What Is Switchgear and How Does It Work?

Switchgear refers to electrical equipment that regulates the flow of electricity within an electrical system. It is used by utility providers and private facilities for two reasons: to prevent overloads and short circuits, and to de-energize circuits for testing and maintenance. The most familiar types of switchgear are circuit breakers and fuses, which interrupt the flow of electricity to a circuit when its current is too high; and power transfer switches, which transfer a building’s source of electricity from a primary source to a secondary source, such as access to generator power during a power outage.

Basic types of switches

switchgear installation is initially classified according to its interrupting technology, the method by which it extinguishes its electric arc. Using this categorization, there are five types of gears available on the market today: oil circuit breakers, which vaporize oil to send a jet of oil through an arc; gas (SF6) breaks down, which draws an arc and then relies on SF6 to extinguish it; vacuum breaks, which extinguish its comparatively small arc by stretching it; air pauses, which typically use a puff of air to extinguish an arc; and hybrid breaks, which use more than one type of break technology to extinguish an arc, such as gas and air.

Additional classifications affecting team choice

Within the above classifications are sub-classifications that also determine what type of equipment is installed in certain facilities and how it is serviced. In addition to interrupting technology, circuit breakers have at least eight more classifications: interrupting standard (make before breaking / breaking before closing, circuit or isolation); voltage level (low, medium or high); type of general construction (industrial, utility, marine, etc.); insulating medium (air, gas, oil, etc.); method of operation (manual, motor or stored energy); type of current (alternating or direct); type of application (transmission or distribution); and purpose of operation (isolation, load break, or grounding).

The importance of generator breaker maintenance

Regardless of the type of circuit breaker a facility uses, its proper maintenance is crucial for worker safety and asset preservation, as faulty electrical equipment is a common cause of fatal fires destroying business facilities. However, special attention is often paid to the maintenance of generator breakers due to their critical role in emergency power production, by changing the source of electricity of a facility from commercial supply to generator supply in the event of a blackout. , and vice versa when commercial supply resumes.

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