Leveraging this expertise solves customer problems and creates a sustainable competitive advantage.
by Nate Maguire
June 29, 2017

Two prominent examples in the industrial-manufacturing universe are the motor-efficiency regulations that have been developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in Europe.

The bottom line is that regulations are an unavoidable requirement for doing business in almost any jurisdiction in the world.

Many advances in technology have been geared toward meeting the demands of a stricter regulatory environment (See Sidebar: Motoring Ahead), but will be optimized only if they are applied with the appropriate applications expertise. For example, the misapplication of a pump (for example, incorrectly sizing the pump for its application) will likely lead to far greater energy consumption than can be saved from improvements in motor technology.

Expectations for Resource Stewardship

A phrase that has gained stature over the past two decades in all forms of business is “corporate social responsibility,” or CSR, which is commonly characterized as “business practices involving initiatives that benefit society.”

Eccentric disc pumpImage 3. An eccentric disc pump moving carbonated-beverages at a bottling plant in Hungary

An article in the June 18, 2016, issue of the International Journal of Business and Management titled, “Corporate Social Responsibility and Consumer Buying Behavior in Emerging Markets,” stated that “consumers now want companies to behave ethically in addition to providing quality product[s]...”

The obvious implication is that those companies that are perceived to be inattentive or irresponsible stewards regarding shared resources (for example, community water supplies or air quality) risk a political and social backlash that could impact the company’s standing and ability to do business in the communities in which it operates.

Therefore, it should not be surprising that a report from Harvard Business School titled, “The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Investment Recommendations,” revealed that “recent research shows spending money on corporate social responsibility is no longer seen as a detriment to a company’s profitability. Stock analysts now view such expenditures as essential to a company’s long-term brand and value.”

To improve CSR standing, more and more companies are investing additional time and resources toward incorporating new technologies, changing operating practices and even adjusting business strategies to assuage the corporate-responsibility demands of the buying public.

Indeed, these resources can only be optimized by developing and applying expert knowledge of the business, its systems and the local environment in which it operates. Businesses that develop and use this knowledge will help satisfy the needs of the publicwhile achieving positive outcomes in resource stewardship.

In summary, today’s industrial-equipment providers face an increasingly difficult operating environment, which includes energy price volatility, the increasing costs of regulatory compliance, and public demands for improved environmental stewardship.

To address these market dynamics and achieve positive business outcomes, many companies are purposefully developing and leveraging applications expertise, especially when selecting critical pumping technologies and systems.

Part 2 of this article, which will appear in the August 2017 issue of Pumps & Systems (read it here), will identify some of the best ways that applications knowledge can be gained and then implemented to develop the best pumping systems for unique—and critical—industrial-manufacturing applications.

To read other Efficiency Matters articles, go here.

Motoring Ahead

The evolving design and operation of motors presents a specific example of how next-generation technology helps manufacturers lower energy use, meet environmental-responsibility thresholds and reduce costs.

To address the operation of motors, the International Energy Agency (IEA) created the Energy Efficiency End-Use Equipment (4E) working group, which includes 12 countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

In late 2015, the 4E group released a study, “Energy efficiency roadmap for electric motors and motor systems,” that indicated that since 1995, “efficient motors have gained an increasing share of the global market, assisted by a framework of international standards that classifies motors according to their energy efficiency.”

Motors were placed in one of four classifications – E0 (least efficient), E1, E2 and E3 (most efficient) – which created a common technical platform that underpins national policies that are targeted at increasing the implementation of high-efficiency motors in manufacturing operations. The four classifications form the basis of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) that are now inherent to most advanced economies, as well as to
many developing nations. The global sales of motors that fall into the two most-efficient classifications­—E2 and E3—accounted for roughly 70 percent of all motor sales in 2015, after standing at less than 10 percent of
market share in 1995.

This is significant because the IEA expects the market for motors to expand by 2.5 percent annually through 2019, which will create opportunities for further introduction of higher-efficiency motors into both mature and developing regions. However, as the IEA notes, the impact of more efficient motors on overall market efficiency is gradual due to the motor’s extended operational lifetime. To speed up the increase in overall efficiency, several countries are considering regulations that will enforce MEPS by encouraging the early retirement of inefficient motors.