From 1st July this year, the new phase of the ErP directive will come into force for electric motors. With this ecodesign directive, Europe wants to encourage manufacturers to bring more energy-efficient products onto the market. This article, authored by Lenze motor expert Florian Breker, sheds light on an important milestone for machine and system designers, builders and integrators
For the first time, motors with a power of 0.12kW to 0.55 kW will now be subject to new energy requirements, and machine builders will have to think about how the new motors can fit into their designs. It is a challenge they will not have to take up alone, because here at Lenze we’re doing everything to make the changeover as easy as possible for machine designers, builders, system integrators and end users.
Since 2009, Europe has been taking steps to reduce the energy consumption of electric motors. The fact that these motors represent an important part of the energy bill across industry has everything to do with that. But what makes the new phase, (starting in July 2021) so special is that for the first time, electric motors with small capacities are also targeted (IE2) and many exceptions in the already existing efficiency class IE3 will disappear at the same time. About 70% of the energy consumption of industrial drive systems consists of the mechanical and electrical components such as motors and actuators. They are therefore an important element in the quest for improving energy efficiency. Today, due to a multitude of exceptions that are still permitted, only one in ten machine builders uses IE3 motors.
Fortunately, we have until 1st July to work with machine builders to achieve the new CE approval for their machines. The call for more energy efficiency is not a European monopoly, by the way. "Worldwide, there is also a clear trend towards IE2 and IE3," adds Marc Vissers, strategic marketing manager EMEA WEST at Lenze. "We therefore help machine builders who export to come up with a single design that complies with the requirements throughout the world. These new regulations are also the perfect stepping stone to standardise machines more."
Lenze Change-over tool for easy new motor selection
Lenze realises that this transition requires a serious effort from machine builders, and as result the company is doing everything possible to keep the threshold as low as possible. First of all in the design of our own components: in order to make integration as smooth as possible, we have designed the motors more efficiently without making big leaps, and we have also tried to optimise the length. For example, with our brand new integrated encoder system. But we can't ignore the electrical differences in the motors to improve energy performance. Lenze has developed an online change-over tool that points users in the direction of the best fitting, most energy-efficient motor based on existing parameters. Marc Vissers observes "The idea behind it was to help our customers choose exactly which motor they needed, without having to go through all the catalogues themselves. Now, an alternative is proposed based on the existing engine, complete with item number, step file and all the possible technical documents. It is a tool that has been used extensively in recent months. And of course, our experts are always on hand for further technical advice”.
View the entire driveline
A new motor, a machine design that may or may not be adapted - there will be additional costs that machine builders prefer not to pass on to their customers. Lenze therefore recommends to look beyond just replacing the motor. To go one efficiency class higher, you have to add about 20% of the cost of the motor. Ultimately, the motor only contributes around 10% of a machine's full savings potential. Take this opportunity to take a technological look at your entire machine. Technology has not stood still in recent years. “Drive sizing is a good example of this. It has often grown historically, but there is a lot of potential for savings by reviewing an entire drive train. 80-90% of the savings potential lies in efficient drive dimensioning, use of frequency converters, efficient motion control and use of braking energy. We are happy to make the Drive Solution Designer Tool available to Lenze customers free of charge for this purpose," Vissers points out.
“If you can reduce the cost of maintenance for end users or reduce the complexity of the operation, they will be more willing to pay the extra cost, especially if you can demonstrate that you can also create a lot of added value by adding new features. A system solution with Lenze controllers and the various software applications available can help to implement this quickly and easily in a machine. We see the obligation of ErP directive change as an opportunity to create even more added value to build future proof machines for the end users" concludes Marc Vissers.