Switchgear is an important part of a power system or electric circuit. It is made by circuit breakers, fuses, switches and relays and they are primarily used for the protection, control & isolate electrical equipment. Switchgear used in industrial, power utilities, residential, commercial and infrastructure & transportation etc. The major objective considered before designing is reducing the hazard to human life, loss of services in the large area and resulting in enormous economic losses etc. Some features are included quick operations, absolutely certain discrimination, complete reliability, provision for instruments & manual control etc.
According to study, “Switchgear Market in India 2011” some of the major companies that are currently working in the switchgear market in India are Larsen & Toubro Ltd., ABB India Ltd., Siemens Ltd., GE T&D India Ltd., Alstom SA, Areva SA, Anchor Electricals Pvt Ltd., GE T&D India Ltd., Havells India Ltd., Schneider Electric Infrastructure Limited, CG Power and Industrial Solutions Limited, Crompton Greaves Limited, Heinemann Electric, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Rockwell Automation, HPL Electric and Power Limited, Toshiba Transmission & Distribution Systems Pvt Ltd., C&S Electric Limited., Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited, Legrand India Pvt Ltd.
The switchgear market is categorized by low voltage switchgear (<1.1 KV), medium voltage switchgear (3 KV – 36 KV) and high voltage switchgear (>36KV). Low voltage switchgear includes miniature circuit breaker, molded case circuit breaker, air circuit breaker, distribution board, switches & fuses, oil-filled circuit breaker, changeover switches, contractors & relays stood and residual current device etc. The medium voltage switchgear is segmented into indoor switchgear, outdoor switchgear, vacuum circuit breakers, and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) circuit breakers, isolation switches, ring main unit, and compact secondary switchgear. Medium and high voltage switchgear is insulated by air and gas.
Based on operating method, the switchgear market is segmented into motor or stored energy operated method, manually operated method and solenoid operated method. The switchgears are also categorized based on their operating current which includes direct current and alternating current. In addition, on the basis of safety testing, the market is segmented into partial discharge testing, thermal imaging testing, ultrasonic detector testing, and acoustic emission testing.
The demand for switchgear is mainly being developed for the gas insulated type of switchgear. Moreover, technology advancement, increasing housing projects and government initiatives led to substantial growth of the switchgears market. Apart from advantages some of the major challenges include lack of skilled manpower, cost control, smooth operation, losses in the panel, protection of motor, the presence of the unorganized sector and delays in project execution. The urbanization and industrialization further led to the development of smart grids and increasing use of a variety of switchgear.
Nowadays, switchgear is becoming digital, which consists by redundant Ethernet communication, intelligent merging unit sensors & transducers, low power instrument transformer, centralized protection & control unit, numerical protection & control relay, cloud environment, and asset management. The technological advancement provided increased space, safety, energy saving, weight, the ability to more easily handle last-minute load changes, flexibility towards changing load flows, and the possibility of late customization and quicker delivery times etc.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications