Issue 32 – October 2011
When the going gets tough, a customary fiscal reaction of many states is to print additional national currency. As the millions of fresh banknotes roll off the printing press, how many of us stop to think of the many processes involved in their manufacture? Or of the number of efficiently run motors required to produce the simple piece of paper that represents so much, both culturally and financially? A banknote has that dual role. Graphically, it depicts national pride, history. Financially, through its many security printing and manufacturing technologies, it ensures that the note retains its face value. Each of the manufacturing efforts involved is wholly dependent on the efficiency and reliability of its own machinery.
Industry still consumes over a third of the world's total electricity
Industry is one of the areas that has made the greatest efforts to curb use of electricity. Its share of world electricity consumption fell from 53.4% in 1973 to 41.7% in 2008. Yet 2010 figures show that industry is still consuming over a third of the world's total electricity requirement, with some 60% of that powering electric motors. The top four greatest energy users are the chemical, bulk refining, paper, and mining industries. All four industries form an essential part of the banknote manufacturing chain in supplying pigments, inks, resins, high-technology chemistry, and substrates for printed currencies. It follows that if the efficiency of the motors used in the manufacturing process can be enhanced even fractionally, then there are substantial economies to be made, both in terms of manufacturing costs and also of CO2 emissions.
An IEC Standard, IEC 60034-30 Rotating electrical machines – Part 30: Efficiency classes of single-speed, three-phase, cage-induction motors (IE-code), specifying efficiency classes for relevant 50 Hz and 60 Hz motors, has been adopted by leading manufacturers of industrial motors around the world. The Standard classifies motors into three levels depending on how efficiently they convert electricity into mechanical energy: IE1 is the base standard for efficiency, IE2 stands for high efficiency, and IE3 for premium efficiency. The Standard also mentions a future level of products above IE3, not yet commercially available, which will go by the name IE4 super premium efficiency.
The classification system has stimulated competition among motor manufacturers and generated massive technology improvements. Although IEC Standards are voluntary, the European Union has adopted the IEC classification system and issued a Commission Regulation (EC) 640/2009, which came into effect on 16 June 2011. Now, only motors that meet or exceed IE2 energy efficiency levels are allowed to be sold and installed in the EU.
In a second stage, from January 2015, all motors will need to reach IE3 efficiency levels (or IE2 combined with variable speed drives). Generally referred to as EU MEPS (Minimum Energy Performance Standard), the requirement covers most two, four and six pole motors in the power range of 0,75 to 375 kW (kilowatt) for alternating current (AC) power supply frequencies of 50 and 60 Hz (Hertz).
The ZVEH (Zentralverband der Deutschen Elektro-und Informationstechnischen Handwerke, the central association of the German electrical and information technology industries) has calculated that this regulation will affect some 30 million old industrial motors in Europe alone. As they are gradually replaced, the resulting energy savings are estimated to be roughly 5.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year with a corresponding reduction of 3.4 million tons of CO2. Proof that energy efficiency measures can be profitable for the environment and for the investor is the fact that investment replacement payback can be achieved in 1 to 3 three years (and in under 1 year when combined with variable speed controls).
Other countries not affected by EU MEPS, which covers only European Union markets, have already implemented similar energy efficiency schemes and are active participants in the IEC. They include Australia, China, Brazil, and Canada. In the US, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) motor energy efficiency programme closely follows the IEC energy classifications. For instance, the NEMA Premium is identical to IE3 and NEMA motors have to be tested in accordance with the IEC testing protocol contained in IEC 60034-2-1.
So when you next take a banknote out of your wallet, take a second to admire the final product of so many steps of machining and all of the motors that are finely tuned and set up and to provide the reassurance that is automatically associated with currency.
→ Buy IEC 60034-30:2008 Rotating electrical machines – Part 30: Efficiency classes of single-speed, three-phase, cage-induction motors (IE-code)
You can order PDFs of IEC Standards by calling 0800 782 632 during business hours or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summarised from an article by Philippa Martin-King in IEC's e-tech, August/September 2011.