Did you know that motor-driven systems use 60%-90% of the total power in industrial settings? While facility managers often look at plant lighting to reduce energy consumption, they sometimes overlook the contribution of electric motors.
In reality, the percentage of total energy used in a plant for lighting is much smaller than the percentage used to power equipment and machinery.
Before You Buy an Electric Motor
The purchase price of an electric motor is only about 3% of its total life cost. In fact, nearly 97% of the total life cost of a motor comes from the electricity it uses.
In other words…the purchase price of an electric motor equals the approximate cost of electricity to operate that motor, 24/7, for about 1 month. That’s an important consideration before buying a new motor.
4 Tips for Saving Money on Energy Costs
So how can you save the most money on energy costs with your motor-driven system? Jim Wright, Electrical Product Manager at IBT Industrial Solutions, offers these 4 tips:
#1—Replace inefficient motors with NEMA Premium energy efficiency motors.
Rather than replacing a single component, consider swapping out the entire system for maximum energy savings. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has established guidelines for highly energy efficient products that meet the needs of industrial users, while still achieving “premium efficiency.”
#2—Switch from a worm gear speed reducer to a helical or bevel gear system.
“A simple gear box change might allow for a smaller motor, which would save even more money than switching to a NEMA Premium efficiency motor,” Wright said. A helical or bevel gear system could improve component efficiency from 50% to as high as 95%, he added.
#3—Use the most efficient pump, fan, or compressor available.
A higher-efficiency machine requires less horsepower for operation—and can save a lot of energy over the long run.
#4—Analyze every component in the system.
“A system where a 96% efficient motor is powering a 50% efficient load is still not a good design,” Wright said. He recommends looking at each of the following components carefully:
- Motor—is the motor installed properly and sized correctly for the load?
- Motor starter—is it possible to upgrade to the new “Smart Starters”?
- Soft starter—age and efficiency matter; is it time to change to a variable frequency drive?
- Adjustable-speed drive—is the drive sized correctly for the load?
- Mechanical power transmission components—does the mechanical system rotate with no unnecessary strain due to bent shafts, worn bearings, or improper lubrication?
- Power distribution transformer—is it sized correctly for the load?
- Driven load—what is the load type (constant torque, variable torque, impact…)?
More: Check out IBT’s electric motors