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Going beyond IE5 – the ‘gold’ standard in compressor electric motor efficiency

Author : Andy Pulley, Team Leader & Product Specialist

01 September 2020

Andy Pulley, Team Leader and Product Specialist at Atlas Copco Compressors, examines IE5, regarded as the IEC’s gold standard in motor efficiency, and how it has been exceeded by the company’s in-house designed motor for air compressors.

As part of a concerted effort worldwide to reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and the impact of industrial operations on the environment, regulatory authorities have introduced legislation to encourage the manufacture of higher efficiency electric motors. Atlas Copco has not only taken these efficiency considerations on board but has gone even further to achieve the highest efficiency class – equivalent to IE5 – in its compressor technology. 

EC regulations and IEC standards

The European Commission has passed regulations that stipulate the minimum efficiency levels for LV electric motors produced and supplied within Europe. The substance of the regulations focuses on the energy usage and energy efficiency of induction motors used in industrial environments. In the UK, EU Regulation 640/2009 and the 04/2014 supplement defines the minimum efficiency levels for induction motors.

To aid conformity to the regulations, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. The scope of these standards defines efficiency levels in tandem with advances in motor technology developments and innovation.

At present, the efficiency classifications comprise five levels as defined in IEC 60034-30-1:

IE1 – Standard Efficiency
IE2 – High Efficiency
IE3 – Premium Efficiency
IE4 – Super Premium Efficiency
IE5 – Ultra Premium Efficiency
When it comes to compressor drive motors, there is a close correlation between the electric motor technologies and their efficiency level capabilities...

Read the full article in the September issue of DPA.

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