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What do the new efficiency regulations mean for you?

15 October, 2021

New regulations on efficiency levels for motors and VSDs came into effect in July. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for industrial automation, examines the changes and their implications for motor and drives users.

The past two years have been a whirlwind of events, to say the least. The recent fuel shortage crisis could not have arrived at a more inconvenient time. But manufacturers must not forget to prepare themselves for looming regulatory and legislative changes.

In early September, BEIS announced a one-year extension (until 1 January, 2023) to using the CE mark in the UK. This was music to our ears because it had been a subject of ongoing debate among our members, and there were numerous examples of companies which were having major difficulties in transitioning from CE to UKCA marking – for example, those with many product variants, small/awkward shaped products, or where the the UK’s test capacity was limited or non-existent.

Alongside all of the ongoing pressures from the pandemic, many companies would not have been ready in time for the original CE to UKCA transition date. We were able to pass these examples on to BEIS to help demonstrate how our industry was struggling. We are more than grateful for the extension.

In parallel with this, from July 2021, the Ecodesign Regulation (EU) 2019/1781 has set out stringent new efficiency requirements for electric motors and VSDs, essentially expanding on the rules that were in place previously. The aim is to improve efficiency and cut CO2 emissions. It means that OEMs will have to move towards more efficient motors, ideally in combination with VSDs, which will ultimately improve the running of machinery and cut costs.

But what are the implications for manufacturers? The changes to low-voltage induction motors rated at under 1,000V AC came into effect from 1 July. Mandatory minimum efficiency levels have been raised and now cover more motors, as well as including VSDs which the previous regulations did not. Then, from 1 July, 2023, the scope of motors covered will be widened even further, with some motors having much higher efficiency requirements.

This will be implemented in the UK, but under a different name. The regulations apply to single-speed, three-phase motors, with frequencies of 50, 60 or dual 50/60Hz, for operation in continuous duty.

One of the significant changes is that the regulations can no longer be satisfied by using an IE2 motor with a VSD, and AC drives must also now comply with the IE2 efficiency level.

Various types of motor and drive are exempt from the regulations. To ensure that you are fully up-to-date, you need to read them thoroughly. Any unanswered questions should be asked sooner, rather than later.

The regulation applies separately to drives and to motors. Those who have previously benefitted from pairing an IE2 motor with a VSD, must now use IE3 motors. And it is also important to know that the responsibility lies with machine-builders to ensure that all the requirements are covered in the documentation they provide with their machines.

It is evident that the energy-saving requirements will help to improve efficiency. They will allow greater machine control and hopefully an improvement in output. By avoiding excessive speeds, downtime and the need for repairs and maintenance will also be reduced. On top of this, there is massive potential for benefitting the environment by complying with the latest regulation, as a minimum.

At Gambica, we have experts who can help to answer any questions regarding the new regulations and advise on how to tackle any changes required. I have merely touched on a couple of the changes with the aim of reminding those who are aware of the looming deadlines. Our experts, along with Gambica’s technical director, can help you to understand the regulatory changes.


To get involved, or if you have a question regarding standards, regulations, compliance or legislation, then get in touch with us via our Web site.

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