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Are you au fait with the latest motor regulations?

26 February 2017

All new motors placed on the market, from 0.75kW to 375kW, must now meet the mandatory IE3 efficiency level. Food Processing finds out more. 

January 1, 2017 marked a milestone year for electric motors. All motors rated from 0.75 kW to 375 kW now need to meet either the IE3 efficiency level (driven direct online) or the IE2 level if fitted with a variable-speed drive (VSD). 

This move is expected to result in the existing 30 million industrial motors in Europe gradually being replaced under the Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) scheme; resulting in electricity savings of 5.5 billion kilowatt-hours each year and a corresponding reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 3.4 million tonnes.

MEPS can offer benefits for the end user as it can help enhance a plant’s productivity. The energy costs of a 110 kW motor, for example, will represent up to 99% of its overall lifecycle costs. By increasing the efficiency of a motor, the energy consumption can be significantly reduced – and along with it, the associated costs. 

Although IE3 motors typically carry a 10 to 20% cost premium over that of IE2 motors, payback of this extra cost can be achieved in under two years. Take, for example, a typical 200 kW 4-pole motor running at 8,000 hours a year with an electricity cost of 0.1 euro/ kWhr. An IE2 motor would cost 169,521 euros in annual running costs, while the IE3 would cost 167,945 euros, providing a saving of 1,576 euros a year or 131 euros a month. Payback for this premium would be achieved within two years.

When looking at the motors currently installed, those working for 7,000 to 8,000 hours a year should receive particular attention. These are costing the most and may be due for replacement, so are ideal candidates for replacing with IE3 standard motors. The regulations do not currently cover motors rated at over 1,000 V, motors intended for explosive atmospheres, and brake motors.

To find out more about what motors you have installed check the motor rating plate and read the Declaration of Conformity, which should show compliance with the Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC and Regulation 640/2009. The rating plate should be stamped with the efficiency class – IE2 as a minimum if the motor is to be used with a VSD and IE3 if the motor is to be direct-on-line (DOL) fed – and efficiency values. The IE class stamped on the plate must be based on the lowest efficiency value at the rated voltage/frequency/output combination shown on the rating plate. IE2 motors must also have a marking to indicate that they can be used only with a VSD. 

Also check your existing spares, as it would not be beneficial to replace a failed motor with an inefficient motor. Manufacturers and repair shops can repair or rewind motors and return them to the customer after the requirements come into force and this is not considered to be ’placing on the market’ so the requirements do not apply. However, do carefully consider the advantages of replacing the motor rather than having it rewound. Each rewind normally reduces a motor’s efficiency. If not properly carried out the reduction can be as much as 3% or more, and in the worst case the motor may not be used at its rated power.

When total life cycle costs are taken into account, a new high-efficiency motor is generally a better alternative than rewinding. Remember that the initial purchase cost of a motor is typically only 1 to 2% of the total cost of ownership.


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