Baldor has released the latest version of its software-estimating tool that enables users to evaluate the energy efficiency of electric motors and variable speed drives.

Known as the Baldor Energy Savings Tool (BEST), it can be downloaded at www.baldor.com/support/software_BEST.asp. The software analyzes the efficiency and annual electricity usage of users' existing motors, and then it calculates the cost savings that can be achieved by replacing them with equivalent higher efficiency models. Built-in motor performance and pricing information enables the software to suggest optimum replacements and to estimate the investment payback period.

According to the company, BEST should be useful to electrical engineers and maintenance personnel wishing to implement a site-wide motor-management strategy, or those who would like to compare the costs of a motor rewind against those of a replacement motor. The software also is helpful to those charged with conducting an energy audit of their company.

The program runs on any standard PC. Data can be input either from a keyboard or imported from a Microsoft Excel file. Both methods employ drop-down menus and are backed by built-in help files. A single screen is used for setting all preferences and global project data such as local currency, electricity costs, supply frequency and default motor load. The results are generated immediately by clicking on the Instant Cost Calculation button. It shows the amount of energy being used by the existing motor as well as the amount that would be used by comparable Baldor models.

One feature handles "what-if" scenarios, enabling users to simplify and accelerate iterative calculations. For example, significant energy and cost-savings often can be obtained by adding a variable-speed drive to an existing electric motor, especially if its load has a variable torque demand as is the case with pumps, fans and blowers. The program provides Excel templates for various gears, pumps and fans, and users can calculate the potential financial benefit of adding speed control to their particular application.

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