Electrical switchgear regulates, protects, and isolates a power system with a variety of controls housed in a metal enclosure. It’s a vital system in industries that experience electrical faults or those that need to regularly de-energize equipment for maintenance, such as industrial environments and electrical utilities.
Switchgear contains fuses, switches, and other power conductors. However, circuit breakers are the most common component found in switchgear. During an electrical fault, a circuit breaker will sense the anomaly and interrupt the power flow, effectively limiting damage to the system.
Because it’s designed to control the flow of power, switchgear plays a role in enhancing a facility’s energy efficiency and safety.
There are different types of switchgear, most applications require either low voltage switchgear or medium voltage switchgear.
Low voltage switchgear is used across multiple industries such as healthcare, industrial buildings, and water/wastewater to regulate systems up to 1 kilovolt. Depending on your facility’s specifications, you can incorporate different product features, including:
Indoor and outdoor systems up to 75 kilovolts use medium voltage switchgear. Since applications and budgets vary, medium voltage equipment comes in three insulating technology options:
Shielded solid switchgear
Insulators protect the components within the switchgear and often provide a cooling function.
There are differences between switchgear and switchboards although many use the terms interchangeably. Not only does switchgear protect and control the power supply, but it also can disconnect from a power supply during a fault. On the other hand, switchboards are only used to transmit power to other sources, most often in commercial settings. Switchgear and switchboards are also designed to handle different voltage capacities. High voltage switchgear can accommodate up to 350 kilovolts, whereas switchboards are rarely designed to handle more than 600 volts.