Improvements on Ecodesign Regulation bring clarity and relief for customers

Improvements on Ecodesign Regulation bring clarity and relief for customers

Commission Regulation (EU) 2019/1781 lays down new requirements for electric motors and variable speed drives. Andreas Schader, Global Marketing Manager Standardization at ABB Motion Germany, explains in his interview which important changes have been made recently.

The first step of Commission Regulation EU 2019/1781 will come into force on 1 July 2021. There have been some changes since the first draft of the text. What is the reason for that? 

When checking the text, representatives of the industry noticed a few things in the field of motors and variable speed drives that had not been optimally solved or that would have presented the customer with tangible challenges. With a strict interpretation of the law, for example, a machine manufacturer who brings a converter-driven machine onto the market would have to take the feeding transformer into account. This is not manageable and makes no sense.

Were there opportunities of influencing?

The industrial associations CEMEB and ZVEI are in constant contact with the EU Commission and have pointed out the problems. Then the chance arose that the EU Commission would initiate a so-called omnibus procedure, which included changes to various directives. We were able to express our concerns on this in a public consultation process.

"Some clarifications achieved"
Andreas Schader, Global Marketing Manager Standardization at ABB Motion Germany. Image by Axel Heiter Fotodesign.
Andreas Schader, Global Marketing Manager Standardization at ABB Motion Germany. Image by Axel Heiter Fotodesign.

How did the EU Commission react?

In October 2020, the aforementioned omnibus document was published, which also contains changes to Regulation EU 2019/1781. Some clarifications have been made for variable speed drives. The most important point is that variable speed drives built into a control cabinet do not have to be taken into account again if they are already compliant. This is very important for a machine manufacturer because he no longer has to apply the new regulation to its control cabinet.    

What other changes are relevant?

It has been clarified what a variable speed drive is and what not, for example the word transformer has been omitted from the original text. Thus it is clear that a feeding transformer is not part of a variable speed drive. There was an important change for replacement motors. According to this, motors may be brought onto the market as replacement motors until 2029, even if they have a lower IE class than the new regulation prescribes for new motors. The prerequisite is that the exact same motor is replaced. On the type plate of the replacement motor it must be stated clearly that it is a spare part.

Something changed for motor manufacturers too, didn’t it?

Exactly! In addition to the legal text, there is also the so-called Annex, in which the technical requirements are laid out. This includes an important change for manufacturers of 60 Hz motors. They now have their own efficiency tables for their motors. This makes the manufacturers' work easier, because up until now they had to downgrade the efficiency of the 60 Hz motors to a 50 Hz endpoint. Additionally motor manufacturers no longer have to measure the losses of their motors, but can calculate them. This is more realistic and manageable than before, because otherwise manufacturers would have had to measure an extremely large number of motors.

Last but not least, Regulation EU 2019/1781 is the first regulation to include the topic of "digital". So far, regulatory information has been required in paper form, which must be supplied with the product. In the future, the additional conformity information can be made accessible via a QR code. This is a sensible and modern form of communication for providing documentation.

  • REGULATION (EU) 2019/1781 The latest Commission Regulation 2019/1781 on ecodesign came into force in October 2019 and relates to low-voltage asynchronous motors with an AC voltage of less than 1,000 V and variable speed drives. The regulation will be implemented in two steps starting on 1 July 2021. The second step, which further expands the scope and increases the requirements for motors, comes into force two years later, on 1 July 2023.
  • In the interview, Andreas Schader explains the background to the directive with which the EU aims to improve the energy efficiency and environmental sustainability of electric motors.
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