Understanding New Motor Standards

Over the last few years, the Department of Energy has released many new efficiency standards. A growing range of devices are affected, from automobiles to heating and cooling systems. On June 1, 2016, the Integral Horsepower Amended Motor Rule went into effect. It institutes stricter efficiency and performance standards for continuous duty AC induction motors.

All qualifying motors manufactured in the United States will be required to meet these new standards. As a result, motors on the market from June 1 forward will generally be bulkier and longer than their counterparts in previous years – and will likely be more expensive.

However, there are advantages. New motors will:

  • Generally have a much lower lifetime cost of operation;
  • Deliver greater return on investment in a shorter time;
  • Help businesses reduce their environmental impact.

Unfortunately, new motors may not fit the mounts and housings on existing equipment. This will drive capital investment, which may be a mixed blessing: Many companies rely on induction motors that are older than their rated lifetime.

Thus, new motors may not only be more efficient, but safer and more productive.

What Do Businesses Need to Know About the New Standards?

When you buy an AC induction motor in 2016 and beyond, you won’t have much to worry about. New motors meet the standards by default. Existing motors may generally continue service and do not need to be replaced or retrofitted.

For the next few years, motor manufacturers will maintain their existing inventory of non-compliant motors – these can be sold, but not manufactured. As they become rare, their prices are likely to reach parity with modern motors.

To be covered by the new rules, a motor must meet these specifications (Baldor):

  • It is single speed;
  • It is rated for continuous duty or duty type S1;
  • It contains a cage or squirrel cage-type rotor;
  • It uses polyphase AC 60-hertz sinusoidal line power;
  • It is rated not above 600 volts;
  • It has a 3- or 4-digit NEMA frame size or the equivalent;
  • It ranges between 1-500 horsepower;
  • It has a 2-, 4-, 6-, or 8-pole configuration;
  • It meets the other requirements of a NEMA A, B, or C device or IEC N or H device.

OEMs must work quickly to incorporate new motors into their designs. To learn more about the topic, consult this free, archived webinar.