Electrical grids are created using a combination of electrical components. Switchgear (i.e. the combination of disconnects, fuses, and circuit breakers) helps to isolate each piece of electrical equipment. This is helpful because it allows plant managers to de-energize and repair issues to the electrical system before a breakdown occurs.
Switchgear help to protect electrical machines. What occurs is that a breaker is tripped causing an electrical surge which indicates a fault. With switchgear, the power can be re-directed from another source on the circuit until the issue is fixed to help keep machines online.
There are two main types of switchgear: high voltage and low voltage. High-voltage switchgear is used for electrical supplies such as motors and large-capacity electrical equipment requiring upwards of 35,000 volts. Low voltage switchgear runs electrical equipment under 1,000 volts.
Electrical switchgear can be found on the inside or outside of buildings. When switchgear is located on the outside it is contained within a weatherproof metal locker. Within manufacturing factories, the switchgear is often located in large electrical lockers.
As is the case with any equipment it is important to take care in preventing switchgear issues before they arise. When it comes to care and preventative maintenance for switchgear a supervisor should be in charge to oversee that the equipment is kept in working condition. Mostly because… when the power is shut off to your plant money is lost. And this can be prevented by proper maintenance. It is always better to prevent issues with normal maintenance of your switchgear and electrical equipment than to react to the challenges that occur when power outages occur and machines are unable to function.
Maintenance can be done by hiring a company that specializes in maintaining switchgear and other electrical components. One of the methods they use is thermal imaging. When a hot spot is detected by the thermal imaging equipment it can be fixed before it becomes a problem.