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What is an MV Switchgear?



Electrical switchgear is a centralized collection of circuit breakers, fuses, and switches (circuit protection devices)that protects, control, and isolates electrical equipment in an industrial electrical box. Metal structures support the circuit protection devices. A switchgear line-up or assembly is a combination of one or more of these structures.

Switchgear can be found in a variety of places, including electric utility transmission and distribution systems, as well as medium to large commercial and industrial buildings. IEEE defines electrical switchgear standards in North America, while IEC defines them in Europe and other parts of the world.

In this article, we take a detailed look into the definition of MV switch gears, types of medium voltage switchgear, and their application. Let’s get started.

Medium Voltage Switchgear

Medium voltage system
Source: Pinterest

From 3 KV to 36 KV switchgear system is designated as medium voltage switchgear or MV switchgear. This switchgear is of numerous varieties. They may be metal-enclosed indoor type switchgear, metal-enclosed outdoor type switchgear, outdoor type switchgear without metal enclosure, from enclosure manufacturers.

The switchgear’s interruption medium could be insulating oil, SF6 gas, or vacuum. Regardless of the type of CB provided by the electrical switchgear manufacturer system, the basic requirement of the power network is to interrupt current during a fault state. It could, however, work in other situations.

Circuit protection devices distribute power to different areas of a facility as well as the electrical loads inside those areas. They also protect people and equipment throughout the facility by restricting the amount of current flowing through the system to safe limits.

Types of Medium Voltage Switchgear

Medium-voltage switchgear manufacturers ought to provide MV that should be able to do the following:

Gas Insulated Switchgear

gas insulated switchgear
Source: Pinterest

Gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) has a sealed enclosure(s) filled with insulating gas sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) or a mixture of SF6 and other recently released insulating gases. The gas-filled sealed container allows for a low-profile, compact installation. When compared to identical air-insulated switchgear, the use of gas as an insulating medium allows for a greater distance between interruptions.

Metal Enclosed Switchgear

Metal enclosed modular switchgear
Source: Pinterest

Circuit breakers, power fuses, and fusible switches, as well as control and metering equipment, are all contained in metal-enclosed switchgear. These devices can be installed in common compartments without the need for separate barriers or compartmentalization that metal-clad switchgear requires. Metal-enclosed switchgear is used in a variety of commercial and industrial settings with incoming electrical service above 480V/600V.

Pad-mounted Switchgear

Pad mounted switchgear market
Source: Pinterest

Pad-mounted switchgear is designed for underground distribution systems with a voltage range of 5 to 38 kV that must be operated above ground. Pad-mounted switchgear is appropriate for utility distribution, feeder sectionalizing, and circuit protection applications due to its outside rated, low profile, and a tamper-resistant design. Air, SF6 gas, fluid, solid-dielectric-in-air technology, and solid materials can all be used as insulation.

Subsurface Switchgear

Weatherproof steel box
Source: E-abel

IEEE C37.74 defines vault or subsurface switchgear. Vault or subterranean switchgear is designed for 15 to 38 kV electrical distribution systems that require the switch and its accessories to be operational from inside a vault or below-grade site. These areas may be dry or prone to water intrusion.

Vacuum interrupters are used to protect loads and isolate faults in vault or subsurface switchgear that allows the user to activate the switch from above ground manually or with the use of relays. SF6 gas, solid-dielectric-in-air technology, and solid solids are all examples of insulation methods.

Special Application of Medium Voltage Switchgears

Electrical Arc furnace
Source: Pinterest

Electric Arc Furnace

An electric arc furnace must be turned off and on regularly. The current to be switched might range from 0 to 8 times the furnace’s rated current. For this frequent activity, a standard SF6 circuit breaker, air circuit breaker, or oil circuit breaker is not cost-effective. For this frequent high current circuit breaker activity, a standard vacuum circuit breaker is the best option.

Railway Traction

A single-phase railway track system is another application of medium voltage switchgear. The circuit breaker in a railway traction system’s principal role is to interrupt a short circuit on the overhead catenary system, which happens frequently and is temporary.

Understanding Medium-Voltage Switchgear: Applications and Innovations

Medium voltage switchgear, or MV switchgear, plays a critical role in the protection, control, and isolation of electrical equipment in various industrial and commercial environments. As the demand for reliable and efficient power distribution solutions continues to grow, exploring applications and innovations in MV switchgear is critical.

Advanced Applications for Medium Voltage Switchgear

Renewable Energy Integration: With the increasing integration of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, MV switchgear can play an essential role in connecting these sources to the grid and managing power flows efficiently.

Data Centers: As data centers require a continuous and reliable power supply, MV switchgear can ensure protection and efficient power distribution within these facilities.

Smart Grids: MV switchgear can facilitate the implementation of smart grids by providing real-time monitoring, control, and communication capabilities to enable more efficient power distribution and management.

Innovations in Medium Voltage Switchgear

Advances in technology have led to innovations in the design, function, and materials of medium-voltage switchgear:

Digital switchgear: Digital switchgear integrates digital communication, monitoring, and control capabilities to make power distribution more efficient and reliable. This innovation allows remote monitoring and control, reducing maintenance and operating costs.

Solid Insulated Switchgear: Solid insulated switchgear uses solid insulating materials rather than traditional gas or liquid insulators, providing environmental benefits and reducing maintenance requirements.

Modular Design: Modularly designed medium voltage switchgear offers flexibility and ease of installation, allowing for customization of switchgear systems to meet specific project requirements.

Eco-friendly materials: As sustainability becomes a priority, eco-friendly materials are used to construct MV switchgear, reducing environmental impact and energy loss.

Enhanced safety features: Modern medium-voltage switchgear incorporates advanced safety features such as arc-flash protection to minimize the risk of accidents and damage to electrical equipment.

Predictive Maintenance: Integrating sensors and data analytics into MV switchgear enables predictive maintenance, allowing operators to identify potential issues before they escalate, reducing downtime and maintenance costs.

Energy Management Integration: Medium voltage switchgear can be integrated with energy management systems to better monitor and control energy consumption in commercial and industrial facilities, ultimately leading to energy savings and lower operating costs. 

Internet of Things (IoT) Compatibility: IoT-compatible medium-voltage switchgear can communicate seamlessly with other smart devices in the facility, providing comprehensive data and insights for more effective power management and decision-making.

The future of medium voltage switchgear

The market for medium voltage switchgear is expected to expand over the next few years with growing demand for reliable and efficient power distribution solutions. Focus on sustainability, energy efficiency, and integration of renewable energy sources will drive the development of innovative medium voltage switchgear solutions.

In addition, the digital transformation of the power industry will further revolutionize medium voltage switchgear, providing new capabilities and opportunities for better power management, predictive maintenance, and improved safety.


Medium voltage switchgear has a range of industrial use. They play a crucial role in ensuring electrical safety in the electric system. To ensure that your system is safe and well secured consider contacting us, at Eabel for high-quality Mv supplies.

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