The Ecodesign Regulation explained simply

  • Getting the most out of a specified input - that's what the Ecodesign Directive is all about.

Getting the most out of a specified input - that's what the Ecodesign Directive is all about. The topic is not new throughout the EU, the importance in view of climate change and limited resources is known to be all the greater. This statement is also clear in the completely revised Ecodesign Regulation (EU) 2019/1781, which is based on the Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC. From July 1, 2021, this will have a noticeable impact on the equipment of machines and plants.

Ecodesign simple

We know that the associated conversions and even new constructions cost time and money. We also know that the work is worthwhile for nature and society. We have put together a list of what will be important in the future for eco-design and what role SEW-EURODRIV will play.

So we don't want to get lost in the details of a legal regulation, but rather show what needs to be done and what benefits will result for machine and plant manufacturers and users in the long term. With this in mind, we prefer to put our energy into personal consulting for the custom-fit conversion of your drive technology and not leave you alone with complex configuration tools.

What changes with us and what remains

A significant innovation in the Ecodesign Regulation is that not only standard asynchronous motors with cage rotors are considered, but also frequency inverters. In addition, there are requirements for other motor classes that were not previously part of the EU regulation. These are essentially motors with power ratings below 0.75 kW, brake motors and drives for explosion-proof areas, which were excluded from the previous regulation in Europe. It is precisely the expansion of the horizon of consideration in the direction of frequency inverters that puts the revised Ecodesign Regulation in a position to better evaluate, literally, the efficient design of entire drive axes. In the past, critics rightly complained that energy efficiency at component level can never have the same effect as holistically optimized systems. This is where the regulation catches up, and from mid-2021 it will be taking a closer look at the energy efficiency of frequency converters in speed-controlled applications.

Selection of affected productsT
  • Asynchronous motors
  • Frequency inverter
  • Decentralized drive technology
  • Servo technology

Ecodesign is a continuous improvement process in the European Union. With the introduction of the regulation in 2009, two years later IE2 was the standard for motors in the power range between 0.75 and 375 kW. Twelve years later, IE4 will be mandatory - at least for higher-power motors between 75 and 200 kW. Ecodesign in Europe thus represents a development to use electrical energy more and more efficiently. The stricter standards are also a sign that we are getting better and better at using limited resources as effectively as possible. Let's keep working on it!

Grid-connected motors in inverter operation must then also meet the highest requirements and the frequency inverters must fulfill the highest possible efficiency class. Despite the many far-reaching changes, customers and users of our drives need not worry. We have been supplying motors and frequency inverters that meet the targets of this EU regulation since 2014.

The new Ecodesign Regulation applies to induction motors:

  • without carbon brushes, commutators, slip rings or electrical rotor connections
  • designed to operate at a sinusoidal voltage with a frequency
  • of 50 Hz, 60 Hz or 50/60 Hz
  • with 2, 4, 6 or 8 poles
  • with a nominal voltage UN of more than 50 V and up to 1000 V
  • with output power PN from 0.12 kW up to and including 1000 kW
  • designed for continuous operation
  • designed directly for operation on the public power supply system

Requirements from 01.07.2021

  • IE2 obligation: 0.12 ≤ PN < 0.75 kW; New: incl. explosion-proof motors (Ex d, Ex de, Ex tb, Ex tc, Ex ec)
  • IE3 obligation: 0.75 ≤ PN ≤ 1000 kW; New: incl. explosion-proof motors (Ex d, Ex de, Ex tb, Ex tc, Ex ec).

Still to come

IE2 mandatory for single-phase mains motors from 0.12 kW and Ex eb motors in the power range from 0.12 to 1000 kW: These are two requirements that will be coming to mechanical engineering from July 2023. At the same time, IE4 will become mandatory for three-phase mains motors in continuous operation in the power range from 75 to 200 kW, with the exception of brake motors and drives for hazardous areas.

We have compiled everything for you at a glance in a brochure.

  • AC motors DT../DV.. series, DR63
  • AC motors series DRS../DR2S.. (IE1), DRE.. (IE2)
  • Explosion-proof AC motors series
  • Brake motors DRS../BE series (IE1), DRE../BE (IE2)
  • DRK... single-phase motor (IE1)
  • AC motors series DRN...(IE3)

are only partially compliant with the current Ecodesign Directive and are no longer part of the current SEW-EURODRIVE portfolio. We offer the DRN..(IE3) series as a successor product in continuous operation.

are approved until 30.06.2021 with a power PN <0.75 kW. As a successor product in continuous operation we offer the series DRN..(IE3).

eDR63, EDRS.. (IE1), EDRE.. (IE2)

are approved until 30.06.2021. From 01.07.2021 we have the series EDRN..(IE3) as successor product for you.

are approved until 30.06.2021. We offer the DRN..(IE3) series as a successor product for continuous operation.

are approved until June 30, 2023. As an alternative, SEW-EURODRIVE offers a single-phase frequency inverter with motor of the DRN..(IE3) series.

are permitted without restriction until June 30, 2023.

We are also consistently using IE2 for inverter technology for central drive architectures. This includes the MOVITRAC®, MOVI4R-U®, MOVIDRIVE® product series. The combination of IE3 motor and IE2 frequency inverter will remain in the green zone beyond 2023 - even if the regulation tightens the energy consumption requirements even further.

