The Need for Industrial Circuit Breakers

circuit breakers are used in both residential and non-residential applications. While many are familiar with residential Circuit Breakers, industrial circuit breakers serve an entirely different need. Circuit breakers are automatically-operated switches to protect the electrical circuit from damage. Regardless of the application, circuit breakers are always part of an important electrical safety plan.

What is a circuit breaker?

Circuit breakers are often classified according to voltage, need, features and interrupting type. Industrial circuit breakers are usually classified as either low voltage, medium voltage and high voltage.

Residential Circuit Breakers vs. Industrial Circuit Breakers

Residential circuit breakers are for switching and protecting a home’s wiring from high temperatures that can occur due to increased temperatures caused by current higher than the wire’s recommended rating. This usually takes place when there are too many electrical appliances in use at once. When a circuit breaker  trips it is essentially a safety mechanism to avoid damage to the equipment or other potential electrical issues in the home.

Industrial circuit breakers are used for new construction, for upgrades and for maintenance. Industrial circuit breakers are electrical devices used to break part of the electrical circuit that can take place during a system overload. Both residential and industrial circuit breakers are used as part of the safety plan to avoid catastrophic damage or injury.

Low voltage industrial circuit breakers are rated for less than 1000 VAC and are used commonly in residential, commercial and industrial applications. There are two sub-types of low voltage circuit breakers – miniature circuit breakers and molded case circuit breakers.

Medium voltage industrial circuit breakers are rated between one and 72 kV. They can be assembled into metal-enclosed switchgear for indoor use. They can also be installed as individual components for outdoor use. Their use depends greatly on the manufacturing process and electrical need.

High voltage circuit breakers are used to protect and control electrical power transmission networks and are for applications requiring higher than 72.5 kV.

Magnetic and Thermal Magnetic Industrial Circuit Breakers

Two additional types of industrial circuit breakers are magnetic and thermal-magnetic. Magnetic breakers use a solenoid electromagnet. The magnet’s pulling force increases with the electric current. Thermal magnetic circuit breakers are usually found in distribution boards. They use an electromagnet and bimetallic strip to trip the breaker if an overload takes place.