The word “arc,” which means “part of a circle,” comes from an English scientist named Humphrey Davis. While holding two carbon rods a short distance apart in the air, Davis demonstrated the flow of an electric current in 1802. The current flows in the form of a bow-shaped band of ionized air. The first study of electricity was on the electric arc flash switchgear.
Soon, many things like arc lamps, spark plugs, arc furnaces, arc welders, and others were made. Today, the electric arc is a topic of great interest and study. This is because of the dangers it poses to electrical distribution systems because of its intense heat, which can demolish equipment and generate serious or fatal injuries to unprotected people who happen to be close to it.
Arcing between live parts and metal enclosures poses a risk to people using electrical equipment. Electrical equipment can have dangerous arcing because of one or more of the following:
• Dropping metal tools in parts that are on by accident
• Draw out circuit breakers with contacts that aren’t lined up right
• Overheating and minor arcing caused by loose connections might result in an arcing fault
• Mice and other pests in switchgear enclosures
• Cable and bus insulation that doesn’t work
Assuring the efficacy of arc flash protection during panel construction can be done in several methods, some of which are outlined below. After all, the best way to ensure an arc flash doesn’t do much damage is to ensure there aren’t many of them and that their effects are negligible.
Best Practices for Arc Flash Switchgear in Medium Voltage Equipment
Follow the Rules
Although this seems obvious, it isn’t always easy to do in practice. The standard must be followed by panel builders and the people selling switchgear equipment and parts of motor starters. Cooperating with vendors with the necessary expertise and accreditations is the best action.
Make Sure Protection Against Arc Flash is “Designed In”
Bus and transformer differential protection can make arc flash damage much less likely. For example, replacing a fuse that protects a transformer with a circuit breaker and fast arc flash protection can lower the risk of hazards by quickly fixing line-side faults. Panel builders should do these things, reducing the amount of incident energy or the length of time it is there.
Use Switchgear with Arc Protection and Arc Resistance
This can be done with sensors that can tell when a fault is arcing based on the fault current and the light that comes from it. By doing this, the time it takes to fix a fault is cut down to tens of milliseconds, and any arc flash that does happen is lessened.
Arc flash switchgear has a strong structure and built-in ways to release pressure. Together, these reduce or eliminate the chance of an explosion, which saves equipment and helps keep people from getting hurt and causing downtime. This kind of switchgear can be an essential part of preventing arc flashes.