From Motors and Drives

IEC Ratings
At this point, it would be helpful to briefly review IEC motor ratings and then compare IEC with NEMA. The motor market today has become more global, with IEC rated motors on equipment exported from Europe.

IEC is the acronym for the International Electrotechnical Commission. IEC, like NEMA, establishes and publishes mechanical and electrical standards for motors. Many IEC standards have been nationalized for a specific country, such as Germany, Great Britain, or France.

Though NEMA and IEC standards use different terms, they are essentially similar in ratings and in many cases are interchangeable. NEMA standards are probably more conservative, which allows for interpretations in design. IEC standards are more specific and categorized. They are typically more precise.

Both IEC and NEMA use letter codes to indicate mechanical dimensions. They also use code letters to indicate general frame size. The NEMA and IEC dimension codes are not interchangeable, nor are the frame sizes (exception being the 56 frame, which is the same in NEMA and IEC).

As expected, NEMA designations are listed in inches and horsepower, whereas IEC designations are listed in millimeters and kilowatts. NEMA lists a handful of enclosure designations and descriptions, whereas IEC uses numbers.

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