Maintaining assets that can’t be turned off: medium voltage switchgear retrofit

Published: Fri 18 Jul 2014
A blog entry by Smart Grid Watch

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Generally, assets for industrial production, power generation, and other critical operations must keep running all the time. However, they also need regular maintenance in order to stay reliable. Redundancy only gets you so far — what happens if backup equipment fails while the primary device is shut down for maintenance?

Facility owners lose money for every hour that necessary equipment cannot perform its intended work. Equipment reliability is crucial to business competitiveness.

One way to address this power system challenge is to retrofit assets such as gas-insulated or air-insulated medium voltage switchgear. This involves upgrading old circuit breakers with current (and far more reliable) vacuum circuit breaker technology.

This type of retrofit can extend the lifetime of the switchgear — increasing its availability and safety while reducing maintenance costs. Plus, this measure pays for itself quickly.

Here are some signals that it may be time to retrofit your switchgear:

  • Existing electrical breakers are beyond their expected lifetime.
  • Existing electrical breaker technology is old (oil or SF6 circuit breakers).
  • Spare parts are difficult to locate, and costly. In fact, the OEM for your original circuit breakers may no longer even exist.
  • Current workforce lacks experience in circuit breaker maintenance.
  • Existing switchgear is dimensioned sufficiently to accommodate a retrofit.
  • Operational staff is trained and confident with the operation of the existing substation.

Retrofitting switchgear costs only about half as much as replacing switchgear. This includes not just equipment costs, but also cable adaptation, building and civil works, installation and commissioning, transportation, taxes, etc.

Retrofit projects typically involve downtime of only two days per panel, while offering 15-30 years of additional switchgear lifetime, with improved performance. Or, if you use a retrofit kit, there may be no downtime at all.

Medium voltage switchgear retrofits also helps future proof your power system — and gives you confidence that spare parts will always be available if you need them.

Siemens offers medium voltage switchgear retrofit solutions — not just for Siemens devices, but also for equipment by Hawker Siddeley, Eaton, Areva, GEC,  Reyrolle, Magrini Galileo, ABB – Calor Emag, ABB – Sace, Ansaldo, Allis-Chalmers, Federal Pacific, General Electric (GE), Federal Pacific, ITE, Schneider, Sprecher & Schuh, Mc Graw Edison, Westinghouse and other OEMs.

More information: See attached fact sheets

Questions: Please comment below or contact Siemens directly. Siemens Internet Website

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