We last left off our exploration into the history of circuit breakers thinking about what may be next on the horizon. A little research into the topic presents us with a number of ideas, many of which are quite exciting in the development of how we consume and use electricity and power. Let’s look at a couple of ideas and developments of the last few years to get a firmer grasp on where the world of electricity and circuit breakers are headed.
The first exciting development we came across is being brought to us by leading power and automation technology group ABB. ABB has solved a 100-year-old problem in electrical engineering by developing the world’s first circuit breaker for high voltage direct current (HVDC). What this circuit breaker does is allow for the “interruption” of power flows, which will enable the efficient integration and exchange of renewable energy. In layman’s terms, what this invention and new circuit breaker technology will do is allow existing power systems and grids to work with emerging technologies. This creates much better usage of power and better system usage for companies as well as users.
Another emerging technology is being brought to market by French Multinational corporation Schneider. What Schneider has developed is a range of high-power, low-voltage circuit breakers. What these circuit breakers will aim to achieve is improved metering “saving project time and energy usage; improved mechanical and electrical performance, even in harsh environments; and the ability to monitor and control the circuit breaker with a smartphone, even in power outage.” More efficient circuit breakers work well for all involved, from the manufacturer to the distributor, to the end user.
Another large corporation, Siemens, has also developed a technology that looks to build on the future of circuit breaker safety technology. What Siemens has done is as follows:
Siemens has extended its range of fire protection circuit breakers with a variant for currents of up to 40 amperes (A). This unit uses special analysis software to recognize arcing faults in an electrical installation and immediately interrupts the circuit in order to prevent a cable fire. Around a third of all fires in Germany are caused by defects of this or a similar kind in electrical installations.
Fire protection circuit breakers offer additional safety because they also detect types of electrical arcing faults that do not blow conventional fuses. This explains why their specifications were recently incorporated into Germany’s DIN VDE 0100-420:202016-02 national standard and are now compulsory for many types of facility. Examples include public buildings, bedrooms and lounges in senior homes and daycare centers, as well as woodworking operations, wooden houses, and paper and textile plants. In the USA, arcing fault circuit interrupters have been required by law since 2008.
Not only are breakers becoming more efficient in the way they tie into our homes and power grids, but they are becoming safer as well; these are just a few examples of what the future holds for circuit breakers and electricity usage. We hope you enjoyed our dive into the history and future of circuit breaker and circuit breaker technology.
At Civic Recycling, Canada’s number one circuit breaker specialist, we provide open lines of communication at all times. If you have any questions that need to be answered we can always be reached via email at [email protected], or by phone. Should the purchasing of a new or reconditioned product require our expertise, we’re always happy to answer any questions and to assist in the process.