Thursday, 27 March 2014

Ian Allan, ABB's UK Business Unit Manager for Motors and Generators, writes: The 1st January 2015 might seem a long way off, but the clock is slowly ticking away until the new IE3 motor efficiency standard become law on this date*.  This makes action now a much more pro-active way of managing the impact the new efficiency standards will have on your production facilities, rather than waiting to act until the last minute.

When it comes to those who use motors, some blue chip end-users such as oil and gas processors and water companies are already specifying IE3 for their latest motor projects, with some thinking even farther ahead and going straight for the super premium efficiency IE4 products. For end-users, IE3 motors carry approximately a 15-20 percent premium above the purchase cost of IE2 motors, but offer an attractive two year payback - the leap to IE4 carries a similar premium.

The crux is that the end-user pays the electricity bill, so anything that can reduce that energy cost is well worth having. If end-users definitely want an IE3 motor, they need to specify them explicitly to ensure they get what they want, otherwise they run the risk of getting what distributors want to deliver.

End-users should also beware of going for the lowest common denominator. If they need an IE3 motor, they should consider maximising efficiency by going for an IE4. If they need to use a VSD in the process, go for IE3 and a drive to maximise savings.

Another important aspect for end-users is their motor management policy. Now is an ideal time to review it and it certainly should be reviewed if not done so in recent years.  One of the major changes should be to the procurement policy, explicitly stating that IE3 motors are preferred. In the past, IE3 motors were not readily available but are now much easier to procure in the event of a breakdown. 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 to run and may be due for replacement, so are ideal candidates for replacing with IE3 standard motors.

Above all, don’t leave it to others to sort out. Last August, the government made it mandatory to specify IE3 to qualify for Enhanced Capital Allowances. This is the only carrot on offer, a fact few are aware of.

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 you comply.

*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)

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