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Switched Reluctance Smart Motors

INTELLIGENCE AND EFFICIENCY IN ELECTRIC MOTOR TECHNOLOGY

Inspired by the performance and energy efficiency of a new Switch Reluctance Smart Motor invented by Software Motor Company (SMC) in the USA, the team at Ecofocus Group seized the opportunity to be distributors of this incredible product in Europe.

We want to change the way businesses think about energy usage and maximise the commercial value from their investments in green technologies and, as such, we believe the SMC electric motor is the most efficient, reliable and innovative electric motor for HVAC systems on the market today. Using a patented Smart Switched Reluctance motor design, the SMC motor has combined a bespoke, intelligent IoT-driven software controller and driver to produce a solution that delivers a supremely controllable motor, at a much reduced lifetime cost when compared to alternative motors.

The motor’s built-in software and connectivity provides constant real-time monitoring of energy use, speed, torque, and temperature which allows automatic diagnosis of HVAC system issues. This connectivity also means remote controllability, maximising energy efficiency as well as enabling demand-side management to avoid higher energy tariffs and enjoy demand side response revenues.

   30% +

30% increase in energy efficiency



Field tests for SMC electric motors have so far shown direct energy efficiency gains in HVAC units against standard motors fitted with VFDs of 30% as measured and verified by the independent U.S. Government funded National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

    40%

40% of the world’s electricity 

is consumed by electric motors


SMC motors are proven in the field to be 12.8% more reliable than induction motors. They do not use rare earth materials and are simpler in construction, ensuring they last longer and fail less than standard induction motors, resulting in lower maintenance costs and less downtime.

   12.8%

12.8% more reliability



SMC motors are proven in the field to be 12.8% more reliable than induction motors. They do not use rare earth materials and are simpler in construction, ensuring they last longer and fail less than standard induction motors, resulting in lower maintenance costs and less downtime.

The first motor changed the world. This one can help save it.

Webinar

Intro to Smart Motor System and switched reluctance motor technology

Meet the SMC Motor

Meet SMC the "LED of Motors"!

Case Studies

Leading National Grocer

Achieved total annualized fan energy savings of 46-48%


Achieves Fan Energy Savings Between 46-48%, Gains Intelligent Controls

A popular Fortune 500 food retailer needed to reduce HVAC system energy costs and facilities maintenance. Improving energy efficiency and reducing energy costs are goals of the company’s sustainability program and directly tied to the company’s profitability. The company follows internal green building standards and practices to guide investments on energy-related solutions that maintain or enhance customers’ shopping experience.

Innovative Solution Addresses Three Key Needs

HVAC, refrigeration, and pump systems account for 45% of a commercial building’s electric bill. The company’s Global Director of Energy Management worked with the facility manager in Cupertino, California to explore viable and proven options for making its HVAC system more efficient and reliable. The system made up a large percentage of the store’s operating cost. Maintenance costs also needed to be addressed specific to its Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) motors that failed repeatedly when bearings overheated. Lacking sub-metering and the ability to closely monitor HVAC fan motors, the solution needed to provide intelligent controls and optimal system monitoring. It also needed to be more reliable and fault tolerant.

The store’s facilities contractor, Key Mechanical, recommended using the SMC Smart Motor System to address these needs. Specifically, it replaced two, single-speed, three-year-old Baldor supply fan motors in two rooftop air handling units with SMC motors, a Smart Motor Drive, and a controller. The controller featured a wireless LAN connection to each RTU to establish a two-month energy baseline for all heating and cooling modes. Run hours for each mode was determined using data from the Building Automation System. A power meter was also installed.

About the Customer

The company is an American supermarket chain that specializes in selling food products without artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats. It has hundreds of stores in North America and the United Kingdom. This national grocery retail is recognized as one of the industry leaders.

As a Better Buildings Challenge Partner, the company is using sub-metering and monitoring tools to measure, analyze, and publicly share the performance of newly designed and replicated energy efficiency and climate protection initiatives in new and retrofitted stores. The company is working with manufacturers, trade allies, industry peers, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations to further its energy efficiency goals. For example, it is also participating in the Department of Energy’s Better Building Alliance’s Advanced Rooftop Unit Challenge and hopes to help transform supermarket building energy systems nationally.

Building

Building Square Footage: 67,613 sq. ft.

