Electronically commutated (EC) motors have been gaining attention since the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced new standards with a 2017 compliance date. As manufacturers and distributors gear up for big industry changes, it is important to look at what hurdles stand in the way. Below we'll take a look at three challenges that are on the horizon for the EC motor industry in 2016.
1. Leaner OEM Engineering Staffs
In 2015, we have noticed that several OEMs are shrinking their engineering staffs. This makes it that much more difficult for salespeople to secure face-to-face time with engineering, as they are already overloaded. As a result of smaller engineering departments, there is a newer trend of OEMs leaning on their suppliers to do more qualification testing work for them so they can simply approve or validate the supplier’s test results as opposed to running full-blown tests themselves. This means suppliers must be prepared and equipped to carry out these tests on behalf of the customer.
2. Increased Thirst for Reliability Data
As a whole, OEMs are becoming more cognizant of warranty costs. This has resulted in an increased push for reliability test data, most commonly in the form of Highly Accelerated Life Testing (HALT), during which the supplier stresses the components at temperatures, voltage conditions, vibration levels, etc., beyond their intended permissible usage range in an attempt to fail components. This enables them to identify design weaknesses and areas for improvement to ultimately make the design more robust. OEMs want to know that their supplier’s components have been thoroughly tested prior to taking a risk on a part, particularly for new technologies.
3. New DOE Efficiency Standards on the Horizon
These new standards for commercial refrigeration equipment will roll out on March 27, 2017 (read the ruling here). They are aimed at drastically reducing the amount of energy consumed by commercial refrigerators, freezers, reach-in coolers and bottle coolers in supermarkets, restaurants, commercial kitchens and convenience stores. The goal is to reduce energy consumption by:
- 40% for solid-door “reach-in” refrigerators and freezers
- 30% for glass-door supermarket refrigerator cases
- 10% for freezer cases
So how is this a challenge, exactly? For those affected by the standards, this mean switching to more energy-efficient (and costly) motors. Because the standards do not have a compliance date until 2017, many folks are not making the change just yet, but ECM manufacturers and distributors are trying to secure orders. While this challenge is also an opportunity in itself, it is a more gradual process that will unfold as the 2017 compliance date nears.
Check out more on ECMs:
5 Thing to Look for in an EC Motor Partner
7 Tips to Extend the Life of Your EC Motor
8 Reasons Why EC Motors are Plastic (and Better): Part 1
8 Reasons Why EC Motors are Plastic (and Better): Part 2