In 2006, the United States Department of Energy conducted a study based on the total energy consumption of motor-driven machinery and equipment in the country. For instance, electric motors in various industries consumed at least 17% of the energy in the nation. Considering the issues on climate change and the need for energy independence, it is only right that more people should start working towards regulating energy efficiency of motors. The constant operation is the main feature of motor efficiency, which means it should not result in a stop-start kind of motion.
Efficiency Standards for Electric Motors
Energy efficiency is a major factor that contributes not only to your bottom line but also as a way of meeting guidelines set by the US Department of Energy. Some industries are now using permanent-magnet motors to support machine builders in delivering a higher level of performance and efficiency in motors that operate on a continuous basis. This type of motor is also an excellent choice instead of efficiency-compliant induction motors.
In the U.S, the Energy Policy Act was formed in 1992, which began the regulation of motor efficiency through the Integral Horsepower Rule or the Electric Motor Rule. However, the US Energy Independence and Security Association Act of 2007 did upgrades to this regulation. As a result, the NEMA Premium Efficiency levels are expected to be met by general purpose motors that are at 1 to 200 horsepower. There is also a broader mandate, which implements all requirements for energy efficiency to additional 1 to 200-hp motor types, as well as general purpose motors at 201 to 500 hp.
Energy efficiency is also getting better as newer techniques designed to boost efficiency are being introduced. The use of more copper windings, lower-loss types of electrical steel and more cast steel rotors or laminations also help support efficiency. While these changes and enhancements increase costs, these provide opportunities for producing motors that come with larger or longer diameter for the frames. In the case of small motors, this may be an issue. Therefore, it may also impact applications that are space-restricted, which may not completely fit housings with larger sizes.
This is an issue that may be a problem with some companies as smaller motors are required to be positioned in narrow spaces. Once the motor is squeezed in, there is a need to make bigger motors just to ensure efficiency. Unfortunately, purchasing a replacement for this may be a difficult thing to do. There may be a need for OEMs to redesign the equipment just to allow all components to fit. However, the end-customer is likely to suffer since the equipment may cost way more than the new motor needed. Replacing it will not suffice, which means purchasing a brand new equipment may be necessary – and this can add expenses.
End users are at risk of facing several choices, which may also cost a lot on their part. Stockpiling existing motors before the ruling’s effective date may occur, although this can only happen in case there is a prompt action made. Keep in mind, though, that this is not a permanent solution, but only a means to stop the gap in the short-term. Physically altering the system is also possible, yet OEMs who build a new machine, as well as those who merely revise a design platform that is already in existence may undergo significant expenses and difficulty. As for deployed equipment, making any modifications may be challenging.
There is another alternative to completely changing the existing machine, which is by looking for a type of specialty motor. The only thing to consider with this is the fact that having these motors to be used for replacement purposes may be expensive. One cheaper option, however, is the use of permanent magnet motors. While these may be expensive, they are efficient to use, which should outweigh the issue on expenses.
These new regulations may be tough for end-users and OEMs, but by getting involved in these latest versions of standards, the outcome may become realistic and useful to manufacturers. This way, these rules work for concerned businesses and end-users, at the same time. Advanced technologies including a permanent magnet, electronically-commutated motors, and switched reluctance also offers positive effects on your profits and investments over time.