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April - June 2002

Issued by : EBG - Electrical Systems & Equipment, LARSEN & TOUBRO LIMITED, Powai Works, Mumbai 400 072

Prospect / Retrospect

Defining Requirements Of An ACB New Product

Electrical system forms the lifeline Maintenance of electrical U-POWER is L&T's new Air Circuit
of every industry. Uninterrupted equipment at regular intervals is a Breaker. Some of the salient
supply is always desired for must, especially in the Indian features of this ACB are :
smoother operation of any industry. tropical environment. Further, a l 400-6300A in four optimized
Thus, in case of a fault, it becomes maintenance personnel should be frame sizes.
very essential that the main able to carry out the maintenance l 3/4-pole and fixed/draw-out
interrupting device (Air Circuit in the shortest possible time models in standard, high and
Breaker in case of LV distribution preferably without removing the very high breaking capacities.
system) discriminates among the ACB from the panel to reduce the l Unique safety features, viz., arc

various devices and isolates only downtime. chute interlock, smart racking
the faulty section without affecting shutter, etc.
The industrial automation has also l Supported by a host of locks
the rest of the system.
necessitated protective devices to and interlocks.
Over the years, industrial users be communicating on a common l Optimum compact yet supports
have given feedback in various data bus so that all the data, status aluminium termination with wide
forms that can be incorporated in and controls are available at the clearance.
the design of an ACB so that it helps central control room. l Universal terminals for optimum
them in running the plant more termination flexibility.
One more requirement is that the
efficiently. l Easy maintainability of cradle
ACB should be modular in design.
terminals, poles, etc.
In any industry, safety of the This helps in upgrading the ACB
l Unique front architecture
operating personnel is of prime at a later date depending on
displaying accessories installed
importance. Hence, features that changing requirements.
and not installed.
make the ACB extremely safe to
This issue of L&T Current Trends l Wide range of microprocessor
operate take topmost priority.
discusses various such aspects based releases with
Apart from this, an ACB should be that define specifications for an communication capability and an
user friendly and should not require ideal air circuit breaker. option of on-line graphical
special skills for operation. display.

Visit us at www.LNTEBG.com

Ideal Air Circuit Breaker

- Mr. J.S. Gangal
Powergear Group (ACB)

Preference for an Air Circuit Breaker padlocking of top or bottom side, to should also be operable at the ambient
(ACB) can be assessed based on ensure safety during maintenance. temperatures in tropical countries
several parameters. With diverse without derating. Inside the panel,
applications and system configurations, 2. Panel design: temperature (micro ambient) is always
the features offered by the ACB have higher than outside (macro ambient)
When ACBs of different frame sizes
to be really exhaustive. This article ambient by around 12-15 degrees C.
are mounted in one panel, uniformity in
attempts to cover most of the major Hence, when the manufacturers specify
breaker design across the frame sizes
industrial requirements, by classifying breaker technical data for inside
plays an important role. If the breakers
them into ten categories. They are: ambient, it should be compared with
have common depth and height for all
equivalent outside ambient while
1. Safety: the frame sizes, it would make easy
working out ACB derating.
the link work design and avoid wastage
‘Safety First’ has always been the of valuable panel space. Making a breaker compact generally
principle of every industrial application sacrifices the size of the terminals. In
where a human is expected to interact Also, uniform location and common
India, panels are designed with
with machine. dimensions of panel cut-out for the
aluminium termination, which requires
ACBs in various frame sizes will add
wider terminal size and the ACB should
In case of ACB, degree of interaction to the aesthetic value of the panel.
be able to support it without adapters.
has always been higher – be it normal However, attention to aesthetics should
operation, routine maintenance or life not result in wastage of panel space. No terminal design can directly be used
cycle enhancement. Therefore, This is only possible with right or left for terminating all the possible link
operational safety is a very crucial aligned breaker facia, a feature grossly configurations. Some terminal designs
parameter for an ACB. overlooked. are easier to manufacture but call for
higher effort from the user. Typical
While ACBs have ensured safe Given the constraints on panel space example being horizontal terminals. Our
operation and maintenance over the in most of the industry premises, there experience reveals flat terminals as the
past decades, industry feedback is an increased pressure on making best configuration, though it calls for
highlights some more aspects where compact panels. By virtue of being the higher efforts from the manufacturer.
user's safety needs to be ensured. biggest LV switchgear equipment, ACB Flat terminals can be, in fact, aptly
plays an important role in arriving at called ‘Universal terminals’.
With increasing preference to control
the panel dimensions. Therefore, a
room concept, use of electrically
compact ACB is a welcome It is important that ACB manufacturer
operated ACBs is also increasing.
improvement. provides flexibility of on-site adaptation,
When a breaker is remote controlled,
without the need for dismantling the
there is always a risk of remote However, compactness should not be existing terminals.
command closing the breaker when the at the cost of functional parameters
maintenance person is racking it in/ such as breaking capacity and While most manufacturers claim
out. To prevent such a harmful temperature rise. A compact ACB suitability of terminating two wires on
situation, breakers should have a safety
interlock, whereby the remote closing
command will be blocked during ACB

It is quite possible that after

maintenance, the operator forgets to
install the arc chutes or secure them
properly. If the breaker clears a fault in
this condition, it would cause severe
damage. Hence, the breaker should not
close if all the arc chutes are not
secured properly.

