Switchgear is an essential part of any electrical system, especially in generator power and in commercial settings. But what exactly is Switchgear and what voltages are there? This blog aims to help explain what switchgear is, what the difference between the voltage options is, and help you work out what voltage switchgear you need for your generator.
Firstly, let’s talk about what switchgear is.
What is Switchgear?
Switchgear makes up an integral part of an electrical power system. The term switchgear is a broad term that describes a range of switching devices that all complete a common purpose: controlling, protecting, and isolating power systems. This switchgear definition can be extended to include devices that regulate and meter a power system, circuit breakers and similar technology. Basically, switchgear are the components that interrupt a power supply in the event of a problem.
How Does Switchgear Work?
As mentioned above, electrical switchgear has three basic functions, electrical protection, electrical isolation, and control. Switchgear power systems are a combination of electrical disconnects that provide the isolation of electrical equipment to prevent damage in the event of a power surge. Circuits can only handle a certain amount of electricity, and if too much of it flows through, the wiring may become too hot. This could cause problems on crucial electrical components or even start fires. An efficient switchgear will activate in the event of an electrical surge, automatically interrupting the flow of power and safeguarding the electrical systems. De-energizing equipment for safe testing, maintenance, and fault-clearing are other uses for switchgear.
What are examples of Switchgear Components?
Switchgears are made using components that disconnect power to help protect any connected equipment from the risk of an electrical overload. Switchgear can include multiple components, including:
- Circuit breakers
- Lightning arresters
What are the Different Switchgear Types?
Switchgear comes in three distinct types, which are three voltage levels:
- LV (Low voltage)
- MV (Medium voltage)
- HV (High voltage).
Each type of switchgear has a different voltage level for different applications, but what are the differences between high-voltage, medium voltage and low voltage?
What is the difference between LV, MV and HV switchgear?
The three types are distinguished by their varying voltage levels, which is the primary difference between them. But what are the three different voltages used for?
Let’s start with low voltage switchgear first.
Low Voltage Switchgear
Low-voltage switchgear can control systems up to 1kV in voltage. These are frequently used in a variety of industries and are typically found on the low-voltage sides of power-distribution transformers.
Systems with voltages between 1kV and 35kV use medium-voltage switchgear. This switchgear is frequently used in systems that include transmission and distribution lines, generators, feeder circuits, and motors.
Lastly, we have high voltage switchgear. A high-voltage switchgear system is one that can manage between 35 kV and 230kV of voltage. These breakers frequently have improved safety features because they are made for high-voltage use.
What Switchgear type do you need?
The type or voltage switchgear systems you need ultimately depends on the power load you have. If you already have switchgear and need assistance with maintenance, the team at Shenton Group performs visual inspections, cleanings, and lubrications for LV switchgear as part of annual maintenance work or one-time servicing.
For more information or to discuss ongoing maintenance services, get in touch with our team.
For efficient power distribution in industrial setups, switchgear systems are frequently used to protect connected technology from damage and interrupting the end user. Shenton Group have carried out a low voltage switchgear project in London Docklands and another in Liverpool for a telecoms company. If you require any support, advice or are keen to start a project involving switchgear equipment, or specialist switchgear systems, then get in touch with us today and we will be glad to help.