Benefits of Testing Switchgear in High-voltage Electrical Equipment

In industrial plants and other places where high-voltage electrical equipment are used, services of testing switchgear are unavoidable, if the owners are concerned about safety and smooth operation of the equipment. Switchgear testing is an important step to arrest at earlier stages, the problems that arise due to partial discharge.

All the same, before delving into benefits of testing switchgear, it is important to understand what partial discharge is and how it affects the functionality of a high-voltage equipment and safety of those using it.

To start with, partial discharge is a process associated with high-voltage electric equipment where a high-voltage stress causes electric breakdown in the insulation system. While it can happen in just a part of the insulation system, the problem of partial discharge has profound consequences if it goes undetected. For that reason, managers and operators of high-voltage equipment should not take lightly the effects of partial discharge within cables because it can lead to complete failure of the system.

The problem usually starts where there are voids or cracks in cables. This can happen in bubbles in liquid dielectrics or in the inclusions inside solid dielectrics. Partial discharge can also take place along the boundaries of different insulating materials. When a discharge takes place, it can narrow down to only a section of the insulation system, which implies that it can only bridge a short distance between the electrodes.

To avert the problems caused by partial discharge, the process of testing switchgear is one of the necessary steps to take. In many cases, partial discharge starts in the gas-filled voids due to increased voltage stress on the void. It can also begin above the corona inception voltage and once the process starts, the insulating system wears down progressively to a point where it leads to a complete electrical breakdown.

Electrical engineers have developed methods of preventing partial discharge; among them are design techniques and material selection. However, to get the most out of your efforts to prevent partial discharge, it is necessary to engage a reliable company for partial discharge measurement or PD testing.

In applications where the use of high voltage equipment is involved, there is need for partial discharge equipment, right from manufacturing stage. After the installation of the equipment, it is necessary t conduct periodical checks to rule out any unpleasant surprises. Users should realize that a dependable and long-term operation of such equipment is possible through proper PD detection and prevention.

Switchgear testing is one of the most reliable methods or arresting partial discharge issues. However, this method should be administered by qualified specialists with adequate knowledge and experience in dealing with all aspects of partial discharge. Professionally applied, it yields the following benefits:

·         It extends the life of switchgear

·         It leads to optimum system performance, security, and efficiency

·         It eliminates considerable financial loss that may follow service disruptions due to partial discharge

·         It prevents unplanned and unwanted repairs

·         It enables the system to remain consistent and adequately distribute its electrical functions.

In case you are looking for a company for PD cable mapping, switchgear testing, or overall PD testing, get in touch with Live HV here.