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Schneider Electric Announces Virtual Main Arc Flash Mitigation System

By reducing arc flash energy on low-voltage switchgear, Schneider Electric’s Virtual Main Arc Flash Mitigation System improves worker safety and enhances electrical system reliability, enabling organizations to avoid costly downtime


PALATINE, Ill. – Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, has introduced the Virtual Main Arc Flash Mitigation System™. The system is designed to improve worker safety and enhance electrical system reliability by reducing arc flash energy on low-voltage switchgear and switchboards, including the main incoming power distribution switchboard.


In the past many arc flash solutions have focused on reducing arc flash energy levels for downstream equipment.  However, low-voltage switchgear and switchboards, which can be subjected to dangerous levels of arc flash incident energy when fed directly from a power transformer, have traditionally been more difficult to address. Schneider Electric’s Virtual Main Arc Flash Mitigation system is a new concept which reduces arc flash energy across the entire low-voltage switchgear.


This solution comes at a time when electrical safety and arc flash protection are increasingly top of mind for a wide range of organizations, including commercial buildings, industrial plants, data centers, and government and healthcare facilities. In recent years the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have implemented new standards, such as NFPA 70E which require organizations to implement arc flash protection boundaries. As a result organizations demand solutions which will enable them to comply with these standards while improving worker safety and electrical system reliability, and reducing the risk of costly downtime.


Components of the Virtual Main Arc Flash Mitigation System include:

    An engineering study to evaluate the optimum settings for the relays and circuit breakers in the unit substation. Optimizing the circuit breaker settings improves the reliability of service while assuring a reduced arc flash level at the substation. This is done by setting the virtual main relay to operate fast enough to reduce arc flash energy while operating slower than the downstream circuit breakers (circuit breakers closest to the fault).
    A switching device with fault interruption capability on the high-voltage side of the service transformer. If the high-voltage disconnecting device does not have fault interrupting capability, a circuit breaker or other vacuum interrupter can be retrofit in place. When the disconnecting means that is located on the high voltage side of the transformer trips, the entire low voltage equipment including the bussing at the incoming line section of the switchgear, is de-energized. This prevents the possibility of propagation of arcing fault within the switchgear.
    Three relaying class current transformers installed on the secondary side of the service transformer in the transformer compartment. The current transformers are installed in the transformer compartment (not the switchgear enclosure) to minimize the possibility of arc propagation beyond the current transformers.
    A self-contained relay package including a microprocessor-based relay and the necessary terminal blocks, pilot lights, and selector switches. The self-contained package is easy to install and connect. It is factory wired and tested, minimizing the required shutdown in the field.


The Virtual Main Arc Flash Mitigation System demonstrates Schneider Electric’s commitment to providing safe and reliable products and services.


Additional Resources:

·         For more information about the Virtual Main Arc Flash Mitigation System: http://static.schneider-electric.us/docs/Electrical%20Distribution/Services/1910BR1302.pdf

·         For more information on Compliance Solutions: NFPA 70E: http://download.schneider-electric.com/files?L=en&p=&p_docId=&p_docId=&p_Reference=1910BR1204&p_EnDocType=Brochure&p_File_Id=59834282&p_File_Name=1910BR1204.pdf

About Schneider Electric

As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in Utilities & Infrastructure, Industries & Machines Manufacturers, Non-residential Building, Data Centers & Networks and in Residential. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the company's 140,000 plus employees achieved sales of 30.8 billion US dollars (24 billion euros) in 2012, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.


Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »   posted on: 7/24/2013

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