Many drive motors not meeting Standards

AUSTRALIAN manufacturers may be unknowingly using non-MEPS compliant motors in their air compressors, with many cheaper imports not meeting Australian Standards.

AUSTRALIAN manufacturers may be unknowingly using non-MEPS compliant motors in their air compressors, with many cheaper imports not meeting Australian Standards.

The Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) was introduced by the Federal Government as a regulatory tool designed to increase the average efficiency of a product class, with electric motors falling under the regulation since 2001.

Australian OEMS and distributors who manufacture or import three phrase electric motors within the range of 0.73kW to 185kW and with 2, 4, 6, 8 poles must comply with MEPS requirements.

Daniel Vera, MD of Australian Baldor, says since the introduction of MEPS there have been questions raised and some confusion about the standard, with manufacturers potentially not aware of the requirements or their responsibilities in regards to the standard.

“The onus is with the person importing the electric motor, whether as a stand-alone-item or as a part of other machinery to ensure that it complies with MEPS,” he told Manufacturers Monthly.

“So if an OEM imports a machine with electric motors, each electric motor (assuming they fall within the MEPS technical requirements) must meet the MEPS 1 April 2006 level at a minimum, and also must be registered with the local state regulator,” he explained.

Currently MEPS sets out two levels of efficiency — Minimum Efficiency and High Efficiency. From 1 April 2006 all motors were required to comply with the minimum level of efficiencies, with the new high efficiency levels revised in April 2005.

The first stage of MEPS introduced in 2001 is usually referred to as MEPS I and the more stringent higher levels of efficiency have been termed MEPS II.

Vera explains if manufacturers want to sell their products as high efficiency motors they have to meet and comply with the MEPS II standard.

“Motors that comply to 1 April 2005 MEPS are the highest efficiency motors available in the Australian market.

“Only these motors can be sold and marketed in Australia as high efficiency motors,” Vera explained.

He said manufacturers tend to focus on the initial purchase price of a high efficiency motor, but advised they need to consider the benefits and savings of using these products.

“You aren’t buying them because they are the cheapest motor. You would pay a small premium compared to a standard motor of comparable quality, but the payback is generally only 18 months. After that, it has paid for itself and you are simply saving electricity,” he said.

Vera said the company had been promoting efficient motors for many years and that all its motors sold in Australia comply with MEPS.

“We have invested money and time in ensuring our motors fit the requirements of MEPS, and are trying to differentiate our motors from the other products out there,” he said.

The Future Directions for Australia’s Appliance and Equipment Energy Efficiency Program report from the Australian Greenhouse Office highlights the equipment targeted for MEPS.

For more information about MEPS or for a list of brands or suppliers that meet MEPS levels visit www.energyrating.gov.au.

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