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Ecodesign frequently asked questions

The European Union’s Ecodesign Regulation (EU) 2019/1781, which has been amended by Regulation (EU) 2021/341, sets new efficiency requirements for low voltage induction motors and variable speed drives. The objective is to boost energy efficiency and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Implementation is in two stages, with Stage 1 effective from July 1, 2021. Stage 2, which widens the scope and increases the requirements for motors, is effective from July 1, 2023.


What does the Ecodesign Regulation mean for standard induction motors rated for direct-on-line (DOL) operation?

When motors rated for sinusoidal supply (DOL) are used with a DOL supply, they must meet the minimum efficiency level requirements specified in the regulation.

Standard induction motors can additionally have a rating plate showing their performance characteristics in variable speed drive (VSD) controlled applications. This additional information on VSD duty has no relation to the energy efficiency requirements or IE classification. This is because the regulation applies only to motors rated for DOL use.

Note that IE2 DOL rated motors can no longer be sold with the CE mark, even if they are used with a VSD.


How does the Ecodesign Regulation affect motors specified for operation exclusively with a variable speed drive?

Motors specified for operation exclusively with a variable speed drive are outside the scope of the regulation. Hence the regulation does not cover motors such as synchronous reluctance, permanent magnet and DC motors.

Application and industry specific induction motors for VSD duty, that cannot be DOL connected, such as roller table, highspeed and servo motors, belong to this category. These types of motor can also be labelled ‘VSD only’ or ‘Inverter duty’ motors. These motors may also have an IE class according to EN IEC TS 60034-30-2.


Are direct-on-line (DOL) duties and VSD duty affected?

The scope of the regulation covers induction motors rated for continuous duty, i.e. duty class S1, S3≥80% and S6≥80% as defined in the regulation.

Restamping a standard induction motor for S9 duty does not put it outside the scope of the regulation. If a motor is rated for DOL operation then it is covered by the regulation.

However, induction motors that are not rated for 50 Hz or 60 Hz, but are rated for duty cycle S9, e.g. ‘VSD duty only’, may have some non-standard and specific features meeting the conditions to be specifically designed for VSD duty.


What does IE2 mean for drives?

The regulation covers 3-phase standard drives with a diode rectifier in the range 0.12 kW ≤ Pn < 1000 kW. After July 1, 2021, the power losses of these drives shall not exceed the maximum power losses corresponding to the IE2 efficiency level.

Drive manufacturers must declare power losses in terms of percentage of rated apparent output power at eight different operating points, as well as standby losses. The International Efficiency (IE) level is given at the nominal point.


Which drives are excluded from the Regulation?

The following types of low voltage AC drives are excluded from the regulation: regenerative drives, low harmonic drives (THD < 10%), multidrives (multiple AC-output drives) and 1-phase drives.

A drive cabinet containing a drive module that has already been assessed does not need to be reassessed.

Several other types of drive are excluded, including medium voltage drives, DC drives, integrated drives and traction drives.


Does the Ecodesign Regulation affect motor and drive systems?

The Ecodesign Regulation does not include minimum efficiency requirements for Power Drive Systems (PDS). IEC 61800-9-2 specifies efficiency classes for motor-drive systems (IES), which it refers to as PDS.


How does the Regulation affect the CE mark?

Motors and drives covered by the regulation must also meet the efficiency requirements in order to be CE marked.

After July 1, 2021 DOL rated motors covered by the regulation must be IE3 compliant as a minimum in order to be CE marked. 

After July 1, 2021 drives covered by the regulation must be IE2 compliant as a minimum in order to be CE marked.

If a motor or drive covered by the regulation does not fulfill the efficiency requirements, it shall not be labelled with the CE mark and consequently it shall not be placed on the European market. Such a motor or drive (without the CE mark) can be delivered outside Europe, provided that it meets local requirements in the target market.


Will ATEX certificates be revised?

There is no need to revise ATEX certificates due to the new regulation.


How can I check the data provided by my variable speed drive supplier?

The regulation specifies for market surveillance that three methods are available to manufacturers to determine losses:

  • Direct method
  • Calorimetric method
  • Single loss determination method

The only practical way to check the manufacturer’s data is to use the direct input/output method. This requires sophisticated equipment and suitable conditions to perform testing.


What tolerances are allowed for the efficiency classes?

The efficiency level (IE class) of a design or product type must be guaranteed by the manufacturer.

The efficiency value shall be obtained as a band or average of the population of tested or verified samples. Normal variations in production processes, materials and test results shall be considered during the design process by the manufacturer.

The use of tolerances is only allowed by market surveillance to assess the test results and determine whether or not the product is compliant.


Does the regulation apply to motors that have two or more stated speeds for one frequency?

Yes, in the case of single speed motors operating at 50 Hz or 60 Hz DOL that have two or more rated voltages and speeds.

No, in the case of multi-speed or pole-changing motors with two or more speeds per frequency, regardless of design.

See also ‘CEMEP/CAPIEL- 2n Edition – May 2021.


Are marine motors affected by the Regulation?

Yes, motors must comply with the regulation if their power rating and pole number are within the scope.

Only motors designed specifically for the traction of electric vehicles are outside the scope.


Are servo drives affected by the Regulation?

Drives designed for use with both induction and servo motors must meet the minimum requirement of IE2 compliance.

Drives not rated to operate with induction motors are outside the scope of the regulation and do not require Ecodesign marking. However, they are subject to other CE marking requirements.

Where can I get additional information?

Contact your local ABB representative to learn more.
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