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15 October, 2019

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Hazardous area motors join high-efficiency trend

17 September, 2019

The trend in motors is for higher efficiencies and the spotlight is now falling on hazardous area motors intended for explosive atmospheres. Rob Wood, ABB’s business line manager for motors and generators, describes what forthcoming legislative changes are likely to mean for motor users.

Hazardous area motors are currently exempt from the European Union’s MEPS scheme, which lays down minimum efficiency for various types and sizes of motors. This means there is no requirement on manufacturers to improve the efficiency of these motors and many are less efficient than they could be.

This has all changed with a planned new EU Directive: Energy efficiency – eco design requirements for electric motors. 

From 1 July 2021, hazardous area motors rated at from 0.75kW to 1MW must have an efficiency of at least IE3.

What does this mean for the industry and for users?

For OEMs and end-users, it’s business as usual – you won’t have to replace motors to conform to the new regulations. Just be aware that any new hazardous area motors you purchase after the deadline must be IE3 or higher. 

It is mainly the motor manufacturers who need to pay attention – the regulation stipulates that after 1 July, 2021, motors offered for sale in the specified ranges must be rated IE3.

A change that OEMs and end-users do need to be aware of is the reclassification of non-sparking motors. Non-sparking motors are one of four types of hazardous area motors (alongside increased safety, flameproof and dust-ignition-proof). Last year they were reclassified as a type of increased safety motor. As a result, increased safety motors now comprise two levels of classification: Ex eb (previously Ex e (increased safety) motors) for Zone 1, and Ex ec (previously Ex nA (non-sparking) motors) for Zone 2.  

And what of that seemingly perennial subject of Brexit? There is a draft new UK ‘Ex’ scheme based on the same system as Atex in the EU. There will be little practical effect, except that “EU” is replaced by “UK” and the CE mark is replaced with the “UK Mark” 1. 

So, don’t worry – instead, rest assured that your increased safety applications will also soon be enjoying the benefit of high-efficiency motors. 

Footnote: 

1 The Product Safety and Metrology etc. (Amendement etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019: 




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