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Extending a medium voltage switchgear’s lifespan by making it reliable and fail-safe saves money, reduces downtime, and improves performance, but what’s the best way to do it? The intended lifespan of medium voltage switchgear is 30 to 40 years, but it can be reduced to as short as 5 to 10 years without proper care. Although there are a number of factors that can lead to a decreased lifespan, one critical issue companies should focus on is the incorrect and insufficient selection of corrosion protection.
What are the solutions for controlling corrosion? Start by examining the environment where the switchgear is installed. Medium voltage switchgear is exposed to both indoor and outdoor environments in industrial and commercial facilities, depending on users’ needs. There they are subjected to harsh environmental conditions that can cause extreme and rapid deterioration due to the presence of corrosive gases, liquids, or dust. These site pollutants can damage and degrade switchgear and other critical components, such as contacts and busbars that are composed of metals and alloys.
To combat the damage, switchgear designers must do two things: analyze the pollution to create reliable designs and determine appropriate surface treatments for controlling or eliminating corrosion’s negative effects.
The principal reason components are insufficiently protected is because designers have inadequate information about the environmental conditions in which the switchgear is going to be installed and the environment’s damaging effects. The severity level of corrosion varies depending on the corrosive atmosphere (e.g., indoor, rural, marine, or industrial) and is also dependent on the gases, vapors, particles, and combinations in the surrounding air. By knowing the rate of corrosion in different environments, it is possible to prevent failures.
Designers also must stop the damage caused by chemically active substances by determining the appropriate surface treatment. The life of the switchgear and its components is greatly enhanced by applying the correct surface treatment, which must be selected carefully depending on its application and the environmental conditions.
Learn more by downloading “Medium Voltage Switchgear in Corrosive Environments: Challenges and Solutions,” which provides an in-depth look at how to prevent and control corrosion in MV switchgear.