23 Jul 2024


Taking the heat out of motor operation

IE5-efficiency synchronous reluctance motors are becoming the motor of choice for many UK industries, including the water industry, due to their impressive energy savings compared to IE2 or IE3 motors. According to James Thomas, ABB’s UK water industry manager, their lower running temperatures can also help to prolong equipment lives.

Resilience, reducing environmental impact by using less electricity, and lowering CO2 emissions, are three of the key objectives for UK water companies as they head into the 2024 price review (PR24), but these factors are equally challenging across all industries. Synchronous reluctance (SynRM) motors can help to achieve these aims by reducing energy consumption and thus CO2 emissions. They can also deliver significant reliability benefits, helping to prolong equipment lifetimes and to cut total expenditures.

How do they do this? By achieving significantly lower energy losses compared to induction motors. For example, SynRMs have no losses in their rotors. This results in running temperatures that are up to 20% lower. This, together with the motors’ simple rotor structure, reduces the need for servicing and the risk of failure compared to traditional motors.

If a problem occurs, connected monitoring systems can indicate the need for potential repairs, before they result in unplanned downtime. Better still, the noise level of a synchronous reluctance motor is lower than that of a traditional induction motor, resulting in a more comfortable working environment and solving noise pollution issues in public spaces.

Synchronous reluctance motors have low winding temperatures, increasing the reliability and lifetime of the windings. More importantly, because bearing failures are responsible for about 50% of unplanned motor outages, cool-running synchronous reluctance rotors result in much lower bearing temperatures with longer bearing lifespans and extended service intervals.

SynRMs also have a small environmental footprint, they are manufactured without needing rare-earth materials, and have a low carbon footprint over their lifecycle from production until recycling, offering the best low-emission performance in their class. Against the backdrop of spiralling energy prices and the push for sustainability, this means that synchronous reluctance motors have a lot more to offer than energy performance alone.