Invention of the Switchgear Power Systems

The switchgear power system was invented towards the end of the 19th century with the intention of being used to operate motors. With the improvement of technology over time, it can now be used with up to 1100 kV. There are a lot of criteria to classify switchgear power systems. It could be classified depending on current rating, voltage class (low voltage, medium voltage and high voltage), insulating medium (oil, gas and vacuum), construction type, interrupting device, operating method and type of current. Often, though, they are classified according to the insulating medium it uses. An oil switchgear power system depends on vaporization of oil to blast a jet of oil through the arc. A gas switchgear system depends on the strength of gas usually SF6 in quenching the arc.

The function of a switchgear power system is to protect electric loads. It also provides circuitry isolation. It allows de-energizing of equipment to allow clearing of faults downstream. This acts as a safety feature and convenience feature since in the event of overload, operation in other parts if the industry will go on as only the affected parts will cease being feed with power. This reduces the inconveniences that could be experienced if it were not so.

A switchgear power system also offers safety. By employing trapped key interlocking system, it provides quite a predefined scenario as far as operations are concerned. Indoor switchgear is also tested for internal; arc containment. Cables to the switchgear are fitted with temperature sensors charged with monitoring any temperature build up that could occur. In the case of SF6 switchgear, an alarm that warns of loss of pressure is fitted. If the pressure is too low, it’s designed in a manner that operations are halted.

Switchgear installations in industries can be classified as single or double busbar. Single busbar is easier to use, readily understood by operators and requires smaller space besides its total installation cost being lower. On the other hand, a double busbar installation is costly more complex to operate, demands more space and has a higher cost of maintenance. It however has additional features that the single busbar doesn’t possess. These include the operation of circuit breakers for non synchronized systems, extension without having to shut down the switchgear power system and load shedding of feeder circuit.

To industries and commercial building developers, this power system has become preferred. It has replaced the knife switches which are said to be less safe to operate and inconveniencing in its operations. With improvement in technology, more features keep being added to the power system and its viability thus increased.

If any industry thinks of feeding its loads with more than one source then switchgear power system is the appropriate power system to use. Before choosing adopting a switchgear system though, the industry should understand its hazards. Different types possess different hazards.