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Manufacturers Should Ditch Obsolete Motors for New High-Efficiency Ones

It shouldn’t be a shock that manufacturing processes and operations are responsible for some of the greatest energy consumption levels worldwide. A sizable 24.2% of emissions come from industrial energy usage, making it crucial for manufacturers to prioritize sustainability and energy efficiency to optimize their operations, save money, and reduce environmental impact.

One of the more significant energy-consuming manufacturing components is the electric motor. As such, manufacturers must also consider the environmental impact of their motor use and find ways to optimize industrial motor efficiency, including shoring up their energy consumption.

A prevalent way to deal with older hardware is to replace it with new high-efficiency options. But considering both the time and cost investment in doing this, it makes sense why everyone may not be on board— at least initially. Dig a little deeper to understand why ditching obsolete motors is a good idea.

The Importance of High-Efficiency Motors

Electric motors are essential to most manufacturing processes, powering equipment such as pumps, compressors, and conveyor belts. However, traditional electric motors can be highly inefficient, leading to increased energy consumption and higher electricity bills.

Higher power usage also translates to a higher dependence on traditional fossil fuel-based energy sources, significantly impacting the environment and local communities. Pollution and emissions are also a concern. High-efficiency motors are an excellent solution to this problem, as they use less energy and have a longer life span than traditional motors. 

To understand efficiency, you must look at a motor's average rated load, often denoted in percentages. Most electric motors are designed to run at anywhere from 50% to 100% of their rated load. The older the motor, the more energy it takes to run at higher loads.

High-efficiency motors — more accurately referred to as premium-efficiency — operate at an efficiency level of at least 2% to 8% higher than traditional motors. This difference in efficiency may seem small, but it can significantly impact energy consumption and costs.

For instance, upgrading to a high-efficiency motor can result in energy savings, translating to substantial savings over the motor's life span. Furthermore, high-efficiency motors produce less waste heat, which reduces the need for cooling and ventilation systems, further cutting energy costs.

The environmental benefits of high-efficiency motors are also significant. By reducing energy consumption, manufacturers can lower their carbon footprint, contributing to global efforts to mitigate climate change. Moreover, high-efficiency motors emit fewer greenhouse gases, making them a more sustainable and environmentally friendly option.

Obsolete Motors: A Barrier to Sustainability

Despite the benefits of upgrading to high-efficiency motors, many manufacturers continue to use obsolete equipment. These motors are outdated and inefficient, but they can also be expensive to maintain and repair— leading to increased downtime, production losses, and more expenses.

Obsolete motors are a significant barrier to sustainability in manufacturing operations. They are major contributors to energy waste, high electricity bills, and carbon emissions. Manufacturers undermine their sustainability efforts by using outdated motors, thus making the ability to achieve their energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets more challenging. Industrial motor efficiency is a major concern, and should be a priority for all manufacturers— especially if green operations are one of the organization’s core goals.

The Case for Upgrading to High-Efficiency Motors

For manufacturers that have not upgraded to high-efficiency solutions, following are some reasons why that should change:

Improved Performance

High-efficiency motors are more reliable, with a better overall power factor and enhanced performance. They also offer more precise controls over the speed and torque of machinery, leading to improved production quality and efficiency. These improvements help the operation and technically improve the finished products or services.

Something to think about is low-efficiency or antiquated motors aren’t designed to withstand some of the power events that occur today. For example, they may require a TVSS or transient voltage surge suppressor — which works similarly to an uninterruptable power system (UPS) — to handle things like high-energy electrical spikes, lighting strikes, or overvoltage complications.

It’s always a good idea to have these backup solutions on hand — even with newer high-efficiency motors — but it’s less of a priority overall. You have more room to upgrade or install them— budget-dependent.

Environmental Sustainability

Upgrading to high-efficiency motors is an effective way to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Manufacturers can contribute to global efforts to mitigate climate change by adopting sustainable practices. In general, upgrading to higher efficiency equipment and hardware with a better-maintained power draw improves just about everything related to the operation. This has the added bonus of increasing customer satisfaction for companies that handle client-side relations.

Compliance with Regulations

Many countries have regulations and standards in place that require manufacturers to reasonably cut down on consumption and waste production, including the use of high-efficiency motors. You can comply with these regulations by upgrading to higher-efficiency hardware and avoid penalties or fines. Industrial motor efficiency is always a great focus when complying with or meeting various regulations — the act provides near-guaranteed improvements.

Enhanced Brand Reputation

Manufacturers prioritizing sustainability and energy efficiency can enhance their brand reputation, attract environmentally conscious customers, and gain a competitive advantage. Eco-friendly initiatives are a major focus in every industry, as everyone works to combat climate change as a greater society.

Cost Savings

High-efficiency motors use less energy, resulting in lower electricity bills and significant cost savings. Moreover, high-efficiency motors have a longer life span than traditional motors, reducing maintenance and repair costs and extending the longevity of the motors themselves and the equipment you use them in. By implementing new technologies and better focusing on industrial motor efficiency, industry best-practices, and more sustainable solutions, energy efficiency ratings can increase by up to 30%, resulting in significant cost savings.

Industrial Motor Efficiency Is a Reliable Improvement

Manufacturers must prioritize sustainability and energy efficiency in their operations, and high-efficiency motors are an excellent way to achieve these goals. High or premium-efficiency motors offer numerous benefits including cost savings, improved performance, and environmental sustainability. You can reduce energy consumption, lower your carbon footprint, comply with regulations, and enhance your brand reputation by using hardware that's up to modern standards.

Moreover, the related equipment tends to last longer, as these motors offer better reliability, longevity, and productivity— which even extends to manufactured goods. It’s a win-win situation that every manufacturer should certainly investigate if they haven’t already.

Emily Newton
Emily Newton
Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, an online magazine celebrating advances in science and technology.

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