A vital part of the electricity system
Switchgear directly affects the safety, reliability, and flexibility of an electricity system. It is found in the electric network substations of utilities and industrial plants, as well as in the power supply systems of buildings, public transport systems and even ships.
Switchgear has two basic functions:
- It houses protection devices against overload and short circuits, ensuring personal safety and the integrity of the equipment
- It contains devices to distribute and control electric current
Additional functions of switchgear can be:
- To isolate electric circuits from the power supply to enable a safe execution of maintenance activities or to clear faults
- To connect and disconnect electric induction motors
- To execute qualitative or quantitative measurements on the power supply
Switchgear exists in all voltage classes, from 220 V up to 1,100 kV. The switchgear system is installed inside a cabinet, which can be mounted either inside or outside a building. The exception to this is a situation involving very high voltages; in that event, they are placed in an open space.