A series of switches and breakers make up the switchgear, which is used by a backup power unit. The combination of disconnect components or combination of parts isolates the electrical equipment, assisting in controlling the electricity’s amount that is being transferred to a building. These components disconnect the circuits whenever a fault is detected in the current that is being supplied. These faults can range from a short circuit to an overload, where the voltage is quite high. Therefore, switchgear maintenance is important. It ensures that these parts are capable of effectively detecting every fault.
However, spending a considerable portion of funds on services and maintenance of switchgear’s installation might vary across different users. It might vary according to the condition of your switchgear and what preventive measures you regularly take to keep up the health of switchgears. And, there is no doubt about it that with appropriate maintenance, the life of your switchgear would increase.
It is important to have a preventive maintenance routine, including periodical maintenance, which needs to be carried out at pre-determined intervals and conditional maintenance, which is based on the prescribed criteria. These checks are intended to reduce deterioration in a system’s operation, thus, reducing the probability of failure.
A device placed in certain conditions might affect its working and contribute to accelerating the device’s ageing. These conditions can be temperature, vibration, relative humidity, salt environment, dust, corrosive atmospheres, per cent load, current harmonics.
It is advisable to always consider a number of aspects with regard to maintenance of switchgears:
- Age of Switchgear
The age of the switchgear is one of the significant factors one needs to consider. If you have recently purchased your switchgear, and it is in good working condition, it would be highly advantageous to invest in maintenance and service. This will help in switchgear’s longer life, economic viability and better performance. Whereas, if your switchgear is not performance up to the mark or is too old, investing in a newer technology would be a better idea.
- Type of Switchgear
The maintenance of different types of switchgears is very different, be it the procedure or economics. For example, a VCB maybe be easier to maintain but, it might be expensive than an OCB. Therefore, one needs to evaluate different maintenance options available in the market for the type of switchgear they’ve installed. The significant parameters that you need to take care of are insulating medium, quenching medium, optimum voltage level outdoor/ indoor, and others.
The type of application for which you are using the switchgear would determine the required frequency of maintenance. For example, switchgear that is installed in mining operations might have to be serviced frequently compared to the switchgear installed in a commercial setting. And, accordingly, you can choose the different maintenance and service options available.
The physical environment, such as pollution, humidity, dust, temperature, etc., in which the switchgear is operating, would also have a significant impact on the services’ type that needs to be considered. Besides, seismic tolerance and altitude are also significant factors of the environment.
- Electrical Conditions
Apart from the above-mentioned maintenance tips, one needs to consider the quality of power and voltage level that is in operation. One needs to also account for fluctuations and their frequency, switchgears’ operation duration, peak load conditions, etc.
Based on the above-mentioned factors, and the frequency, type and procedures of maintenance and services, you can make an appropriate choice.
A few other factors you shouldn’t avoid considering are service vendors, the finances, type of transaction and your application. However, for expert advice, it is advisable to consult a professional and then choose the appropriate maintenance option for your switchgear.