Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Ian Allan, ABB's UK Business Unit Manager for Motors and Generators, writes: Although 1st January 2015 seems a long way off, there is actually less than 12 months to go to a time when IE3 motors become mandatory. Motors placed on the market after this date, with a rated output between 7.5 - 375 kW, shall have a minimum efficiency class of IE3, or minimum IE2 if they are operated or equipped with electronic speed control, essentially a variable-speed drive (VSD).

All parties need to be thinking ahead.  What do the changes to IE3 mean if you are a manufacturer, distributor or a machine builder?

The legislation is really intended for motor manufacturers and while the household names of the motor industry may be prepared, others may not be so well advanced. Although some of the larger players already have an IE3 range, many of the smaller manufacturers may need to use a variable-speed drive with an IE2 motor to get the requisite efficiency ratings. The change to IE3 means a significant investment for manufacturers and while production processes may not change much, there will be costs for redesign of products, new tooling and more material. Manufacturers however, were given fair warning and even in the standard specifying IE2 as the minimum, the IE3 legislation was flagged up by the European Commission.

Distributors should be aiming to replenish stock with IE3 motors now, getting a step ahead of competitors in their local markets. Come the deadline, they could be left with stocks of IE2 motors on their shelves and although they can sell these motors as they have already been placed on the market, why would end-users want anything but the state of the art? Being stuck with large stocks of unwanted motors could be a very expensive mistake to make.

OEMs and machine builders face their own challenges here. They should be gearing up to use IE3 motors in their solutions and should be specific with their suppliers about what they want and what they do not want. They should also look at how the change will affect their logistics and supply chain and need to get advice from a reputable manufacturer to ensure they get what is right for them and their market.

The regulations are coming – don’t be the one taken by surprise.

Contact the ABB Energy & Productivity Team to discuss your IE3 motor management strategy and ensure your suppliers are working with you to bring your efficiency standards in-line.

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