Motion Control & Drives

Energy-saving irrigation methods

March 2019 Motion Control & Drives

Anyone within the agricultural sector will know that operating an irrigation system can be expensive, with one of the primary factors being the cost of energy. The good news is that there are ways to reduce costs and achieve savings.

Significant efficiency can be realised by leveraging available technology to provide an appropriate electric motor and variable speed drive (VSD) combination that reduce costs while providing reliable performance. WEG’s IE3 Top Premium Efficiency motors and VSDs are designed for that purpose.

As a supplier with a solid track record in irrigation applications, the Zest WEG Group can provide examples to show how energy costs can be reduced. In a pivot pump application, which operates for 4000 hours in a single year – two planting cycles – it was possible to do a comparison between a standard efficiency IE1 motor (91% Eff) and a premium efficiency WEG IE3 motor.

WEG IE3 Top Premium Efficiency motors not only offer maximum ingress protection with a higher winding insulation system to increase motor life expectancy, but also offer efficiencies of up to 96,6% and benefits are apparent when compared against IE1 standard efficiency motors. Using a 22 kW 2 Pole at 75% of full load IE1 motor with an efficiency of 91%, measured against a WEG IE3 motor with 93% efficiency, estimated savings of R2100 per year at the current tariff will be achieved.

Much higher savings can also be realised by using a WEG VSD in combination with a WEG motor. An IE1 electric motor, again operating for 4000 hours per year at 91% efficiency, will consume about R93 800 worth of energy, using old valve-based methods to throttle and reduce the output of water volume and/or pressure. The same could be achieved using a VSD to reduce the motor speed while simultaneously further reducing the energy used when compared to running the motor direct online from a power source.

If a 10% reduction in operational speed using the VSD is assumed, further savings of 22% to 27% could be achieved.


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