What do conveyor belts, water pumps and elevators have in common? All are powered by electric motors. Motors were arguably one of the key drivers of the Industrial Revolution and they remain indispensable today.
TC2, one of the very first IEC Technical Committee’s, began work on rotating machinery in 1911. It is still as active as ever and has led the way in helping to improve the energy efficiency of these invaluable devices through its publication of international standards and technical specifications (TS) relating to generators and motors of all sizes.
For example, the IEC 60034 series of international standards is widely used around the world. Regulators, in particular, have taken up the system that ranks motors according to their efficiency classes.
Martin Doppelbauer, who is Chair of the TC, has led the work on efficiency classes, which specifies the energy efficiency of motors. “One of the standards we developed is IEC 60034-30-1, which includes an efficiency classification for standard industrial motors. This enables different types of motors to be compared from an energy efficiency point of view,” he explains.
Another important standard is IEC 60034-1, which measures the ratings and performance of rotating electrical machines. A new 226-page edition of the document was published in 2017.
While much of the work has been devoted to energy efficiency classification and measurement over recent years, that chapter is about to be closed, according to Doppelbauer. “Most of the standardization work on the energy efficiency of motors is completed. We are planning to issue an energy efficiency guide for motors, but once that document has been published we will turn our focus to maintenance,” he comments.
Maintaining standards is another key task. Ten maintenance teams deal with aspects as varied as noise emission (IEC 60034-9), synchronous generators (IEC 60034-3) and vibration (IEC 60034-14). Some of the Standards, published in the 1970s, are still in use today.
In relation to IEC 60413, which establishes test procedures for determining the physical properties of brush materials for electrical machines Doppelbauer remarks, “We are planning a new edition of this standard, which has been prompted by market requirements. We work from the bottom up and are very receptive to demands coming from various users.”
A new focus area in the coming years will be for motor driven systems that include power electronics. A liaison has been established with the IEC subcommittee for adjustable speed electric drive systems incorporating semiconductor power converters, in order to facilitate the preparation of standards in that area.
There is also planning for collaboration with ISO on the very specific topic of auxiliary energy generators, according to Doppelbauer. The TC already liaises with ISO in the area of internal combustion engines, pumps, and condition monitoring and diagnostics of machine systems.
In the future, there will be greater cooperation with the IEC TC which covers the overall system aspects of electricity supply systems. This will include, for instance, developing publications relating to the connection and integration of generators with the grid.
“We are looking at power generators which work in an environment strongly impacted by renewable energy systems. One of the issues is how to adapt these generators to fluctuating energy sources like wind and solar”, Doppelbauer explains. Additionally a liaison group has been formed with the European Environmental Citizens Organisation for Standardisation (ECOS), with those same issues in mind.
Read more in e-tech: How to get your motor going