Switchgear power systems are very reliable and rarely need maintenance at all. Because of their reliable reputation, they also can be the most overlooked element in the whole power control system. If there does happen to be a problem in the switchgear, it could keep the whole power grid in question from coming online at all or even worse, damage to the switchgear power systems could occur.
There are some fairly common culprits that can attack the smooth function of switchgear power systems. These pesky elements have caused unrest in a multitude of much larger objects than themselves. We are of course talking about dust and moisture. These two silent culprits can create an insulating layer which can hamper cooling processes and can ultimately lead to overheating of components.
High humidity levels can also throw a wrench into the proper functioning of switchgear power systems. And another common area for concern is vibration. The vibration factor should actually have been thought of before the system was installed and taken care of at that time with proper fastening. High humidity can be offset with dehumidifiers.
Preventative maintenance is the key in keeping the system working properly. It is recommended that every year all of the circuit breakers, disconnect points, and switches be manually worked and tested to make sure they are functioning smoothly. A visual inspection should also be done to check for any buildup of dust or debris and at the same time look for tightness or discoloration in any of the parts.
In performing this type of maintenance, the longevity of switchgear power systems can be increased. Installation of dehumidifiers and dust-free ventilation systems can also reduce a number of factors that can reduce the performance of the power system or potentially cause system failure due to damage.
As an annual procedure, inspect all Circuit Breakers, disconnects and switches. To reduce vibration (even small, continual vibrations can cause damage) re-tighten all mounting bolts. Also inspect all terminations for tightness.
Another, often overlooked factor is the temperature of the switch room or facility. This equipment is highly sensitive to temperature changes. Inspect the temperature control panels, thermostats and actual temperature of the room to determine if it is within the proper operating parameters required by the equipment.
Switchgear power systems are generally a low maintenance type of equipment, but that should not prevent it from receiving some attention at least once a year. Even though the equipment can function smoothly for a number of years without inspection, ultimately the failure of the system could have been prevented with some simple annual maintenance. Get into an annual inspection routine and potentially save yourself the cost of new equipment installation or repair by following the suggestions that were offered above. Using a simple maintenance routine can greatly extend the lifespan of the equipment by lowering the chances of malfunctions caused by easily fixed items that require only a small amount of attention.