Worried about the reliability of your ageing LV or MV networks – read on to discover your options

April 25, 2017 Felice Hurlstone

Do you have a strategy for modernising or replacing your aging LV and MV electrical switchgear?

A reliable, safe, easily maintainable power network is more crucial than ever because downtime can cost millions of euros per hour. Proper switchgear and switchboard maintenance combined with modernisation can aid in improving reliability.

Keep in mind, modernising and upgrading your LV and MV switchgear equipment doesn’t have to mean demolishing the existing infrastructure. You can choose to replace the existing electrical installation with new equipment or you can pinpoint where you will benefit from upgrades, retrofitting, or modernisation, which generally are more cost-effective and less disruptive than buying new equipment.

How can you update your switchgear infrastructure and why would you want to?

There are many issues to consider, including the following:

  • Safety: Electrical switchgear failure, which is more likely with older equipment, can cause serious injuries and damage.
  • Switchgear lifespan: The switchgear lifespan has been extended from 10-30 years, on average, to sometimes up to 50-60 years like in nuclear plants, but industry standards and technology offerings are evolving at a faster rate. This challenges companies to modernise an antiquated system while ensuring reliability.
  • Cost savings: Modernising existing electrical switchgear, rather than replacing it, will save both physical equipment costs as well as time and labor.
  • Maintenance costs: Maintenance costs and the risk of product failure rise as the product ages. You may be able to reduce maintenance costs by modernising.
  • Spare parts availability: The availability of spare parts must be examined. If spare parts are no longer readily available, it may be time to modernise.
  • Urgency of modernisation: The criticality of the affected processes must be assessed and prioritized when determining what needs to be modernised.
  • Improved reliability: Reliability is key for cost savings and preventing downtime.
  • Technology and improved capabilities: New technology provides more capabilities, better performance, and reduced maintenance requirements.
  • Workflow disruption: Take into account the cost and inconvenience of downtime. It is possible for modernisation to be performed with minimal downtime and production stoppage.
  • Capital costs: Although long-term cost savings can be anticipated, it is also important to consider the sometimes substantial capital costs.

Consider areas where your business needs to improve and if modernising your switchgear can help you reach those goals while also becoming more reliable.

The post Worried about the reliability of your ageing LV or MV networks – read on to discover your options appeared first on Schneider Electric Blog.

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