Fan

2 RTU HVAC system—Supply Fan Motor Replacement (Manufacturer: AAON)

Motor

Motor size: 4 HP (2 x 2HP SMC motors)

Results

Comparing baseline data to data collected after the motors were installed and applying a weighted average for heating and cooling modes, the company realized annualized HVAC motor savings between 46-48%.

The upgraded system achieved over 80% savings during ventilation mode and over 30% savings during the heat/cool mode while maintaining comfort for employees and shoppers (chart right).

The increased efficiency supports the company’s commitment to reduce energy intensity by 20% from a 2010 baseline by 2023.

Conclusion

By replacing two of its RTU fan motors, the company achieved total annualized fan energy savings between 46-48% percent. Savings were so significant that it committed to upgrading additional stores with the SMC Smart Motor System.

According to a paper put out by the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Energy Saving Opportunities and Tactics for Retail, by installing high-efficiency units, supermarkets can save up to $52,000 per year–or up to $8,700 per RTU–in energy costs. Retrocommissioning an existing HVAC unit can save up to 20 percent of HVAC energy costs and replacement with high-efficiency units can yield site energy savings between 2.1% – 5.8%.

Full-service Restaurant

53% Savings in Total Annualized HVAC Fan Energy Use


Improves Operational Reliability with SMC Fault Detection & Diagnostics with SMC Smart Motor System

A popular upscale restaurant in Southern California needed to reduce increasing energy bills and costly HVAC repairs while delivering optimal dining experiences for customers. The restaurant was maintaining a range of comfort levels during long operational hours without having a Building Automation System (BAS) in place. It also wanted the ability to remotely monitor and detect when manual overrides were unnecessarily increasing the energy use on its HVAC system. This resulted during emergency maintenance when Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) that controlled the motors were bypassed leaving motors to run continuously at full speed, which increased costs.

The restaurant was also interested in using remote fault detection and diagnostics to improve service quality. These capabilities would let its mechanical contractor, AirRite, proactively service its HVAC system.

Benefits of Upgrading HVAC System with Intelligent Ultra-High Efficiency Motors

AirRite recommended replacing the VFD and standard induction motors in its HVAC system with the SMC Smart Motor System that is more efficient, reliable and intelligent than anything on the market.

About the Customer

This publicly traded company owns multiple format culinary destinations that deliver the ambiance, design elements and food quality reminiscent of fine dining restaurants at a value typically offered by casual dining establishments, a combination known as the upscale affordable dining segment. Its brands provide guests with a fine dining experience and value by serving affordable cuisine prepared using fresh flavorful ingredients and authentic Italian cooking methods, combined with attentive service in an attractive, lively atmosphere.

Building

Building Square Footage: 7,500 sq. ft.

Fan

HVAC system size:

2 Rooftop Unit (RTU) HVAC systems (Manufacturer: Carrier)

Motor

Motor size:

Total 5HP SMC motors (one 2HP and one 3HP motor)

Results

By replacing one fixed-speed induction motor and one VFD-controlled induction motor with two SMC motors, the customer achieved total annualized fan energy savings of 53%.

Conclusion

The restaurant achieved 53% in total annualized HVAC fan energy consumption. Moreover, by replacing the VFD-controlled induction motor with the SMC motor, the customer gained 41% in energy savings across all drive modes.

In addition to improved energy efficiency savings and remote controllability gained by the upgrade, the SMC Fault Detection & Diagnostics provided a valuable business insight: unbeknown to the restaurant manager, the building had been wired so that when the lights were turned off each night, the refrigeration motors also shut off. This explained why oysters were spoiling faster than they should and costing the restaurant a lot of money. The restaurant gained this visibility shortly after the SMC Smart Motor System was operational and serving as a Building Automation System.

The customer committed to upgrading HVAC systems across its chain of restaurants with SMC Smart Motors.


Multinational Biomedical Company

Achieved total annualized fan energy savings of 63%


Gains Total Annualized Fan Energy Savings of 63%


A global biomedical company based in the Bay Area regularly evaluates its energy use looking for ways to improve efficiency. Efforts include working with its utility on how to increase the efficiency of pumps and motors in a production manufacturing facility. The company is committed to taking advantage of a utility program that provides incentives for high-performance new building design and construction that exceed energy efficiency standards.

Pharmaceutical companies must comply with Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These assure proper design, monitoring, and control of manufacturing processes and facilities, requiring drug manufacturers to adequately control manufacturing operations.

