Legislation impacts on energy efficient motors industry uptake

20th May 2016 By: Sebastian Whyle - journalist

Legislation impacts on energy  efficient motors industry uptake

VISUALISING EFFICIENCY The demonstration rig provides a clear representation of the differences in efficiency levels between motors

Electric motors manufacturer Zest WEG Group says the uptake of new efficiency-increasing technology in the local electric motor manufacturing sec- tor has been slow, owing to the lack of regu- lation and legislation.

Zest WEG Group external sales manager Francois Labuschagne explains that elec- tric motors consume about 40% of electricity supplied globally. “With consumption at this level, any increase in efficiency would make a tangible difference to global energy consumption.”

Therefore, to reduce energy consumption while raising the standard of efficiency for such products, many countries have introduced legislation.

Unfortunately, Labuschagne laments that the South African lawmakers have not kept up with this trend; subsequently, the pace of innovation in the electric motor manufacturing sector tends to be slow.

He adds that this has also meant that many industrial plants, sites and commercial spaces have not been able to implement energy efficient systems. Owners and users of these suboptimally efficient motors are guilty of unnecessarily high-energy consumption and overspend on grid-supplied power.

However, Labuschagne points out that not all manufacturers have taken a laissez faire approach towards efficiency optimisation. Zest’s continuing research and development, funded by investments of 2.8% of WEG group’s yearly turnover, has enabled the company to manufacture and distribute high-quality products that conform to international efficiency standards.

Zest has developed IE3 electric motors for the African market, which are supplied at the same price as the less efficient IE2 electric motors.

“By replacing the IE2 motors with more efficient IE3 motors, consumers are not only saving money in the long run but also reducing the environmental impacts on their operations,” he tells Engineering News.

Labuschagne stresses that buyers should be aware that electric motors have varying efficiencies and, as a result, the operational costs of these motors will differ between manufac- turers and models.

Therefore, to make the choice clearer for prospective buyers, the Zest marketing team has designed and constructed two demonstration units that can depict accurately and clearly the difference in energy consumption and yearly operational costs between generic electric motors and the Zest premium efficient electric motors.

“The demonstration models, designed by product and pro- ject manager Fanie Steyn, consist of a generic motor, a WEG IE1 motor, a WEG IE2 motor, a WEG IE3 motor, a WEG IE4 motor and, although it has not been defined by IEC as yet, WEG has already designed the next generation WEG IE5 motor and it has been incorporated in the demonstration unit. The electric motors are linked through a drive shaft, with a fan keeping the mechanical power output constant. The setup allows for the input of the estimated cost of power per kilowatt-hour, as well as the running time of the motors per week. After a brief test run of each motor, the system can calculate the yearly running costs of the unit,” he explains.

Labuschagne mentions that the level of savings offered by the new motors is such that replac- ing the older generic motors with the new line of IE3 motors would be a cost-saving endeavour, as the monthly savings generated by the motors will exceed the purchase price in less than a year.

“The IE3 electric motors have been designed and built for the African market, as they boast features that would not be found on similar products in European markets. The ingress protection has been increased to IP66, a patented W3 shaft seal has been included, insulation has been upped to Class H and the motors are 100% variable speed drive compatible,” he elaborates.

Moreover, Zest’s confidence in the new line of motors is reflected in its extension of the guarantee period to five years. The Zest WEG Group also supplies IE4 motors, which consume power even more efficiently than IE3 motors, upon special request, says Labuschagne.

Zest is preparing to exhibit demonstrations of its range of motors at Nampo and WISA – both taking place next month – and at Electra Mining Africa taking place in September.