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Understanding Ecodesign directive

Ecodesign today

The European ecodesign directives are maturing. These directives look at how energy is used and the environmental impact throughout a product’s conceptualization, manufacture, use and eventual disposal. The directives are part of the EU’s plan to meet energy efficiency and CO2 emission goals.

Implementing energy efficiency goals is done in a two part process. First, directives and standards are developed that provide the framework to define classifications and ways to measure or calculate energy efficiency. Then these standards and directives feed into regulations. The regulations define the minimum energy efficiency classifications that can be brought to the market. 

Starting January 1, 2017, IE3 regulations will be extended to motor ranges from current 7,5 kW to 375 kW, down to 0,75 kW in the European Union. Motors in the range from 0,75 kW to 7,5 kW must fulfill IE3 requirements when used in Direct On Line. Alternatively an IE2 motor can be used when fed through a variable speed drive. 

You will recognize the IE2 motors complying to EU MEPS regulation from a specific marking, which will be done with a sticker “Use with variable speed drive only” on the motor.
Energy efficiency indicators
Efficiency indicators and EN 50598
Ecodesign schedule
Key terms

Energy efficiency indicators 

There’s no question that commercial and industrial energy use account for a large amount of the energy consumed in Europe. Ecodesign standards have started to address these areas. Existing Energy Related Products (ErP) standards focus on applications like pumps and fans.

Energy efficiency indicators have been defined to help easily identify a product’s overall energy efficiency level. For example, Standard IEC 60034-30-1 
defines International Efficiency (IE) classes for motors. This helps quickly understand a product’s energy class. And starting on January 1, 2015, these motor IE classes are important to understand because Regulation(EC) No 640/2009 requires the use of variable speed drives with IE2 rated motors. 

Motor and drive efficiency indicators and EN 50598 

Drives (or variable speed drives, variable frequency drives, etc.) have not had a similar IE classification as motors. The newly published EN 50598-2 standard address this, and introduces two new energy efficiency indicators. The first is an IE class for the drive, or “complete drive module” (CDM) as defined in the standard.

The second is an International Efficiency of Systems (IES) classification for the combination of the motor and the complete drive module, known as a “Power Drive System” (PDS). The PDS provides a standardized way of determining system losses through measurements or calculations made at standardized operating points.

For machine builders and end users, understanding these values helps determine overall system energy use and even calculate payback times. 

Motor and drive ecodesign schedule

  • Starting January 1, 2015, the minimum energy efficiency requirements for motors changed. Motors between 7.5 and 375 kW must be IE3 rated. IE2 rated motors are still available but will be required to be used with a VSD.
  • Starting January 1, 2017, the standard expands to cover motors starting from 0.75 kW (up to 375 kW). The same requirements for either IE3 rating or IE2 equipped with a variable speed drive.  
  • EN 50598-1 and EN 50598-2 were released in December, 2014.
  • EN 50598-3 was released in March, 2015. 

Ecodesign glossary  

  • CDM - Complete drive module: Includes the variable speed drive, any auxiliary devices connected to the drive (such as EMC filters, braking choppers, etc). Defined in EN 61800-2.
  • PDS - Power drive system: The combination of a CDM and motor. Defined in EN 61800-2.
  • Driven equipment: The machinery mechanically connected to an electric motor's shaft. This includes the gearbox, if used.
  • MEPS - Minimum efficiency performance standards: MEPS are a set of standards defined by local governing bodies that define the minimum efficiency performance standards for products.
  • IE class - International efficiency class: Efficiency classification applied to the individual components (motor, CDM) of a motor system.
  • IES class - International Efficiency of Systems class: Efficiency classification applied to the motor system as a whole (the CDM and motor together).
  • Ecodesign: European Ecodesign Directive provides a set of standards and EU-wide rules focused on improving the environmental performance of energy using or energy related products.

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