Baldor’s Robin Cowley claims that a lack of awareness surrounding imminent electric motor efficiency legislation will leave organisations vulnerable. This new legislation mandating minimum electric motor efficiency levels is scheduled to come into force across the EU in June. Manufacturer of electric motors, Baldor, claim that it will have huge implications for machinery OEMs. Fines for non-compliance have already been issued, further highlighting the importance of immediate action for those unprepared organisations.

Baldor believes that as much as a third of the EU’s OEMs are still either wholly or partially unaware that new general purpose AC motors installed from June must meet a minimum efficiency of IE2. IE2 is equivalent to the previous CEMEP ‘EFF1’ standard.

Most OEMs currently use lower efficiency EFF3 or EFF2 grade AC motors. Transitioning equipment designs with higher efficiency motors can involve physical and mechanical interface changes, changes to rotational speeds, thermal issues and starting behaviour. Therefore, OEMs might need up to three months or more to make the upgrade. If an organisation hasn’t started preparations by now, they may be falling short of what is required come June.

The clock is ticking

“We’re sending an SOS message to European OEMs that if they do not start considering the impact of motor efficiency regulations immediately, then there could be negative implications for their sales and market share,” said Baldor’s Robin Cowley.

“When OEMs think about the upgrade to IE2 efficiency levels, we are also suggesting that they consider their strategy for the IE3 efficiency level that’s coming down the track because if they don’t, their competitors might.”

Cowley believes that OEMs who start to offer the best efficiency levels available (IE3) could see their market share grow at the expense of those who merely offer the minimum required.

A challenge from across the pond

This situation is complicated by the US’s recent Energy Independence Security Act (EISA). EISA mandates a minimum efficiency level of ‘NEMA Premium’ for motors imported into the US.

NEMA Premium is equivalent to IE3, which is not due to come into force in the EU until 2015. Cowley expects that some US OEMs could be adopting NEMA Premium as their standard offering for international sales which means that much imported equipment could offer end users a significantly faster payback in terms of reduced energy consumption than equipment sourced from the EU.

Cowley concluded, “For some simple items of equipment such as pumps or fans, the motor is a significant proportion of the bill of materials and US competitors might offer a lower spec IE2 alternative in the EU. However, where a motor is only a small proportion of larger equipment, on a conveyor system for example, US competitors have the opportunity to offer premium efficiency as standard. This puts them in a position to gain market share here in Europe.”