What are Switchgears?

As electricity has become an integral part of our modern society, managing and distributing it safely is extremely important. If left unprotected or uncontrolled, electricity can be dangerous and damaging to structures and people. With these posed risks, securing and handling electricity correctly is critical. From the distribution system to each outlet in a house, there are a variety of safety devices and mechanisms in place for protection. Switchgears are a very important safety mechanism that hold features that can benefit a wide variety of applications.


Switchgears have many important functions that can provide electrical protection for residential, industrial, and commercial systems. One useful capability of switchgears are that they are able to segment and isolate a medium voltage system so that circuit outages are more minor, especially during electrical work and maintenance. They also function to interrupt currents in the case of faults and short circuits to protect the circuit system, all while enabling currents to flow through unaffected circuits. Lastly, switchgears can benefit a system through creating the ability for multiple sources to feed a load.

When installing a switchgear for a commercial, residential, or industrial system, there are two main types to be aware of. The metal-enclosed switchgear houses multiple circuit breakers and are often installed indoors for low to medium voltage applications. The metal clad switchgear is the other main type which is installed outdoors due to their weatherproof capabilities. This type is beneficial for the protection of circuit breakers, transformers, meters, and more. Both types of switchgears have differing features, making them beneficial for their distinct roles.

Switchgears in general serve many uses for various applications. Within the residential sector, switchgears protect systems from faults and control voltages and loads. Industrial plants and factories find benefit in switchgears for preventing surges and overloads to their systems. Lastly, within power stations, switchgears shield circuit breakers and surge protectors that are used throughout the distribution process and other normal functions. Altogether, switchgears provide for safety alongside a variety of purposes that make them an indispensable part of any electric system.

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November 27, 2019

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