Solution Benefits

The company wanted to improve the efficiency of its headquarters HVAC equipment and reduce costs related to monitoring its fault detection and diagnostics system. Reducing maintenance costs and losses from production downtime also had to be addressed while making the system more reliable.

The customer tackled these challenges by replacing the fixed speed induction motors in three HVAC rooftop units (RTU) with SMC motors.

About the Customer

The customer is an international biotechnology company headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area that provides innovative therapeutics to patients with serious unmet medical needs. The company is committed to conducting its operations in a manner protective of the environment and constantly reviews operations to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impacts. In fact, energy efficiency is a competitive metric for pharmaceutical companies.

Building

Building Type: Pharmaceutical Company Headquarters

Fan

HVAC system size: 3 Rooftop Unit (RTU) HVAC system (Manufacturer: Trane)

Motor

Motor size: Total 6HP SMC motors (2 x 1.5HP and 1 x 3HP motors)

Results

When comparing the baseline data to data collected after the SMC motors were installed (baseline fixed speed: 1760 RPM), the SMC motors delivered total annualized fan energy savings of 63%.

For the three RTUs, the motors achieved between 28% – 42% savings during Heat/Cool modes (1550 RPM) and 76% – 90% during Vent modes (690 RPM).

The facilities team was able to conduct data logging on motor torque, supply, return, outside temperatures and developed performance trends from baseline data. The customer used the data to detect anomalous operations and proactively maintain the HVAC system, which eliminated the need to take the system offline and avoided costly downtime.

Conclusion

By using the SMC Motor System, the pharmaceutical company improved reliability and achieved significant energy savings for its headquarters HVAC system. By replacing 3 RTU blower fan motors, it achieved total annualized fan energy savings of 63% with a 2.2-year payback. After increasing operations reliability and gaining the ability to use diagnostic data trends to detect anomalies that mitigated downtime, the company committed to replacing exhaust fans in its lab equipment buildings.

Commercial Property Managers

Total Annualized HVAC Fan Energy Savings of 73%


Customer Story


A property asset manager with over 3 million square feet of commercial space wanted to optimize the energy efficiency of its HVAC systems and make it more intelligent. The ideal solution could:

Remotely correlate rooftop unit (RTU) motor data with thermostat data collected by its Building Automation System (BAS)

Enable the company to evolve from a scheduled maintenance policy to predictive maintenance operations and dynamic maintenance scheduling

Provide remote monitoring and fault detection for improved service quality, allowing its facilities team to respond before customer complaints came in

SMC Smart Motor System Delivers Multiple, High-Value Benefits

Legacy Mechanical and Energy Services introduced the company to SMC. Legacy recommended upgrading an HVAC system at Bay Area property by replacing a fixed-speed, 1HP motor in a RTU with the SMC Smart Motor System.

About the Customer

The company is one of Northern California and Northern Nevada’s prominent developers, investors and managers of commercial properties. It is widely recognized for its office, retail, multi-family, hospitality and mixed-use developments.

Building

Building Square Footage: 2,000 sq. ft.

Fan

HVAC system size: 1 rooftop unit (RTU) (Manufacturer: Bryant)

Motor

Motor size: 1 HP SMC motor

Results

By replacing an induction motor in one RTU with an SMC motor, the customer achieved total annualized fan energy savings of 73%.

The customer achieved power draw savings of 30% in Heat/Cool mode (1550 RPM) and 87% in Vent mode (690 RPM).

Conclusion

By upgrading one HVAC system at Bay Area office building with the SMC motor, the commercial property asset manager achieved total annualized fan energy savings of 73%. The significant energy savings were one of many benefits. The company also reduced peak load for the unit and the building, along with its carbon footprint. The simple motor design and predictive maintenance capabilities made the system more reliable and substantially extended its life. Equally important for a company that owns and leases office space, the company could better monitor and control comfort levels for occupants.

Pleased with results that exceeded expectations, the company contracted to use additional, larger-size motor systems across its properties.

The motor’s built-in software and connectivity provides constant real-time monitoring of energy use, speed, torque, and temperature which allows automatic diagnosis of HVAC system issues. This connectivity also means remote controllability, maximising energy efficiency as well as enabling demand-side management to avoid higher energy tariffs and enjoy demand side response revenues.