Future of electromechanical switchgear

The current development of the electrical networks towards a DC system imposes certain changes in the design and functionality of several network components. This paper aims to offer an overview of the challenges and the opportunities that are raised by the DC system over the electromechanical switchgear in order to identify its future path in the electrical network. The paper starts with a review process of the previous statements regarding the future of the low-voltage (LV) electromechanical switchgear. In the second part, the existing developments in the LV technology towards a mixed (centralized and decentralized) DC grid are presented. The third part presents the main influencing factors and the developments in the classic electromechanical switchgear as well as in the relatively new switchgear technologies represented by the hybrid and power electronic switches. Following, several questions concerning the standardization and the DC ageing behaviour of the insulating materials will be presented and discussed. The last part will present the conclusions of the current overview.


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