specialists who do go onsite and help specify the correct product.

Ventura says that contractors aren’t real comfortable with vfd’s yet, so more education is required. To help, the wholesaler offers free training programs after hours at their site. “There’s a strong demand for the education, and we are experts,” notes Ventura.

Even if a contractor appears comfortable, the Dreisilker experts may still offer advice. That advice might concern another motor that would be better for a particular application, because like any other product, contractors often have a preference for a certain brand name.

Zaker notes that it’s sometimes hard to change a contractor’s mind, but their staff works hard at it if they believe it will serve the contractor better. “We’ve gone as far as letting them try it. We say, ‘Here you go, try it. You tell us if you like it,’” says Zaker.

Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance is another topic that Dreisilker people often bring up to contractors. Ventura notes that contractors with large commercial and industrial accounts are usually aware of the benefits of predictive maintenance.

“Those contractors usually want to know about lubrication and belt tensioning. They realize that with proper maintenance, they don’t have to go back as often.”

Smaller contractors who work on light commercial applications usually aren’t as knowledgeable about predictive maintenance. Ventura notes that they usually just remind these contractors to tell the end-user to lubricate the motor, if it’s possible, and change the filters.

Part of the problem is that many building owners are cutting back on maintenance staffs, or eliminating them completely. So even if a contractor were to perform the maintenance, there might not be anyone onsite to implement what is recommended.

For those contractors looking for help with predictive maintenance, Dreisilker offers these services as well, including vibration analysis and thermography. The company often works as a third party to contractors, going out and testing the motors if the contractor feels there’s a problem.

“We can also come in and identify some predictive maintenance procedures, and the contractor can take care of it himself,” says Ventura.

All these services really set Dreisilker apart from the others, says Ventura. “We offer the service. We are motor replacement experts. We can tell the customer what he needs. We do it by application specification, not by pointing at a number in a catalog.”