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The energy-saving potential of variable-speed drives

Variable-speed drives, if added to around half of electric motor-controlled applications not already using speed control, could yield savings of around 25,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh). That’s the output of approximately 6,000 medium-sized wind turbines, according to GAMBICA, a national organisation representing UK companies in the instrumentation, control and automation industries.

Considering that electric motors account for around 65 per cent of industrial energy consumption and that variable-speed drives are fitted to just one in ten of those motors, the potential of drives across sectors such as wastewater, manufacturing and food and beverage production is massive.

The third phase of the European Minimum Energy Performance Standards (EU MEPS) stipulates that new motors with a rated output of 0.75 – 375 kW must meet either IE3 efficiency or IE2 if combined with a variable-speed drive. Although phase three is due to begin in over a year (1st January 2017), users should introduce variable-speed drives to motor-driven applications as soon as possible in order to maximise energy savings.

Gibbons are a founder member of the ABB Authorised Value Provider programme, which means we have access to a worldwide network of products and expertise for variable-speed drives. We can supply ABB drives direct from stock for next-day mainland UK and Europe delivery and also provide a range of associated services including installation, maintenance and technical support.

For more information on improving the energy efficiency of your process, call Alan Roberts on 07966 468430 or email

Variable-Speed Drives, Electric Motors

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