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New environmental requirements for the design of electric motors in Europe

Did you know that energy equates to approximately 97% of an electric motors operating cost and that motors account for 70% of industrial energy usage?

It should therefore, be no surprise that as of July 2021, a new EU regulation will come into effect that places more stringent energy efficiency controls on electric motors.

Previously, the energy efficiency of Low Voltage AC motors was categorised by a globally applicable set of efficiency classifications and a series of energy efficiency regulations that all motors had to comply with. These classifications are based on the international IEC/EN 60034-30-1 Standard, which defines Classes IE0 to IE4 for electric motors (single and three phase) with 2, 4,6 or 8 poles.

These efficiency classes allow manufacturers to perform energy-related comparisons between the various electric motors currently on the market and determine the extent that each motors can help to reduce their plants overall energy consumption.

However, to counter the future impact of climate change as well as the rising C02 emissions being emitted into the atmosphere from industrial businesses, the EU member states as well as various organisations have created a new regulation that places more stringent requirements on the energy-efficient operation of electric motors.

So what is this new regulation that will come into effect in July 2021?

This new regulation: 1781/2019/EU, which replaces its predecessor - 640/2009/EC, will define the minimum requirements called MEPS (Minimum Efficiency Performance Standards) for single-speed and three phase motors.

In addition, under the new rules, several induction motors that were previously not covered will be also regulated, including:

  • smaller motors between 120W and 750W
  • larger motors between 375kW and 1000kW

The level of requirement will also increase, as three-phase motors with a rated output between 0.75kW and equal to or below 1000kW must reach the IE3 level by July 2021. Motors between 75kW and 200kW must meet the IE4 level as of July 2023.

Furthermore, 1781/2019/EU will now regulate the efficiency of variable speed drives and both product groups will be subject to information requirements such as efficiency at different load points, in terms of speed and torque. This will help engineers to optimise the efficiency of their entire systems.

Finally, a more efficient motor can generate savings ranging from a few £’s to several tens of thousands £’s over its lifetime, depending on its power and usage pattern.

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So if you are looking to decrease your plants overall energy consumption costs and are looking to make the switch to a more energy efficient system, contact your local Underwoods branch to see how we can help you to better prepare for this regulation that comes into effect next year.  

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