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A circuit breaker protects electrical systems from damage caused by excess current from an overload or short circuit by interrupting the current flow. Circuit breakers are used in switchgear to control and protect electrical equipment such as motors in industrial applications.
Temperature can greatly affect the life cycle of a circuit breaker or switchgear. For example, if a loose joint within a switchgear creates a hot spot, the entire system can suffer serious deterioration. As a rule-of-thumb, we can say the circuit breaker life is reduced by half for each rise of 10 degrees Celsius. An aged breaker dramatically increases the switchgear probability of failure, which can result in long-term power supply outage and significant consequential damages.
Hence continuous temperature monitoring is critical for applications where the electrical devices are exposed to harsh and unsafe environmental conditions. The Ekip Signalling 3T sensor from ABB provides three inputs for temperature monitoring of elements in the switchgear as well as an input to collect data from any external sensors - for example, to measure humidity or vibration. The data from these key measurements can be analyzed and leveraged to generate custom alarms or initiate output commands to other equipment such as ventilation. To create customized reports with data trends the real-time data can be feed into ABB’s cloud-based predictive maintenance system ABB AbilityTM Electrical Distribution Control System. The real-time environmental data helps to better understand the aging characteristics of electrical devices, which enables operators to schedule maintenance only when required and avoid costly unexpected downtime.