So you have old switchgear installed: what next?

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The question on spending a significant portion of finances in maintenance and services of one’s installation has baffled many of us. There are no second thoughts on the fact regularly scheduled maintenance, extends the life of existing switchgear. However, at some point, the decision must be made whether to (continue to) maintain or replace with new equipment. Switchgear modernization solutions are also a viable option. As a rule of thumb, consider the various aspects before reaching a decision:

 1)  Age of switchgear: If your switchgear is recently purchased and in great working condition, it will be highly beneficial to invest in service and maintenance as it will provide longer life, better performance and economical viability. On the other hand, if the switchgear is too old and giving poor performance, it might be a better idea to invest in newer technology.

2)  Type of switchgear: Maintenance and service of different types of switchgear are very different in procedures as well as economics.

3)  Application: The type of application for which the switchgear is used determines the frequency of maintenance required. For example, switchgear installed in a mining operation will have to be serviced more frequently as compared to the one installed in a commercial complex. Accordingly, one can choose the different service and maintenance options that are available.

4)  Environment: The physical environment like temperature, humidity, pollution, dust etc. where the switchgear is in operation also has a significant impact on the type of services to be considered. Apart from these, altitude and seismic tolerance are also major factors in the environment.

5)  Electrical conditions: Finally, take into account the voltage level and quality of  power that is in operation. One needs to factor in the duration of operation of switchgear, peak load and off-peak load conditions, fluctuations and their frequency etc.

Based upon these factors, a suitable choice on the type, frequency and procedure of service and maintenance can be made. Other factors that should to be considered are the qualifications of the service vendor, type of transaction and of course, the finances.

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