Developing the Successors to Premium Efficiency IE3 Motors—IE4 and IE5 Class Motors
Preventing Global Warming by Pushing the Limits of Motor Efficiency
—IE4 and IE5 Class Motors
Motors account for over 50% of the energy consumed in Japan, while industrial motors alone make up 75% of the energy consumption in the industry sector. Taking this into account, the Top Runner Program based on the energy conservation law was introduced in Japan, establishing minimum efficiency requirements for industrial motors.
In April 2015, sales of three phase induction motors fulfilling the IE3 (premium efficiency) standard started taking off, although the Nidec group started offering their IE3 motors seven months earlier in September 2014. Our entire lineup of IE3 three phase induction motors, stretching from 0.75 kW to 55 kW, is certified by UL, CSA and CE, making global expansion possible. Our future plans for these motors include making them even more cost-effective and promoting replacement of older motors still in use.
At the same time as we started offering IE3 motors, we also started development of the next generation of energy-efficient products: IE4 compliant super premium efficiency motors. Our IE4 motors use a synchronous reluctance design to attain high efficiency without the use of permanent magnets. A major contributing factor to this is the construction of the rotor. As synchronous reluctance motors rely on changes in magnetic reluctance, they require rotors consisting of salient electromagnetic poles. Our synchronous reluctance motors are built with a laminate construction utilizing segments of electrical steel and barriers impenetrable by magnetic flux in order to achieve the optimal saliency ratio—increasing torque and improving efficiency. Needlessly to say, overall optimization—including stator compatibility, drive circuits and control laws—also contributes greatly to the high torque and efficiency of these motors. Furthermore, as a result of the simple rotor construction, Nidec's IE4 motors are compact, lightweight, inexpensive and highly durable as well.
IE5 levels of efficiency are achieved with permanent magnet-assisted synchronous reluctance motors. These motors are competitively priced—and devoid of supply problems—as they make use of ferrite magnets instead of expensive rare earths. They also inherit the benefits of their IE4 counterparts as they are compact, lightweight and highly robust.
Furthermore, Nidec also develops hybrid induction/synchronous "Super Econo motors" capable of functioning both as induction motors (during start-up) and synchronous motors (during normal operation). These motors are characterized by their ability to operate on commercial power supplies and use inverters for speed control—in fact, a single inverter can be used to control multiple hybrid induction/synchronous motors.
As regulations for industrial motors are getting stricter—not only in Japan but also in Europe, America, China and eventually globally—we leverage our technology and know-how, built up through years of developing drive circuits, to develop and promote the use of even more efficient and environmentally friendly motors.