A switch gear is a combination of electrical disconnect switches, fuses and/or circuit breakers used to control, protect and isolate electrical equipment in an electric power system. It is commonly used in power transmission and distribution networks.
Types of Switch Gear
Switch gear can be divided into two categories:
- Low Voltage Switch Gear – is typically used for residential, commercial and industrial applications. This type of switch gear is designed to handle load ratings of up to 600 volts.
- Medium Voltage Switch Gear – is designed to handle voltages up to 25,000 volts and is primarily used in electric power grids, distribution networks and large industrial applications.
Components of Switch Gear
Switch gear consists of the following components:
- Circuit Breakers – used to interrupt an overcurrent condition.
- Fuses – an overcurrent protective device designed to limit and interrupt the flow of current in case of an overcurrent condition.
- Disconnect Switches – used to manually disconnect the power from a circuit in order to perform maintenance.
- Transformers – a device used to convert AC or DC power from one voltage to another.
- Lightning Arrestors – used to protect equipment from the effects of lightning strikes.
- Lightning Surge Protector – used to protect equipment from the damaging effects of a sudden increase in voltage or current.
- Power Supplies – converts AC or DC voltage to a different voltage.
Advantages of Switch Gear
Switch gear offers many advantages over other types of power distribution equipment. It is designed to be more reliable, durable and cost effective. The use of switch gear also improves safety by providing over current protection and isolating circuits form the rest of the system. Switch gear can also reduce power loss by using more efficient components, allowing it to deliver more power while using less energy.