The Small Motor Rule Ensures Motors Powering Pumps, Compressors, Fans and More Will Be More Efficient

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According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C., more than half of all electrical energy consumed in the U.S. is used by electric motors. In the U.S. alone, manufacturers spend $30 billion annually on the electricity powering motor-driven systems. Additionally, electric motors powering manufacturing operations consume 70 percent of all the electricity used in that plant.

small motor rule

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To address this, several years ago, the DOE conducted a technical study as to what could be done to raise the efficiency levels of “small” motors. After years of study and litigation, the Small Motor Rule (SMR) was passed; it covers two-digit NEMA frame single- and three-phase 1/4- through 3-horsepower motors in open enclosures. The new regulations take effect March 9, 2015. To better understand the ruling’s requirements, see the graph at left.

Utilizing a 1 horsepower/0.746 kW, 1800 rpm, three-phase open drip (ODP) motor, the payback with the increased efficiency is 1.1 year. The current efficiency on this motor is 64.3 percent, but the new SMR requires the motor to be 77 percent efficient. View the chart at right to learn how these numbers were determined.

The electric motor is a critical component in many plant applications. It also is used in a wide range of equipment in almost every sector of the economy–from pumps, compressors and fans to power tools, hoists and industrial vacuum cleaners, as well as automotive and aerospace applications, just to name a few.

small motor rule

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Who Must Comply?

  • Motor manufacturers regardless of the source country
  • Motor importers and private labelers
  • Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), equipment builders and importers

How will this mandate affect end users? And what’s required to comply with the new legislation?

About the Author

Cheryl Higgins
Cheryl Higgins is product marketing manager with LEESON Electric, Grafton, Wis.

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