MEPS, an acronym for Minimum Energy Performance Standards, were introduced at the turn of the 21st century by the Australian and New Zealand governments to cover a wide range of electrical equipment. For electric motors, a rating of MEPS 1 came into effect in October 2001, whilst the higher efficiency MEPS 2 superseded MEPS 1 in 2006. Internationally, IEC 60034 is a set of standards by the International Electrotechnical Commission that roughly mirrors MEPS.
MEPS Compliance in Electric Motors
All three phase electric motors ranging from 0.73kW to 185kW in 2, 4, 6 and 8 pole configuration that are either made in or imported into Australia must comply with the minimum efficiencies as set out by the MEPS ratings. There are some exceptions to the MEPS rule; MEPS doesn’t apply to submersible motors, integral motor-gear systems – like the Bonfiglioli compact range – variable and multi-speed motors or motors rated less than continuous duty (S1). Motors that have been rewound are also not required to comply with MEPS.
Motor manufacturers have not shied away from the responsibilities of meeting efficiency standards around the world. The standard measure for increasing efficiency has been to use larger, lower-resistance winding wire and higher quality steel for laminations. When coupled with total motor re-designs, the efficiency standards have been able to be met on a consistent basis.
One of the benefits of the new, high-efficiency motor range is that they also have improved performance at part load, making them extremely suitable for variable speed drive service. Many major manufacturers are taking advantage of this fact by matching motors and drives in their product offerings.