Since its invention, electricity has become a crucial aspect of our daily lives. However, distributing electricity must be done in a secure and safe way. Otherwise, accidents could happen. This is where certain protective systems are used, and one of these is the switchgear, which is among the most versatile and functional electrical distribution system. The function of switchgears involves providing sufficient segmentation of MV systems to minimize the extent of a circuit outage while electrical work is being conducted on power stations and cables. They help distribute and carry the load and overload during the service or maintenance of electrical connectors, and help identify and clear different kind of connection failures and faults to minimize the damage.
Switchgears may be insulated by another substance or a simple open-air isolator switch. There are two major types of switchgears that are typically used in various residential, industrial, and commercial electrical applications. They are completely different in terms of their nature and features, but they both have the same objective: to regulate and control medium voltage applications. Here is an overview of each of them:
Metal-enclosed switchgear – This earthed metallic enclosure is made of high-quality sheet steel to house different kinds of circuit breakers. It is typically installed indoors for low to medium voltage applications. And because it is installed indoors, it must be grounded properly. Metal-enclosed switchgears enable different interrupting devices and fixed mounted switching. It does not require any shutters or compartmentalization, and front and rear access are optional. Compartments are often adjacent to one another, and they can easily be opened.
Metal-clad switchgear – This version is typically placed outdoors, so it is waterproof and comes with different types of circuit breakers, protective relays, potential and current transformers, bus conductors, and meters. Metal-clad switchgears must have all kinds of switching and interrupting devices mounted, and they require both rear and front access. All live parts must be in designated and different compartments. The switchgear will not function without shutters.