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 that with appropriate and regular maintenance, life of a switchgear increases. But as a rule of thumb, always remember to consider the various aspects before reaching a decision:
- Age of switchgear: This is the foremost factor to be considered. 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.
- Type of switchgear: Maintenance and service of different types of switchgear are very different in procedures as well as economics. For example, a VCB will be easier to maintain but more expensive than OCB. Hence, one needs to evaluate the variety of options available for the specific type of switchgear that is installed. The major parameters to be taken care of are quenching medium, insulating medium, outdoor/ indoor, optimum voltage level etc.
- Application: The type of application for which the switchgear is used determines the frequency of maintenance required. 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.
- 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.
- Electrical conditions: Last, but not the least, one needs to 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 on these factors, one can make a suitable choice on the type, frequency and procedure of service and maintenance. Other factors that should to be considered are service vendor (It is generally recommended to avail services from OEM if possible), type of transaction and of course, the finances.