Maximizing energy efficiency

April 1, 2007
It's been said that the most promising alternative fuel source is energy efficiency. With carbon emissions a hot topic among politicians, scientists,

It's been said that the most promising alternative fuel source is energy efficiency. With carbon emissions a hot topic among politicians, scientists, and consumers alike, engineers who work with industrial motion systems must think about getting machines to do more with less. When energy efficiency is a key design objective, here are some energy-saving components and expert tips to keep in mind.

Energy-efficient bearings

SKF will manufacture a new bearing family later this year, which will reduce energy consumption by at least 30% compared to standard ISO products. Production will begin with deep-groove ball bearings and tapered roller bearings. Specialized polymer cages, new raceway profiles and geometry, lighter rollers, and low friction grease are among the improvements.


Digital drives

ION digital drives support distributed control over an asynchronous serial (RS485) or CANbus network, eliminating the need for motion cards, connections between cards and amplifiers, and complicated wiring. High-efficiency MOSFETs operating at 40-kHz PWM frequencies minimize heat and vibration, and reduce energy use.

Performance Motion Devices Inc.

Premium efficient motors

Several new motors have been added to the Super-E family of premium efficient motors — ranging from 1 to 1,500 hp — all of which meet or exceed NEMA Premium efficiency standards. All motors are balanced to half of the NEMA allowable vibration level, resulting in less mechanical stress on bearings, longer life, and improved efficiency.

Baldor Electric Co.

DBO ✓list

  • Efficiency results from many components working well together

  • In a motion system, efficiency begins with the motor, but also includes interface, drive, and control dynamics

  • Think about loss points during the motor's conversion of electrical power to mechanical energy

  • Try to reduce iron losses and resistance losses

  • Optimize cooling fans to reduce friction and winding losses

  • “Right size” the motor to fit the application; 55% of all motors are oversized

  • Motors should run at 80 to 100% of full load to reach peak efficiency

  • Use adjustable speed drives for variable torque loads, rather than a fixed speed, on/off drive

  • Think about digital drives with flexible modulation schemes to reduce current ripple

  • For efficient commutation at high speeds, use field-oriented control instead of sinusoidal commutation

  • At lower speeds, sinusoidal drives are probably more efficient

  • Tune your system correctly; excess vibration uses more energy

  • System stiffness is your friend; resonance, your enemy

  • Proper lubrication can increase the efficiency of just about any mechanical motion component

  • Replace V-belts with synchronous belts and sprockets, or with cogged belts

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