Drives and Controls Magazine
ABB motor is ‘first’ to achieve IE6 efficiency without magnets
Published:  04 June, 2024

ABB claims to be the first electric motor manufacturer to have achieved IE6 levels of efficiency from a synchronous reluctance motor (SynRM) motor without needing to use magnets.

The Brazilian motor-maker WEG recently announced that it had achieved a similar level of efficiency from a SynRM motor, but its W23 Sync+ Ultra motors incorporate ferrite (not rare-earth) permanent magnets in frame sizes up to 280.

ABB says that its new machines cut energy losses by 20% compared to IE5 motors. They use the latest iteration of the SynRM technology that it pioneered in 2011. The company says that early adopters of the IE6 “hyper-efficiency” motors will benefit from lower energy costs and increased productivity, while moving ahead of current sustainability targets.

“Using our new magnet-free SynRM motors reaching efficiency levels expected for future IE6 will also take energy savings to the next level,” says Stefan Floeck, president of ABB Motion’s IEC low-voltage motors division. “Because the IE6 SynRM is the same size as the equivalent IE3 induction motor it is an easy and straightforward replacement for legacy motors. That makes it possible for customers to upgrade to modern, high-efficiency products to future-proof their operations in a world of fluctuating energy costs.”

Although IE6 has not yet been defined in any official standard, each higher IE efficiency class has cut losses by 20% compared to the previous one. ABB has assumed that this will continue to be the case with its IE6 SynRM machine.

ABB says its latest synchronous reluctance motors can achieve IE6 efficiencies without needing permanent magnets

SynRM technology is said to combine the performance of PM motors with the simplicity and service-friendliness of induction motors, to achieve high efficiencies with short payback times. The rotors have neither magnets nor windings, and almost no power losses. The design needs no rare-earth metals and can be used with suitable VSDs (variable-speed drives) to provide speed control.

In addition to the magnet-free SynRM machines, ABB can also achieve expected levels for future IE6 efficiency using a hybrid technology (called PMaSynRM ) that combines SynRM with a permanent magnet “boost”.

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