An air circuit breaker (ACB) is a type of electrical switchgear that uses compressed air to extinguish an electrical arc when the circuit breaker is opened. ACBs have several advantages over other types of circuit breakers, including their ability to handle high current loads, their ability to operate at high voltage levels and their ability to provide reliable and efficient overcurrent protection. Additionally, ACBs are known for their high mechanical endurance which makes them ideal for use in industrial and commercial applications. In this article, we will discuss the various advantages of using an air circuit breaker in electrical systems.
Advantages of Air Circuit Breaker (ACB)
The air circuit breaker (ACB) has the following advantages for electrical systems:
1. Wide current range
Air circuit breakers are produced from 630A up to 6300A. There are lots of models that give flexibility to the users. This allows for flexibility in choosing the appropriate breaker for different applications and power requirements. Additionally, there are various models available that offer different features and capabilities, providing further options for the user
2. Brand options
There are lots of different ACB brands in the market. You can use any of them according to the project specifications. Factors such as compatibility with existing systems, reliability, and cost will all be considered when selecting a brand. It is important to consult with a professional or consult with the project specifications before making a final decision.
3. Temperature performance
An air circuit breaker must not exceed its operating temperature limits under normal current-conducting. Generally, ACB can be used in very low and high temperatures. These temperature and derating limits should be checked from the manufacturer’s catalogs.
4. Developing technology
Air circuit technology is developing day by day. Each manufacturer launches advanced products almost every year. They improve the performance of the device by adding extra protection and communication functions.
5. Long lifespan
You can use an ACB for years without changing. The lifetime varies from brand to brand but the electrical lifetime of a good ACB is around 10000 break/make operations.
6. Quick reaction
The air circuit breaker opens very quickly as soon as it detects a short circuit. In milliseconds, it reacts and protects the system. ACBs are designed with a sensing mechanism that can detect a short circuit and trigger the breaker to open in milliseconds, protecting the electrical system from damage. This fast reaction time is one of the benefits of using an ACB over other types of circuit breakers.
7. Advanced trip units
Each air circuit breaker is equipped with a trip unit which actuates the circuit breaker release mechanism and allows opening based on the current ﬂowing through it. There are two types of trip units used in low-voltage circuit breakers. Thermomagnetic and electronic trip unit. The new generation of protection trip units is fitted with the latest advances in electronics, offering individual bespoke solutions for control and protection.
8. Advanced communication
The communication capability of the air circuit breaker enables it to open up new possibilities in power distribution. It can provide and transmit all-important operational information. This increases system transparency and shortens the response times to states such as overcurrent, phase asymmetry, and overvoltage.
9. Wide accessory option
The air circuit breaker has various electrical and mechanical accessories. Accessories increase the functionality of the breaker. Shunt trips, under-voltage releases, mechanical interlocks, spring charge motors, auxiliary contacts, terminal shrouds, and extension busbars are examples of ACB accessories.
10. Fixed and withdrawable versions
You can use fixed or withdrawable options according to the requirements of the projects. The fixed version of the ACB is smaller in size. Fixed ACB is used in installations that can tolerate service interruptions in the event of faults or maintenance. The withdrawable ACB is used in applications that can only tolerate short interruptions or maintenance.
11. Various terminal combinations
Horizontal, vertical, rear and front-connected terminal connections can be done easily. The availability of various types of terminals makes it possible to build wall-mounted switchgear, or switchgear to be accessed from behind with rear connections. For special installation needs, the circuit breakers can be fitted with various combinations of top and bottom terminals.
12. High-breaking capacity
High interruption ratings refer to the ability of a circuit breaker or other protective device to quickly and effectively interrupt an electrical current in the event of a fault or overload. Current limiting performance refers to the ability of the device to limit the amount of current that flows through it during a fault, which can help to reduce the amount of damaging energy that reaches downstream equipment. Low current let-through refers to the amount of current that is allowed to pass through the device during a fault, which can also help to minimize damage to downstream equipment.
13. Advanced protection functions
Some ACBs are donated with different protection functions such as ground fault, over and under-voltage/frequency, and unbalance. These protection functions help to ensure the safety and reliability of the electrical system by detecting and responding to abnormal conditions, such as a ground fault or overvoltage, to prevent damage to equipment and potential hazards to personnel.
14. Easy maintenance
Due to its open-type construction, maintenance of an ACB is easy. However, it is important to note that the maintenance should be performed by a professional electrician or technician who is trained and experienced in working with ACBs. Attempting to perform maintenance on an ACB without proper training and knowledge can be dangerous and may lead to damage or malfunction of the ACB.