40,000th switch rolls off ABB production line in Victoria

ABB has manufactured the 40,000th pole mount capacitor vacuum switch at its Lilydale factory in Victoria. The switch is the only pole-mount switch developed by ABB that is dedicated to switching capacitors and is suitable for use in medium voltage power distribution systems.

It provides utility operators with superior interrupting capabilities and has a capacity to withstand high temperatures, delivering a long switching life and lower lifecycle costs.

“Since the first pole-mount capacitor vacuum switch was manufactured in 2004, local and global markets acceptance has been excellent and the production volume has continued to grow year on year,” said Chris Geeves, ABB’s manager for high voltage products in Australia.

“ABB’s innovative design and investment in perfecting the manufacturing process to guarantee the structural and electrical integrity of its switches, has resulted in a unique product that offers superior performance and reliability, which customers around the world have recognised.”

Designed, assembled and tested in Lilydale from local and imported components, the switches have been supplied to all areas of the world from Africa, South America to the Pacific Islands and Baltic States.

Demand from power utility companies in North America have made that region the largest market, acquiring more than 5,000 switches each year.

ABB's Lilydale factory employees inspecting and testing pole-mount switches for despatch to utility customers across the globe.

ABB’s Lilydale factory employees inspecting and testing pole-mount switches for despatch to utility customers across the globe.

The switches are a solid dielectric single-phase vacuum switch suitable for use in medium voltage distribution systems. Specifically designed and tested in accordance with ANSI C37.66 for heavy-duty operation in capacitor-switching applications, the switches withstand the harshest climatic conditions.

The lightweight compact design is maintenance free, environmentally friendly due to its dry type design, and includes a trip lever for emergency operation. The switch is capable of over 50,000 paired fault and maintenance free mechanical switching operations.

Advanced technologies employed in the design such as vacuum technology, magnetic actuator and outer insulation can reduce lifecycle costs and offer true value to the end user.

A vacuum provides the dielectric strength required for capacitor switching and an environmentally friendly insulating medium. The vacuum interrupter consists of copper chromium (CuCr) contacts or tungsten copper (WCu) contacts for higher voltages. This provides superior interrupting capabilities and a capacity to withstand high temperatures, delivering a long switching life.

The magnetic actuator naturally provides force-travel characteristics ideal for vacuum switching. The solenoid also reduces part numbers and the need for maintenance. Switching operation is achieved by bi-polar excitation of the coil until the retaining force of the permanent magnets are exceeded.

The switch insulator uses advanced ‘hydrophobic cycloaliphatic epoxy’ (HCEP) resin. Increased hydrophobicity leads to less surface wetting, which in turn provides improved reliability and life expectancy. HCEP is stronger than porcelain (chip and crack resistant) yet electrically similar to silicone.

The switch along with the CQ900 pole mount capacitor bank controller also produced and manufactured at Lilydale complete the ABB’s Q bank pole mount offering.

ABB’s CQ900, the next generation in smart controllers is designed for use in capacitor bank applications to control when a capacitor bank comes online and offline via a variety of control modes and thresholds.

It is an easy to use, feature packed controller that offers customers true value through smarter management of their electrical systems and reliable integration with smart grid systems.

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