A switchgear is essentially a distribution panel which distributes electricity load to the smaller capacity panel. It is used in almost every business because of the wide variety of functions that it plays. Hence, why it is crucial for switchgear installation to be executed correctly for the device to operate at its maximum potential.
Some of these functions are, switching and disconnecting the electrical power source from the load, switching and disconnecting the power source from other electrical equipment, and switching the electrical grid with the branch.
With the switchgear serving so many purposes, it is vital that the switchgear is well maintained and checked on routinely – failing to keep the switchgear in good condition can lead to an extended downtime from outages that can cost the company both monetary and productivity loss. Similarly, the same applies to other industrial equipment you own from generators to electric motors – engaging an engineer to conduct generator or electric motor rewinds is necessary to ensure tip-top performance even after a period of time.
Hence, if you need guidance on the proper care required for your switchgear, then keep reading on.
When’s the right time to modernise your switchgear?
This is a common query that many people have. Knowing the signs that indicate a switchgear upgrade is vital in preventing any issues and outages. Or otherwise, you could also choose to have your trusted engineer do switchgear testing to find out the exact condition your device is in. It’ll help you gauge the type of method you should go for when modernising your switch gear.
If you realise that you do not have any spare part available, it’s a sign that it’s time to modernise your switchgear. In the case of any issues, you would not be able to promptly fix it without any spare parts and extend the company’s downtime duration. Having ageing switchgear is also a telltale sign of modernising your equipment since they are more susceptible to having faults.
There are also three ways in which your switchgear can be modernised or maintained. These three ways are the retrofit, refurbish and the replace method.
This method involves replacing the old circuit breaker that is in the current switchgear system.
By replacing the old circuit breaker with a new one, it is a simple yet effective way of extending your switchgear’s overall life. Another reason for performing a retrofit is because of worn out or damaged circuit breakers.
Replacing those circuit breakers will ensure that you achieve have better performance and protection from any issues.
If you choose to go with this option, it means restoring your current equipment and bringing it back to its original or optimal condition. To some, this sounds impossible, especially since some equipment and parts can age drastically over time.
However, it can be done through a maintenance inspection of all the parts. This process includes the cleaning, lubrication, inspection, adjustment as well as tests the circuit breaker has to go through.
Even if you have spoiled parts, it could also be refurbished if it is not severely damaged. In those cases, you could also alternatively, replace those parts.
The final method would be replace. This can be done by completely switching out the pieces. After a thorough inspection and evaluation, you could opt to replace the switchgear completely.
This means that you can call in your trusted engineer to help you out, at the same time, give any other equipment a look at its current condition. Switchgear replacement aside, you could do a detailed check-up of your other equipment such as a generator; opting for generator overhauling to know the state of the machinery.
However, there are only several situations where the replace method is recommended. Here are some of the common circumstances where you should consider using replacement.
- The age, performance and condition of your equipment
- System Fault levels
- Risk of fires
- Performance history
With a clearer understanding of which method you should go for to ensure your switchgear is in excellent working order again – you’ll be able to determine which is the best one for your equipment.