Super premium motors offer even greater energy efficiencies

21 May 2013

Suzanne Gill reports on some ‘super premium’ motors, designed with IEC’s IE4 requirements in mind, for those looking for greater energy efficiency today.

Even though there is not yet an official definition from the IEC regarding specifications for the ‘super premium’ IE4 efficiency motor, there are already a few super premium motors on the market, which meet or exceed the draft IEC requirements. In many industries energy efficiency has now become the focal point of an integrated approach and these super premium motors are being aimed at buyers of plant and machinery who appreciate that the total cost of ownership of a motor is more significant than the initial purchase price.

At SPS/IPC/Drives 2012, WEG launched the W22 Super Premium complete motor range – from 3 kW up to 355 kW – which promises up to 40% less energy losses compared to previous designs. The range does not depend on the use of rare earth magnets, being based around traditional electric motor technology using similar components. The three-phase induction motor is based on the company’s existing W22 motor mechanical design and is said to be suited to use on fans, blowers, pumps and compressors.

“With IE3 rated motors now becoming popular across Europe, WEG wanted to be able to offer the next step – IE4 – as an option too, giving customers more choice,” said Wilmar Henning, managing director of WEG in Germany. “There is an increasing need to save energy, and motors consume over two-thirds of the energy consumed by the industrial sector today, and 40% of energy consumed in the world is linked to electric motors.”

“Using IE4 rated motors today will show that a company is serious about saving energy, carbon reduction and saving money,” said Marek Lukaszczyk, european marketing manager at WEG. (Further details on the W22 Super Premium motor can be found on using LINKCODE 54766).

Motor and drive package
ABB has used synchronous reluctancy (SynRM) technology in a new IE4 motor which is being offered in a package that includes a frequency converter and dedicated software. Two configurations are available, one designed to maximise efficiency, the other to maximise output.

The motor is based on a new rotor design, which has allowed the company to offer a smaller and more efficient motor. A SynRM rotor has neither a conducting short circuit cage as with the induction motor, nor permanent magnets, nor a field excitation winding. Instead, the magnetic principle of reluctance is utilised. The rotor structure is said to eliminate rotor cage losses, increasing efficiency and compactness. “The SynRM motor is specifically designed to work with variable torque loads being controlled by variable-speed drives,” explained Steve Ruddell, global marketing manager, ABB Motors and Generators. “Traditional induction motors are designed for fixed speed operation, which accounts for some 90% of the market. We have a motor technology that has been developed, from the outset, to specifically work with the variable-speed demands of pumps and fans.”

German pump and valve company, KSB, started production of a high-efficiency SuPremE electric synchronous reluctance motor series in 2012, which featured on the company’s stand at Hannover 2012. The motor is said to contain no magnetic materials, such as rare earths. First presented as a prototype as long ago as 2009, the pump motor is equipped with a four-pole rotor that only consists of a laminated core without a cage. The rotor laminations are specially shaped to guide the lines of flux. The motors are said to have at least 15% less power dissipation than prescribed by Regulation EC 640/2009 for efficiency class IE3, depending on the motor rating.

Siemens has been looking at IE4 motors for some time, showing a concept IE4 motor at Hannover 2012. Michael Müller, who works on motor development at Siemens said:“Our version of the IE4 asynchronous motor is a further refinement of the IE3 motor. We improved the manufacturing technology for the motor by using more energy-efficient and low-loss materials, which means that the IE4 motor is more efficient than the IE3. This corresponds to an efficiency rate of 94%.”

The motor efficiency of the MOVIGEAR mechatronic drive system from SEW-EURODRIVE is also said to significantly exceed efficiency class IE4. The overall efficiency of MOVIGEAR, which includes gear unit, motor and drive electronics promises to contribute substantially to the reduction of energy losses during system operation.

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