Smoothly navigating through MEPS

While the global Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) for low voltage electric motors is a good thing for the planet, understanding the differences adopted by each country can be confusing and time-consuming. Here we detail some of the many tools and services that can help plan your journey more efficiently.

The global introduction of MEPS for low voltage electric motors has had a positive impact on helping countries meet their energy and carbon dioxide emission targets. For all users of electric motors, MEPS is particularly beneficial. It has driven up the reliability and efficiency of electric motors and makes it easier to compare efficiency levels between manufacturers.

However, despite MEPS being embraced globally, it is not a uniformly applied standard, with each country drawing up their own scope and exclusions. For some motor makers this presents a significant challenge in producing a portfolio of motors that can meet each countries variation. Meanwhile, for OEMs, machine builders, system integrators and end-users, having an awareness of what they can and cannot sell in each country can prove a daunting task.

For the handful of reputable and established motor manufacturers, such as ABB, MEPS is good news. Following decades of research and development into high efficiency motors, they can offer products that cover the nuances of all the regions.

“At ABB we have motors that meet the energy efficiency needs for every country,” says Marco Veeckman, sales and marketing manager of ABB’s motors and generators business. “All you need to know is the country where you are going to use the motor and we can tell you the motor you need.”

For many, complying with MEPS is just the start. A longer term goal is to optimize the cost of ownership of the motors. Using the know-how and expertise within the motor manufacturer can cut straight through the bureaucracy and get to the heart of your MEPS or cost of ownership challenges. “Our experts can help dispel any myths surrounding electric motors, VSDs and the MEPS regulations and answer many diverse questions,” says Veeckman. These include:

  • When do I need to install an IE3 motor?
  • When is it worth considering an even higher efficiency motor?
  • How do I determine the payback period between a standard induction motor and a synchronous reluctance motor?
  • When should I use a VSD together with an IE2 motor?
  • How do I create or update a motor management policy?
  • What considerations should I give to my motor procurement policy?
  • How do I know which of my installed motors need particular attention?
  • How do I determine the true cost of running and, more significantly, the cost of NOT running?

More importantly, an ABB expert can ensure that you stay within the law. It is important that you don’t ignore MEPS, wherever in the world you are. Each country has appointed authorities to carry out market surveillance. Discovery of non-compliant motors within the EU market, therefore, needs to be referred to the local market surveillance authority.


Against this backdrop, ABB has developed Optimizer – an online tool that helps with the job of selecting the right MEPS compliant motors wherever in the world it is to be used. Customers can choose the optimal motor for their needs by inputting parameters like running hours, electricity prices and CO2 emissions. Optimizer also provides an easy way to access motor documentation.

Optimizer includes a calculator to compute the cost of ownership of different motors and provides fast access to drawings, test reports and data sheets. The tool can be used in the web browser of regular PCs.
The key benefit is that the user of Optimizer does not need to know all the different MEPS; only the country where the motor is to be used.

Matching motors and drives

Often an application needs a variable-speed drive (VSD). Whether you are an end-user, machine builder, OEM, or a system integrator, selecting the right VSD to work with the motor is an important step.

ABB is one of the few companies that makes both VSDs and low voltage AC motors. As such, the company has a selection of bespoke drives and motors packages aimed at specific industry applications. These include, for example, ATEX compliant, deck winch and cooling tower direct drive motor packages.

At present, VSDs do not have an IE classification, similar to motors. However, this is set to change with the EN 50598-2 standard introducing 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.

Testing laboratory

A perfectly designed and approved matched motor and drive, with optimal efficiency can only be achieved through thorough testing. ABB recently opened a laboratory in Helsinki, Finland, for testing motors and drives using the loading conditions that simulate the actual application.

The laboratory precisely measures motor/drive dynamic performance, loadability and efficiency – parameters that are needed to find the optimal drive system for the application. Optimizing the drive system in this way means lower costs, reduced space requirements and energy savings.

Energy appraisals

If you are an end-user, a big concern is the energy saving potential, not only of installing an electric motor, but whether you could benefit from a VSD. There are several standalone tools available to help guide you, including ABB’s EnergySave calculator.

EnergySave is an interactive energy saving calculator for comparing AC drive control against traditional flow control methods in different applications such as pumps, fans and compressors. Over the years the formulas behind the tools have been developed and enhanced along with the pump and fan manufacturers in order to provide accuracy.

Work with your supplier

The central message is that whether you are an OEM, machine builder, system integrator or end-user you should meet with your suppliers and decide how the regulations will affect you and what purchasing strategy is best for your organisation. The regulations are here and putting off these crucial decisions is not an option.

Working with a motor manufacturer or its distribution partners is vital if you are to get the right deal. The best manufacturers want to avoid being seen as commodity suppliers and as such would encourage their customers to get them on-board in the early stages of a project. Innovative ideas are endless, yet the only way you will know of the innovation is to ask your motor supplier at the very outset of a project.

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