The designers of this eco-friendly motor have had the job of tackling one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues. However, they’ve succeeded in engineering a type of electrical motor that wastes less electrical energy than the current generation of industrial motors.

Consider this: Heavy-duty electrical motors consume up to half of the available electrical power on a global basis. Yet electric motors are essential to an endless number of industrial, commercial and consumer machines and tools.

Acknowledging this important fact, an opportunity exists to drastically curb energy expenditure and work towards a more sustainable future.

That opportunity exists now, in the form of innovative industrial motors, which have been developed by KERI, the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute, and its dedicated engineering staff.

Causes of motor inefficiency

There’s no single answer to this question, but there are a handful of energy-devouring culprits that should be taken to task. The biggest issue is the ancient but still intrinsically feasible principles used inside industrial motors. Three-phase AC power flows through three sets of windings in an induction motor. They’re mounted at equally interspaced angles around laminated poles to generate a rotating magnetic field. This outer “stator” magnetically influences the rotating “rotor,” inducing torque. Mechanical bearings support the rotor and high-speed rotational power is achieved.

But there’s a problem: Industrial motors waste copious amounts of the electrical energy they receive. It leaves the machine casing as heat, as produced by the poorly lubricated bearings supporting the rotor. Worse yet, electrical windings on the stator exhibit finite amounts of resistance to current flow, so heat losses are generated in response to this impedance. Initially modest but substantial enough to raise eyebrows, imagine magnifying this loss across hundreds of copper windings and dozens of industrial systems.

The sum of this thermal loss proliferates to the point that it swamps entire industrial systems with this energy-draining effect. Poor maintenance, loading issues, outdated motor technologies, increased energy utilization due to power factor losses, the list of power-wasting guilty parties goes on and on.

Of course, another critical factor is the multiplication factor. Just one of these poorly-performing industrial electrical motors is bad enough, but if it’s multiplied by the number of motors in a factory, the energy loss becomes significant. And on a national or global scale, the energy loss is a crisis.

name="_jrrnxa9a9l0u">Opt for “super-premium” industrial electrical motors

The team at KERI has seized the opportunity for premium-efficiency electric motors, with the development of their performance-optimized machines.

These high-torque induction motors utilize three-phase energies in new and innovative ways. Among the loss-remediating measures, higher-quality copper and aluminum windings reduce electrical resistance losses. Shortfalls in harmonic distortion handling and magnetic flux generation are offset by incorporating specialized power electronics circuits and improved core laminations. As for the bearings, superior low-friction solutions have been developed, and these solutions don’t exhibit premature aging characteristics, unlike their predecessors. This means less maintenance and a longer lifespan for induction motors.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) categorizes electric motors according to international efficiency standards, ranging from IE1 high efficiency to IE5 ultra-premium labels.

National industrial regulations often set IE classes for applications, to drive energy efficiency. However, South Korea lacked an IE4 domestic motor supplier, which limited the adoption of energy saving technologies in the county's large industrial and military sectors.

However, the impact would be slow to be realized in a traditional sales and distribution model. To stimulate adoption of IE4 technologies, KERI also provided a web browser-based design tool to alleviate R&D investment, design expertise and costly software impediments. This platform incorporated design and open-source analysis tools developed through partnerships with the Korea Electronics Technology Institute and engineering software firm Clew.

KERI strives to align with current needs by crafting IE4-class motors for medium and large capacities, from 15 to 200 kW. Additionally, the institute aims to develop variable-speed and non-rare-earth permanent magnet motors intended for IE5-class standards.


Initiatives aimed at boosting motor efficiency, exemplified by the creation of IE4 and IE5-class motors as discussed earlier, play a role in conserving energy worldwide. These advancements offer advantages beyond cost reduction for both individual consumers and businesses. They also align with wider sustainability objectives by minimizing energy wastage and decreasing the environmental consequences linked to energy generation.