The breakers should be equipped with

safety shutters, with independent Flat terminals offer flexibility and easy access
control terminals, the unspecified desire electromagnetic releases and still gave list of
is actually for ‘independent’ termination a cost effective solution. Hence, they desirables
of 2:2.5 mm2 wires. became very popular all across the features can
user industry. be really
In most cases, industrial environment long. But with
calls for higher degree of ingress Next evolution was micro-computer electronics at
protection. As front facia is the only based releases. They offered versatility your service,
part to project out of the panel door, it and higher accuracy in protection nothing is
should have higher ‘intrinsic’ IP level. settings. All these releases offered the unachievable.
necessary basic protections essential
3. Performance: in the ACB. But today’s complex In current
control circuits require releases: market, it is
Needless to mention, the breaker necessary to
should comply with the latest applicable l that can be remotely programmed have a range
standards. and monitored. of such
l that offer additional current relays and
ACB holds the ultimate responsibility
protections like undercurrent, current releases
for clearing the fault and protecting the available to
circuit. It should trip only when the unbalance, etc.
select from,
downstream devices fail to operate so l that take voltage inputs, widening depending on Release showing time
current characteristics
that healthy feeders elsewhere in the the scope of protection to include the system
system are not isolated unless there voltage, frequency and power related requirements and economics.
is an emergency. Therefore, the breaker protections.
should have adequate ‘short time 5. Maintenance:
l that carry out measurements of
withstand capacity (Icw)’. The previous
current, voltage, power and several At the end of electrical life,
issue of L&T Current Trends talked derived parameters for energy maintenance man should be able to
about the advantages of Fully Rated management thus reducing several replace the breaker poles in the
System, which also reflects on ACB metering equipment. shortest possible time and in the ‘Fix
having adequate withstand capacity. it right the first time’ way to reduce
Ideally, withstand capacity should be l that offer communication so as to
plant downtime and production loss.
equal to Icu (rated ultimate short circuit capture all the metering, fault
This convenience generally remains
breaking capacity) and Ics (rated service parameters, etc., at a remote
restricted to lower ratings of ACBs.
short circuit breaking capacity) though location.
the standards permit Icw to be lower l that also monitor total harmonic During ACB maintenance, whenever
than I cs . At times, I cs and I cu are distortion and amplitude of required, replacement of cradle
specified by the manufacturer with no/ harmonics. terminals is done from the rear side.
vague reference to Icw. Users must be However, with the breaker mounted
Owing to extensive usage of inside a panel, access from the rear
careful in making the selection. electronics and the release being a very side is restricted. Even if one has the
sensitive part in the breaker, wherever access, he will have to dismantle the
4. Protection:
required, EMI/EMC tests on the release entire cable and link work for replacing
Circuit protection is the main function are a pre-requisite. cradle terminals. Therefore, it should
of the ACB. Breaker releases offer a be possible to carry out replacement
Today, there are specific requirements of cradle terminals from the front side,
very simple, cost effective and reliable
for higher neutral rating with increasing preferably in a phase by phase manner.
protection. Since release operates
usage of computers/UPS, etc. With May be at the cost of much higher
directly on the trip mechanism of the
ACB, it trips the breaker irrespective of considerable zero sequence currents effort in ACB design, but this feature
availability of control supply or adding up in the neutral, the required will certainly make the ACB
healthiness of trip circuit. neutral rating goes well beyond the maintenance much easier for the users.
phase current, as high as 200%.
Initially releases were electro- Special versions of breaker should be Arc chutes have to be routinely opened
mechanical. They provided the basic available for such requirements (without by the maintenance man for contact
overload and short circuit protection 50% derating of higher ratings). Also, inspection. To facilitate the above, it
efficiently and offered a very economical releases should be able to protect 200% should be possible to remove and re-
solution. They provided effective neutral currents. For normal circuits, a fix the arc chutes without using any
protection even to cables by using release should be able to protect 50% tool. This feature becomes all the more
bimetal thermal memory. and 100% neutral ratings. important in case of a fixed breaker. It
must be remembered here that the
Then came the static release. They There could be numerous other system- ‘easy-to-remove’ arc chutes must also
offered better reliability and accuracy specific requirements, which the withstand severe stresses encountered
as compared to the conventional releases will have to cater to and the while clearing a major short circuit.
