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ABB welcomes new efficiency requirements for low voltage motors

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Thursday 16 June marked an important milestone for the energy efficiency of low-voltage (LV) motors in Europe.

ABB has welcomed the European Union’s (EU’s) introduction of minimum efficiency levels for LV motors, as the new requirements are in-line with ABB’s focus on providing customers with high efficiency motors both for the NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) market in the U.S. and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) market throughout the rest of the world. Industry accounts for about 42% of the world’s electricity consumption and about two-thirds of that electricity is used to power electric motors, so any regulation to improve energy efficiency of motors will have a significant impact on energy usage and help reduce carbon emissions.

The requirements, in the form of Commission Regulation EC 640/2009, came into effect on 16 June 2011. Generally referred to as EU MEPS (Minimum Energy Performance Standard), the requirements cover most two, four and six pole motors in the power range 0.75-375 kW (kilowatt) for alternating current (AC) power supply frequencies of 50 and 60 Hz (Hertz).

All motors covered by EU MEPS to be placed on the European market after 16 June must achieve a minimum International Efficiency standard level 2 (IE2). Some motors, such as motors for explosive atmospheres, are currently excluded from EU MEPS, but ABB anticipates these types of motors will have to comply with standard IEC 60034-30 and have therefore provided such motors with IE markings.

The second stage of EU MEPS will apply from January 2015. The minimum requirement for motors with output powers above 7.5 kW will have to achieve IE3 efficiency levels or IE2 if combined with a variable-speed drive (VSD). The third stage of EU MEPS, which will apply from January 2017, will extend the requirement to achieve IE3 efficiency levels or IE2 with a variable speed drive to include motors down to 0.75 kW power output.

“ABB will not offer, sell or deliver IE1 CE marked products in any markets across the globe from 16 June 2011 onwards,” says Ulrich Spiesshofer, head of ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division. “ABB will ensure that it complies with the regulations under all circumstances.”

Even though EU MEPS covers the European market only, other countries like Australia, China, Brazil and Canada have already implemented similar energy efficiency schemes. In the USA, the requirement for NEMA Premium (equal to IE3 efficiency) has been in effect since the end of 2010. ABB can now offer a full range of NEMA Premium certified Baldor motors to satisfy these regulations.

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