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A third of OEMs may be unaware of motor changes

02 February, 2011

Many UK machine-builders are still not aware that they will have to start using high-efficiency IE2 motors in their machines from June of this year, a motor industry expert has warned. Robin Cowley, industrial marketing manager for Baldor in the EU, estimates that about 30% of OEMs are not aware of the changes that could radically affect the design of their machines.

For example, the new motors could be a different size and have different mechanical and electrical interfaces to the motors the OEMs are currently using. They could also have different thermal and starting characteristics, operate at different speeds, and need different forms of protection.

Cowley (above) reckons that it could take at least three months for machine-builders to adapt their designs to the IE2 motors. This means that they would have to start work soon to be ready for the July deadline.

Cowley warns that this lack of awareness could make some UK OEMs vulnerable to competition from suppliers from markets such as the US where machine-builders are already using premium-efficiency machines to comply with local legislation. Minimum motor efficiencies equivalent to IE3 (higher than Europe’s IE2 minimum) have been in force in the US since December.

“Where a motor is only a small proportion of some larger equipment – on a conveyor system, for example – US competitors have the opportunity to offer premium efficiency as standard,” Cowley points out. “This potentially puts them in a position to gain market share here in Europe.”

He argues that it might be sensible for UK OEMs to consider using IE3 motors now, even they won’t be required to do so by law before 2015. Although IE3 motors are more expensive than their IE2 equivalents, their higher efficiency results in quicker paybacks.

Cowley cites the example of an 11kW, four-pole motor operating for 8,000 hours a year. An IE3 version would cost around £640, while an IE3 version would be £800. The IE2 motor would cut electricity costs by around £180 a year compared a poor-efficiency IE1 motor, thus taking 3.5 years to pay for itself. But the IE3 version would save £800 a year, and would pay for itself in just 2.6 years.

EU figures show that an IE2 motor of this size would save around €2,700 in running costs over a 15-year lifetime compared to an IE1 motor, while an IE3 motor would save around €4,600.

“We`re sending an SOS message to European OEMs that if they do not start considering the impact of motor efficiency regulations immediately, then there could be negative implications for their sales and market share,” Cowley says. “And when OEMs think about the upgrade to IE2 efficiency levels, we are also suggesting that they consider their strategy for the IE3 efficiency level that`s coming down the track because if they don`t, their competitors might – and could steal a march.”

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