Power Flow and Control of Industrial Circuit Breakers

The Importance of a Industrial circuit breaker

industrial circuit breakers are an important part of a power system’s safety process. Industrial electric circuit breakers are automatically-operated switches that are used to prevent potential equipment damage or personal injury. It is important, however, that the correct industrial Circuit Breakers are used to mange the correct power flow.

What are Industrial Circuit Breakers?

Industrial circuit breakers are electrical power devices that are used to break an electric circuit when a power overload occurs. Industrial circuit breakers are classified based on several factors. These factors can include voltage class, construction type, structural features and interrupting type. The three most general categories for industrial circuit breakers are low voltage, medium voltage and high voltage.

Low voltage industrial circuit breakers contain less than 1000 VAC and are most commonly used in residential, commercial and industrial settings. Within the general category of low voltage, there are two sub-types of industrial circuit breakers; the miniature circuit breaker and the molded case circuit breaker.

The miniature circuit breaker has a rated current of no more than 100A. It can be operated by thermal or thermal-magnetic operation. It is important to note that the miniature circuit breaker’s trip characteristics are not adjustable. The molded case circuit breaker has a rated current of up to 1000A. Similar to the miniature circuit breaker, the molded case circuit breaker can be operated by thermal or thermal-magnetic operation. Unlike the miniature circuit breaker, however, its trip current can be adjusted in larger ratings.

Medium voltage industrial circuit breakers are rated between 1 and 72kV. They can be assembled for either indoor or outdoor use. There are three sub-types of medium voltage industrial circuit breakers; these include vacuum circuit breakers, air circuit breakers and SF6 circuit breakers.

Vacuum circuit breakers have a rated current of up to 3000A. This type of circuit breaker works by creating and extinguishing the arc inside a vacuum chamber. Vacuum industrial circuit breakers are used for voltage up to 35,000V and usually last longer. Air circuit breakers have a rated current of 10,000A. An air circuit breaker has an adjustable trip characteristic, which can include configurable trip delays. This type of circuit breaker is used for main power distribution within a large industrial plant. The SF6 circuit breaker extinguishes the arc in a chamber of sulfur hexafluoride gas.

The high voltage circuit breakers are used to protect and control electrical power transmission networks. Its rated current when used in power transmission is believed to 72.5kV or higher.

Regardless of their type, all industrial circuit breakers function with one purpose. Industrial circuit breakers prevent potential injury or equipment damage when a power overload is present, as well as detect faulty conditions by automatically interrupting the power supply.