From the Arctic to the Sahara, ABB’s MV switchgear testing goes extreme
  • ABB opens Europe’s first Climatic Test Chamber for testing energised Medium Voltage (MV) switchgear
  • Simulating harsh environment and pollution testing in temperatures as high as 80 °C and as low as minus 50 °C
  • Ensuring ABB switchgear keeps the power on, as more extreme weather puts the grid under greater pressure

An innovative Climatic Test Chamber in Brno, Czech Republic, will be used to test all ABB energised indoor MV switchgear panels, to ensure they keep the power on 24/7 in the harshest of operating environments.

ABB has invested €700,000 to create the state-of-the-art test facility, which is the first of its type in Europe. The chamber will simulate harsh climatic site conditions, from lows of minus 50 °C to temperature highs of up to 80 °C as well as pollution conditions. It will also test for 0-100 per cent humidity and water condensation, all of which can cause switchgear to age faster.

The enhanced testing, which can take from four to eight weeks to complete for each component, will take ABB’s switchgear beyond current standards, to comply with the new (IEC/TS 62271-304 from Class 1 to Class 4) regulation. It will improve the quality and reliability of ABB’s energised MV indoor switchgear solutions when operating in the most extreme climatic site conditions and polluted environments, to reduce failures and unplanned downtime at customer sites.

Martin Stefanka, ABB’s Global Technology Manager for Distribution Solutions said: “Our new Climatic Test Chamber will help us to understand the limits of our switchgear beyond the requirements of current standards. By simulating the harshest of conditions, from the coldest Arctic temperatures to the stifling heat of the Sahara, we will enhance product reliability and grid resilience to help our customers to keep the power supply on 24/7.”