An Efficient Conversation

May 6, 2009
Seven More Motor Types will Have to Comply with the Energy-Efficiency Standards
By Joe Feeley, Editor in Chief

I’m not wild about the often overused phrase “stay ahead of the curve.” But as we begin to think more positively about the beginning of the end of this economic bad dream, there are a few things industrial machine builders can consider doing now that might position them more favorably when biz picks up.

One issue that’s not been examined very much is a change on the horizon that will affect industrial motors built after 2010, as a result of elements of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007.

In 1992, the Energy Policy Act mandated minimum energy-efficiency levels for general-purpose, T-frame, single-speed, foot-mounted, continuous-rated, polyphase squirrel-cage induction motors of 1-200 hp and of NEMA designs A and B. Those requirements began in 1997. Many other commonly used industrial motors weren’t included.

So, as of Dec. 10, 2010, seven more motor types will have to comply with the energy-efficiency standards, including C-face motors and most pump motors, excluding fire pumps. This means that most of the motors specified for industrial machines will fall under these regulations, moving from the Energy Efficient NEMA category to its Premium Efficient category. In addition, 201-500 hp motors that were excluded from the original mandates, now have to meet the Energy Efficient standard.

December 2010 isn’t that far away, so now is a good time to formulate your thoughts on how to specify energy-efficient motors to future customers or to convince existing customers to switch over to improve operating costs.

Operating cost has become a big factor for manufacturers when they choose an industrial machine partner. As things get busy again, they’ll have less time to think about this as a reason to do business with you.

This isn’t a five-minute conversation. It’s a process by which you and your customers get on the same page about their key operating issues. How much time do you realistically think you’ll have to do this after things get busy again? Be the first to discuss this with them. Recall the well-accepted data detailing how only 2% of the total cost of that motor over its normal 20-year life is its initial price. All but 1% of the rest is energy cost. Do the math together on what that’s costing them.

At the very least, start this conversation with your motor suppliers. If they’re the partner you expect them to be, they should be able to provide plenty of help to formulate a complete understanding of both the regulations and how to make the best case to your new and existing customers.

Every time we do our buying habits studies, you tell us that finding a real partnership with primary suppliers is very important to you. The same holds true for your customers, right?