Cost Rules

Cost Rules

The motor business is seeing some new technology, and it’s all about getting more bang for your buck.

“In America, cost still rules.”

Dan Jones, president of Incremotion Associates, said that in a recent interview here at Power Transmission Engineering, and while he shared that sage bit of advice while specifically discussing rewinding vs. replacing motors, it’s still a good summary of just about everything happening in the motor industry today.

This holds true even in the realm of energy efficiency, which has been a focus of attention for the past few years. There may be environmentally-concerned mandates and laws that have pushed manufacturers to make increasingly efficient motors, but even while the politicians concern themselves with the environmental benefits of energy efficient motors, the underlying driver behind the technology’s development in the manufacturing world has always been cost efficiency through long-term savings.

However, even those savings are now the expected baseline. Premium motors (or IE3 if you’re buying from Europe) aren’t fancy anymore, they’re standard. And with no new efficiency standards looming in the near future, the focus of the conversation has shifted from energy efficiency to quality and cost efficiency.

“It’s not a problem of regulation anymore,” Jones said. “It’s who’s got the best motor? And how much more do I have to pay for it?”

Of course, energy efficiency still makes up a part of that. While premium efficiency is the mandated standard for many motors now, you can still go the extra mile to get a super premium (IE4) motor or better. But alongside bumps in efficiency are a number of other ways motor manufacturers are competing for your patronage, and they all focus around giving more bang for the buyer’s buck.

In general, motor manufacturers are trending towards supplying complete packages instead of just the motor, providing more ready-to-go options. Manufacturers are working to make their motors more capable of meeting application-specific demands.

“You see that everywhere. Gearboxes, motors, drives controls; the supplier becomes the one that helps match the motor drive control to the application,” Jones said.

One particularly interesting cost efficiency measure is actually in the rewinding sector, where according to Jones, a company called Revolution Motor Industries has figured out how to rewind an old motor and improve its efficiency to premium levels.

“If we tune it correctly with a capacitor that’s in the auxillary winding…and you’ll get higher efficiency by one level,” Jones said. “So if it’s IE2 motor, I can jump it easily to an IE3…Right now, any motor that’s in stock that’s below [IE3], they can make better.”

In the wake of premium efficiency mandates, one difficult question OEMs have had to find an answer for is whether to upgrade to more efficient motors or repair their old ones. However, this technique makes that question a little easier to answer.

Jones recently spoke in more detail about this technique at the 2017 Electrical Apparatus Service Association Convention.


For more information:

Incremotion Associates, Inc.

(805) 496-2621


Revolution Motor Industries

Categories: Editors Choice

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