The right software package can identify your ideal motor system

May 5, 2005
Is your industrial motor system using more energy than it should? The right software package help owners and facility managers identify the ideal motor system.

Worldwide, motor systems use almost two-thirds of the electricity that powers industrial facilities. Many systems currently in operation are less than perfectly efficient; others need repair or replacement -- all of which means industrial motor systems are using more electricity than they should. However, a software package can help owners and facility managers identify the ideal motor system.

In August 2004, working with an international consortium, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a version of its MotorMaster+ software tool customized for the international market. The original MotorMaster+ can model industry systems, but is limited to using American standards. MotorMaster+ International overcomes this limitation. It has the same motor list and comparative features as MotorMaster+, but users can now perform repair and replacement analysis on a broader range of motors. This includes motors tested under the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) standard, and those tested using International Electrical Commission (IEC) methodology.

This singular capability gives companies around the world the power to pick and choose from among the best systems made anywhere, with confidence in how they will respond according to different rating methods. Companies save on electricity costs and reduce environmentally damaging emissions.

Projected savings
Paul Scheihing works for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) in the Industrial Technologies Program (ITP). “Cost-effective upgrade to more energy-efficient motors worldwide would reduce the world’s electricity consumption by 1.5%,” he says. “That’s roughly 139 billion kWh, enough to match the total electricity use in New York state. And the United States uses about 18% to 19% of the electricity used for industry worldwide. So we’re looking at what could be huge savings, not just here, but everywhere.

“This is also an opportunity for the United States to open dialogues with other countries on several industrial issues, including the harmonization of standards,” Scheihing adds. “It’s a vehicle to bring these things into focus. By making industrial motors more efficient, we could cut down on the 24 million metric tons of greenhouse gases produced worldwide.”

The goals for the program are ambitious. But how does MotorMaster+ International work, and how would it help companies achieve these savings?

“MotorMaster+ International is designed to support motor systems improvement planning at industrial facilities by identifying the most cost-effective choice for new motor purchase and repair-versus-replace decisions,” says Chris Cockrill, senior project manager for DOE’s Western Regional Office and the current DOE manager for software development. “The package provides energy and dollar savings while taking into account such variables as motor efficiency at its load point, purchase price, energy costs, operating hours, load factor and utility rebates. “The software’s analysis features include selection of the best available motor for a given application, along with determination of energy savings, demand reductions, dollar savings, greenhouse gas emission reductions, simple payback, cash flows and after-tax rate-of-return on investment,” he says.

He adds that the software also displays motor performance and technical data to help optimize a drive system by performing a best-available analysis. Data is available for both 60 Hz National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and 50 Hz metric or IEC motors. The current version of the software contains manufacturers’ databases for more than 25,000 NEMA motors and more than 7,200 IEC motors. Full- and part-load efficiency values are taken in accordance with either the NEMA IEEE 112 or IEC 60034-2 testing standards.

The international tag applies to the program’s interface as well. It has multi-language capability -- the current release supports Spanish, French and English -- and allows the user to conduct economic analyses using various currencies, including the euro. Users can also insert applicable country or regional motor full-load minimum efficiency standards, as well as country-specific motor repair and installation cost defaults. The software’s flexibility gives users the opportunity to customize capabilities to suit their needs.

An additional advantage is the program is easy to use. Built to be Windows-compatible, Cockrill says it requires little training. Most of the tool’s basic functions, such as listing and comparing various motors, can be learned quickly with little or no assistance, but users can contact the EERE Information Clearinghouse at (877) 337-3463 for basic assistance.

Although the idea seems intuitive -- setting up a program that incorporates international standards to apply to motor modeling -- MotorMaster+ International had an involved genesis. Scheihing started working on MotorMaster+ International after taking a trip to Australia and realizing there was a world of untapped potential.

MotorMaster+ was first released in 1994. Scheihing says “in 1999 we found that Europeans were funding a similar motors software package using their standard. Why not cooperate? Other countries wanted a program that would include what we had with information from other countries, so we knew right away that there was a market and a demand for what we would be doing.”

In addition to DOE, the multinational consortium is comprised of the International Copper Association, the European community, including the Joint Research Center and the United Kingdom's Action Energy (Carbon Trust), Corporacion del Cobre de Chile (Codelco) and National Resources Canada. The collaboration leveraged experience, expertise and financial resources to develop a more comprehensive product than any one country could have developed on its own. The goal was to create what they called International Motor Selection and Savings Analysis (IMSSA) software.

Cockrill says, “The idea resulted from discussions between Paul Scheihing [who was then Motor Challenge Program Manager for ITP], Dr. Hugh Falkner [ETSU UK] and John R. Mollet of the International Copper Association. The first meeting to organize development was held in February 2000 in Washington, D.C. Scheihing suggested that developing a product similar to MotorMaster+ for the international community would be a big step toward increasing the energy efficiency of motor systems everywhere.”

This project offers a unique opportunity for countries to work together to encourage greater use of energy-efficient industrial motors and to increase awareness of the benefits of motor system efficiency worldwide, says John Mollet, vice president of the International Copper Association, which served as project manager for the development group. He adds that MotorMaster+ International is the American brand for the software, but other nations will apply their own names. The Canadian version is named CanMOST (for Canadian Motor Selection Tool)

Scheihing says he expects that tens of thousands of users around the world will download the free software, which is available at “That would be reasonable to expect, since we’ve had a similar response on MotorMaster+,” he says.

“There have been more than 39,000 copies of the original MotorMaster+ software distributed in the last 14 years. In the past two years alone, more than 9,800 copies have been downloaded or shipped. “I would expect that MotorMaster+ International will have the same level of distribution and use over the long term,” Cockrill says.

If the software does as well as anticipated, Scheihing and Cockrill say that expansions and upgrades could be forthcoming.

“Software upgrades and modifications are being discussed. An updated motor database is expected to be completed by late this year. Other modifications being considered include an inventory of installed motors, similar to that found in MotorMaster+,” Cockrill says.

MotorMaster+ International provides a platform or template for future international collaborations. Scheihing says. “Likewise, with a track record in developing motor analysis software accommodating the needs of many countries and world regions, this opens the door to do similar energy analysis software packages for many kinds of industrial applications, such as for steam and process heating systems. When you have this kind of sophistication, it becomes easy to compare standards and realize where the differences are.”

Drew Bittner is staff writer/editor for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Washington, D.C. Contact him at (202) 586-7562.

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