Going green with NORD’s energy efficient drives

MHD catches up with Max Jarmatz, Managing Director and Phil Richards, Airport and Intralogistics’ Sector Manager from NORD Australia to learn how some of Australia’s largest logistics facilities and airports are gaining cost savings through innovative drives.

Fresh in Australia, Max Jarmatz is new to his current role of Managing Director at NORD Australia. However, no stranger to the business and the world of drives, he has been working at NORD since 2005.

His extensive experience at the company covers a variety of roles across a number of different countries and regions. He has worked for NORD in Europe, China, Indonesia and now in Australia.

“For me, Australia is a very familiar culture. It feels very European here and I also have a lot of experience working across the Asian market, which is a huge focus for many Australian businesses,” Max says.

According to Max, two of NORD’s fastest growing sectors are airports and materials handling, which NORD more commonly refers to as intralogistics.

“Before COVID-19, we found that every country was looking to expand its airport capacity,” Max says.

In addition, the global focus on climate change lets governments and consumers focus on energy saving and sustainability.

Despite restrictions to international travel during COVID-19, Max is confident that people will return to their usual habits of air travel. “Once we get through this challenge, humans will once again be eager travellers,” he says.

Airport design and development is often backed by government so there is an element of sustainability and green initiative that needs to be considered. This is what NORD specialise in with their range of premium efficiency motors and inverters.

“There is often a huge focus on energy savings when you are working on an airport project. Some focus on improvements like LED lighting, or solar. But one area that can offer significant energy efficiency, is the drives you are installing,” he says.

From Paris to Tokyo: NORD drives

Part of being a specialist drive solutions company is having specialist sector managers. This is where Phil Richards comes in, NORD’s Airport and Intralogistics Sector Manager for Oceania.

Phil has been in the role at NORD Australia for close to eight years and has worked on hundreds of airport and intralogistics projects throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

“For NORD this sector has had phenomenal growth thanks in part to huge investments in product development and flexibility from our headquarters in Germany. I believe that NORD has the largest range of airport and intralogistics tailored products in the market and we continue to stay ahead of the competition” he says.

According to Phil, the most efficient and flexible motor and drive technology is here already.

“At NORD we are excited to release our new IE5+ PMSM permanent magnet synchronous motor technology to the market which far surpasses all global efficiency requirements and will offer even more reduction in electricity cost and emission. We named the product range IE5+ PMSM because in many cases the efficiency of the drive system we can achieve is IE7 or IE8,” he says.

“We already have customers requesting IE5+ PMSM for upcoming projects which will work alongside our proven IE4 drive package. The IE5+ motors are capable of being installed onto our existing range of gearboxes and will work with all of our VSD’s which makes this an extremely flexible solution.”

“We have had great success with our IE4 PMSM product and I have been lucky to be involved with some notable projects like FedEx Paris, with 5000 plus NORD drives. In addition, we’ve delivered drives for the new airport expansion at Tokyo’s Haneda airport in preparation for the rescheduled Olympic Games in Japan, with more than 1000 new units being installed at that site. Both of these projects are using our versatile NORDAC Flex VSD each equipped with an onboard Profisafe functional safety bus module” he says.

Besides some very large international projects, Phil is also working with airports in the Oceania region.

“Recently we were lucky enough to be awarded the Gold Coast airport expansion project. Gold Coast airport were looking for an efficient, flexible and green solution for their baggage system and NORD were up to the task,” Phil says.

According to Phil, the new motor technology took a few months to catch on not just in Australia but in other countries too.

“The energy savings really did seem to good to be true to some customers and I don’t blame them. With our IE4 PMSM permanent magnet synchronous motors we had sites reporting 60-80 per cent savings in power usage and electricity cost compared to their previous IE2 and IE3 installations,” he says.

Phil concludes by saying that is important to remember the difference in motor technologies out there as not all of them will reduce electricity costs and contribute towards carbon emission reduction.

“Motor efficiency standards are one thing and motor technology and design is another. You could have an IE4 motor that is not PMSM but it meets the global standards based on full load. As we know in airports and freight facilities most systems run at partial load and this is where the IE4 and IE5+ PMSM motors can save on electricity costs thanks to their extremely low no load and partial load current draw.”

Phil encourages customers looking to reduce energy costs or looking to go green to talk to NORD about total cost of ownership calculations compared to an IE2 or IE3 product.

“Customers will be surprised at how quickly the NORD IE4 and IE5+ motor payback period is,” he says.

Bringing international expertise to the Australian market

For Max, Australia is a big growth area for NORD and the capabilities they can offer. “We have experience across so many different markets. We’ve seen how e-commerce can grow and we’ve seen how it can be very efficient. In some parts of Asia, there is an expectation around same-day delivery. In order to be able to do this, you need a very capable, efficient and cost-effective operation. Our drives offer significant energy savings as well as reliability and durability,” Max says.

Another area of growth is automation, and Max has extensive experience in this area throughout his work in Asia. “I think automation will become more and more important here in Australia. It’s played a huge role in South East Asia and is set to really play a huge role in Australia.”

According to Max, NORD has been very lucky during the COVID-19 restrictions. “We haven’t had to seize operations at our site in Germany. We were lucky in that we were in the right area of the country and had implemented back up plans and increased stock reserves before the peak of the pandemic so we could continue to support our customers throughout this challenging time” he says.




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