Ecodesign directive: frequency inverters can save money

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Demanding environmental targets within the EU and the rest of the world mean that the regulations concerning motor drives are being tightened up. Companies can benefit, both financially and environmentally, if they know the technical options and stay one step ahead.

By connecting a frequency inverter to their motors now, companies can also take care of the future, thus saving electricity from day one and complying with the law even after 2015.

The Ecodesign directive is an important tool in achieving the EU target of 20 per cent lower energy consumption by 2020. The directive requires Europe to save 383TWh per year from 2020 onwards, with electric motors accounting for a third of this. Here is how it affects companies operating in Europe:

  • On 16 June 2011 the requirement for motors to meet at least the efficiency requirements at level IE2 became law
  • These requirements will be tightened up still further after 1 January 1 2015, when IE3 becomes mandatory from 7.5 to 375kW
  • After 1 January 1 2017, motors with a rated output from 0.75 to 375kW will also have to meet IE3 efficiency requirements
  • Motors controlled by frequency inverters are exempt from the rules on IE3 classification; they will only have to meet IE2 standards even after 2017 because of the optimised operation and energy savings brought by frequency inverters

With smarter operation, any company can comply with these more demanding energy-saving requirements even before the energy authority makes them law. The tougher energy classifications are already a fact. But there is a lot companies can do to stay one step ahead of the regulations.

Improved efficiency throughout the drive system from installing frequency inverters can be a significant factor in reducing energy consumption. The potential energy savings in an optimised system range from 30–60 per cent. Frequency inverter technology has also become more accessible, through higher protection classes (IP66), built-in functionality, a more compact format and competitive pricing.

For further information about frequency inverters, please visit the Beijer Electronics website at

19 November 2012

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