6. Security: also be easy to fix, without the need Environment consciousness of the
for calling a specialised person. It manufacturer can be seen right from
ACB needs to be secured for prevention would be extremely beneficial if no the ACB packing made with disposable
of unauthorized access and inadvertent control termination is required to be material to avoiding use of harmful
operation. handled while replacing accessories. heavy metals. It is lesser known that
even paint pigments can be made
Operations susceptible to unauthorized Though draw-out breakers are very environment friendly by avoiding lead
access are ACB racking and opening/ popular today, there is still a large content.
closing. ACB trips during rack-out population of fixed breakers in the
operation, resulting in disruption of industry. In a plant where a combination Another effort towards environment
supply and hence, racking operation of both types exist, it would be conservation can also be seen in life
must be protected against unauthorised preferable if a fixed breaker and a draw- cycle enhancement of the product. Life
access. Similarly, ON and OFF buttons out ACB (breaker portion) are cycle can be enhanced through a
must also be guarded against foul play. interchangeable. combination of higher basic life as per
Protection settings on the release are the product design and subsequent
In a PCC where a large number of
extremely important for safety of the parts replacement.
ACBs are installed, it is essential that
equipment downstream. Once set, they each ACB identifies itself clearly to the 10. “What You Want Is What You
should not be touched unless a change maintenance man, without even Get”:
is called for. Therefore, access to opening the panel door. The front of
release settings must be secured to the ACB, which projects through the ACB caters to a wide variety of
prevent tampering. door cut-out should give as much applications – from one stand-alone
information as possible about the ACB to hundreds of ACBs integrated
During a typical maintenance shutdown, accessories installed (and not in a modern plant. Extent of intelligence
several breakers are removed from the installed!!). Even for finding out the to be packed in the protection release
cradles. While replacing the breakers, control voltage of various accessories, also varies from one application to the
one should not be able to inadvertently the operating personnel have to refer other.
load a breaker of the same frame size to the drawings, as they cannot open
in a wrong cradle. the breaker every time. Should the As a result, ACB manufacturer has to
breaker front display this information, offer a wide spectrum of products –
7. Modular and User-friendly: it would be quite convenient. from high technology to economy.
Though breaker configurations are Standardization in ACB specifications
8. Complete range: helps the manufacturer manage the
normally ordered as per the system
requirements, there are several A maintenance man always prefers complexities and expedite deliveries in
instances where users have to add/ fewer variations in the equipment this wide spectrum of products.
delete accessories, where modularity installed in his plant as standardization However, this style of feature packaging
plays a vital role. helps him in product familiarity and confuses the user.
lower spares requirement. Therefore,
Though modularity is a commonly used Therefore, the users must be able to
the breaker manufacturer should be able
concept today, its extent of utilisation select the very features that they need
to provide complete range in terms of
is varying. If an accessory can be fitted and pay for them.
ratings, 3/4-pole versions and fixed and
at site, but takes hours of assembly draw-out models. Conclusion:
time and special skills, is it truly
modular? 9. Environment friendly: Any breaker, which meets the above
Implementation of environment friendly expectations will certainly keep the
Therefore, one should be able to fit
policies (ISO 14000) in most of the operation and maintenance personnel
ACB accessories on-site, without using
industries necessitates use of every happy. But, for achieving this, the
any special tools in minimum time. For
equipment including switchgear, which breaker must be designed for the
a drawout ACB, this should even be
possible without removing the ACB from is environment friendly in manufacturing USERS, designed to surpass world
the panel. The control wiring should and in service. benchmarks!!!

For further details on this subject, please contact:

EBG - Electrical Systems & Equipment, Larsen & Toubro Limited, Saki-Vihar Road, P.O. Box 8901, Powai, Mumbai 400 072
Fax: 022-858 1024 * E-mail: kotnisnd@Intebg.com

Printed by Printania Offset Pvt. Ltd.,D 20/21, Shalimar Industrial Estate, Matunga (East), Mumbai 400 019. Tel.: 407 7996/
8866/4540 Fax : 402 4703 Email: pds6@bol.net.in Edited by Henry A. Karkada for Larsen & Toubro Limited, from L&T
House, Narottam Morarji Marg, Ballard Estate, Mumbai 400 001, The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily
ABCI those of the management of Larsen & Toubro Limited. The contents of this magazine should not be reproduced without the
written permission of the Editor. Not for sale-only for circulation among the customers. Associate Editors: Sharmila
Member Banerjee and Lawrence Mohan. Editorial Coordinators : R. S. Mahajan, Neelam D. Kotnis, EBG-ESE, Powai and Olympia
Couto, CCD, LTH.