How the analytics revolutionized the switchgear industry?

The digitization and IT transformation led to the huge data explosion. This data need not sit in a company’s servers but when used to get insights from it can help the company to move forward.  Various sectors will be and have to perform this “analytics” jump. The industries or the sectors which are reluctant to make this jump will keep wondering how their competitors got ahead of them.

Today we will talk about the Switchgear industry, which is vital for any infrastructure but often gets less attention. The overall market size for Switch Gear industry is estimated to reach USD 11 billion 2024. There are nearly 15-20 major brands battling out for the market share in low voltage switchgear market. In this blog, we talk how switchgearindustry can use the power of analytics to achieve the growth

Electrical utilities and Power Distribution Companies

Electric utilities are made up ofthe asset-intensive industry with a broad geographical spread of assets, such as poles, transformers, cables,and switchgear. The utilities face a heavy maintenance and backlog of aging assets that are pending replacement. Increasingly, modern industries move away from time-based maintenance planning of assets to developing a proactive and smarter asset health management program to meet the competing constraints of reducing customer downtimes, meeting regulatory standards, and managing ever-expanding infrastructure within budget. Instead of focusing ona wide array of equipment let us justfocus on the most important component in the distribution system, the transformers. The transformer is a mostly static instrument without any mechanical components. Even then, there are several factors which lead to a decrease in efficiency and eventual failure.

Preventive Analytics for transformers, Circuit Breakers

Performing a preventive analytics on transformers will not only save the cost for repair but also help the electric utility to plan better. This can be achieved by collecting the past data of the transformers or the data from similar kind of the transformers such the rated load, min-max load, ambient temperatures and temperature of the oil in the transformers. As the transformers undergo the gradual degradation, the changes will be apparent in the parameters. We can use this change to calculate when the eventual failure of the transformer will occur.

These analytics can not only apply to the transformers but also other complex equipment such as Substation. The substation is a complex housing of interconnected equipmentMoulded Case Circuit Breakers (MCCBS), ammeters, MiniatureCircuit Breakers, Battery Charges, capacitors,and variable frequency drives (VFDs). We can use preventive analytics to identify faults, provide root-cause analysis, and prioritize improvements. This option spotlights both where and why inefficiencies occur so engineers have “actionable” information for troubleshooting and preventive maintenance.

Analytics for Panel builders

Panel building has undergone substantial changes over a decade. The modern panel building involves a lot of engineering and designing process. The process involves conforming to various regulatory bodies at the same time getting the panels built within the planned budget and time. For example, if the panel has to delivered to a Middle East region then it has tocomply to the local standards such as ASTA and any other standard set by DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority). Now there are few switchgear manufacturers which are compliant to these standards. This forces panel builder to procure the material form different brands keeping the material and logistic cost in check. Here various analyses can be used such as predictive analytics, procurement scorecards analysis, cost-benefit analysis, slice and dice analysis. These analytics enables the panel builder to overcome various difficulties in procuring and building the panel. The panel builders can use advanced techniques of Machine Learning techniques such as Random Forest, Time series predictive analysis such as ARIMA, and advanced gradient boosting techniques. These technique to process the vast data produce to insights and help in the procurement.

Analytics for Switchgear Distributor

A switchgear distributor typically stocks the switchgear equipment and caters to various panel builders requirement. Hence as a prerequisite, the distributors have to be knowledgeable of various buying pattern of the various panel builders in the regions. Also,switchgear products come with various different technical attributes. For an example an MCB of 20A can have breaking capacity 5KA or 7KA, it can be of 1P,2P or 3P, or it can have the voltage of 230V or 440V. As you can see it is not possible for the distributors to stock all of these variants since some might not be fast sellers as others. This challenge can be overcome by integrating various analytics such as market basket analysis, product segmentation, customer segmentation,and predictive analytics.

Analytics in monitoring the Control Panels

Every large facility will have a panel room which houses all the panels. These panels and bus bars can be monitored using the control system. This real-timemonitoring will help to detect any fault caused in the panels and immediate corrective action can be taken. But, introducing preventive analyticswe can analyze these signals to detect the fault beforehand and prevent the fault from happening. This type of preventive maintenance not only helps to save the repair cost, but it also helps the estimate the health of the panels and the decision can be made regarding the replacement of the same.

Conclusion

Presently there are very few Switchgear companies who are using analytics for their operations. But the trend shows that all the industries will move towards the analytics to solve some of the 21st-century problems. Switchgear industry even though small plays a very crucial part for all the infrastructures. Analytics can help these companies to achieve the competitive edge and help to sustain growth.

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