Siemens moves to solid state circuit breaker

Siemens moves to solid state circuit breaker

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Siemens has developed its first solid state high power circuit protection device with electronic switching technology.

The Sentron ECPD (Electronic Circuit Protection Device) electronically switches off circuit faults if errors occur and, if necessary, trips the mechanical isolating contact downstream. Up to now, disconnection was largely handled through electro-mechanical elements.

Circuit protection devices are central components of every electrical installation. If certain load current limits are exceeded, these devices disconnect the individual loads to protect people and systems from damage. In the event of a short circuit, for example, this type of disconnection occurs in commercially available circuit breakers in two to three milliseconds. 

In comparison, the Sentron ECPD disconnects up to a thousand times faster, minimizing the occurring short-circuit energy. This ensures maximum safety for people, systems, and electrical equipment. The series connection of semiconductor technology with electromechanical components in the main current path and a smart protection algorithm is significantly faster and more precise in both fault detection and tripping. This also offers wear-free switching, which increases the service life of systems and reduces maintenance and repair costs. Integrated cyclical self-test that includes the built in RCD function improves safety and monitoring.

“This innovation offers a variety of benefits and has the potential to revolutionize today’s circuit protection world,” said Andreas Matthé, CEO of Electrical Products at Siemens Smart Infrastructure.

“For the first time in the history of circuit protection, it is possible to benefit from several functionalities in one product and to activate them as required by the individual application or adapt them if needed. All of this combined with the solid-state switching technology enables up to a thousand times faster, wear-free switching,” he said.

The electronic switching allows the range of functions can be customized as required. New functions can be easily activated on the ECPD without having to purchase a new device and functionally adapt it into the circuit via the Sentron powerconfig app.

This means the ECPD can be adjusted as required and adapts perfectly to the requirements of the application, for example with regard to rated current, tripping limits or behaviour. These properties offer major planning and cost advantages. For example, circuits can simply be designed based on the rated current of the loads instead of the significantly higher inrush current peaks that occur briefly with certain load types, such as LED lights. This reduces complexity as well as planning and installation efforts and saves on materials such as copper. 

The Sentron ECPD also enables full transparency on energy consumption in the final circuit through a wireless connection to the a gateway. This enables measures to optimize systems and processes, for example as part of energy management in accordance with ISO 50001, which in turn allows for efficient reductions in energy and operating costs. 

For the first time, it is possible to perform detailed condition monitoring of the applications at the final circuit level. This substantially increases availability and operational reliability. The large volume of measurement data enables the detection of irregularities and deviations and creates a reliable planning basis for preventive maintenance and the ECPD can be easily integrated into higher-level systems by using the open Modbus TCP standard.

Remote diagnostics and remote switching can be carried out during normal operation as well as in the event of a fault. This offers significant benefits, especially for remote applications without direct on-site support. In addition, it is easier to localize and identify faults by differentiating the cause of the fault. 

Depending on the application, combining multiple functions into the single unit allows savings of up to 80 percent on electronics, 90 percent on metals and 90 percent on plastics and overall makes the Sentron ECPD approximately 90 percent lighter than the devices otherwise required with 80% less space.

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