Affected inverters:

  • with three-phase input
  • only one AC voltage output
  • with rated voltage 100 - 1000 V (AC)
  • For operation of asynchronous motors with rated power in the range 0.12 - 1000 kW


  • Inverters for nuclear applications
  • Inverters for regenerative drives
  • converters for drives with sinusoidal input current (THD < 10%)
  • inverters integrated in a product, which cannot be tested independently

We have compiled everything for you at a glance in a brochure.


The standard MOVITRAC® frequency inverters in compact design with complete equipment are always the economical and energy-efficient choice for standard tasks.

Optimum energy efficiency is ensured by energy-saving functions such as: Power recovery units, energy storage or standby operation. Standby mode reduces the energy consumption of the application inverters by up to 85 % during breaks in operation without losing communication with the higher-level PLC.

We also offer inverter technology for decentralized drive architectures with IE2 or higher. This includes the MOVIMOT®, MOVIFIT® and MOVIPRO® product series. The combination of IE3 motor and IE2 frequency inverter will remain in the green zone beyond 2023 - even if the regulation tightens the energy consumption requirements even further.

All affected inverter series from SEW-EURODRIVE meet the required energy efficiency class - IE2.

Affected decentralized inverters:

  • MOVI-C® decentralized inverters

We have compiled everything for you at a glance in a brochure.

  • MOVIMOT® flexible decentralized inverter

The decentralized MOVIMOT® flexible inverter offers you a lot of freedom in the lean automation of your production. With the decentralized inverter, automation moves from the central control cabinet to the field, exactly where you need the automation of your drive technology.

MOVIFIT® compact, the decentralized single inverter for efficient conveyor technology.

The compact device offers a high degree of integration and can replace complete converter control cabinets in the field. With the advantage that the control system is located close to the drive.

An info for the users of highly dynamic servo axes and drives for multi-axis systems: These are not in the scope of the Ecodesign Regulation (EU) 2019/1781 and are therefore not affected by the new requirements.

At SEW-EURODRIVE, these include the classic asynchronous servomotors of the DRL... series and the synchronous servomotors of the CM..., CMP... and CM3C... series. - linear axes and electric cylinders, as well as MOVIGEAR®, which already achieves IE5, and the compact MOVIDRIVE® modular multi-axis system.

We have compiled everything for you at a glance in a brochure.

Brochure download

The most important at a glance

Relevant changes due to the European Ecodesign Regulation for SEW-EURODRIVE products can be found graphically in the brochure.

Download brochure

We make it simple for you

In detail, the SEW product portfolio already offers suitable drives. In current applications, where motors in the DRS... design were previously the first choice, our DRN... series motors with efficiency class IE3 are suitable as successors for low power ratings from 0.12 kW or for brake motors. These thus exceed the IE2 class required in Europe for small outputs up to 0.75 kW. The replacement for explosion-proof drives with EDRS..- or EDRE..- are our EDRN.. motors, which also meet the IE3 efficiency class and are compliant with the ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU in parallel.

For inverter operation from 0.12 kW to 1000 kW, the energy-saving DRN.. motors with our MOVIMOT® inverters are ideally suited by meeting the required efficiency requirements for both products. However, the inverters for control cabinet installation of the MOVITRAC®, MOVIDRIVE® series and from the MOVI-C® automation modular system also exceed the energy efficiency requirements of the EU regulation and meet energy efficiency class IE2.

As of July 01, 2021, 8-pole three-phase asynchronous motors will then also be in the regulations for Europe: 8-pole DRN.. motors in the power range 0.12 ... 2.2 kW will meet the requirements set by Europe and will then also optimize the mounted gear units in terms of size, reduction ratio and design compared to a variant with 4-pole three-phase motors. From July 1, 2023, the 1-phase asynchronous motors from 0.12 kW must meet the IE2 class and the three-phase asynchronous motors from 75 to 200 kW must meet the IE4 class. Brake and explosion-proof motors are exempt from this IE4 requirement and must only comply with IE3 class.

The new regulation creates the possibility to replace motors used in machinery and equipment with identical motors. This replacement regulation is new and valid until July 01, 2029 for motors that were sold before July 01, 2021, or July 01, 2023, and fall under the stricter eco-design requirements.

Download poster

All regulations at a glance!

With so many regulations, it's easy to lose track. Our poster shows you the worldwide efficiency requirements for asynchronous motors and what to look out for in the future.

Download poster

How to make it easier for yourself

To make the changeover easier, we always keep our products and tools up to date for you and continue to develop them. As usual, you can select your drive online in our product configurator, which will then already take into account the new requirements and the exceptions.

As a first source of information for worldwide energy efficiency regulations, our IE-Guide is available in the Online Support. At the same place you will also find a changeover guide as well as an energy saving calculator.

In this way, we make it easy for you to switch to products that comply with the new EU regulation. If you have any further questions or are unsure, our sales force will be happy to help you at any time - support is just a phone call away.

Make yourself fit

The modular video tutorial explains the most important requirements of the Ecodesign Directive for motors and frequency inverters in the European Economic Area, which is valid from July 1, 2021. Relevant changes resulting from this for affected SEW-EURODRIVE products and their applications are also shown.

Additional information


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