In the Industry 4.0 era, advanced AI and ML technologies have revolutionised switchgear, enabling precise predictive maintenance through real-time load and fault analysis. Smart switchgears leveraging 5G for instant data transmission are key elements in optimising energy distribution in smart grids and microgrids, minimising downtime and enhancing electrical infrastructure, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Kiran Raj, Practice Head of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, comments: “The integration of AI and 5G in modern switchgear marks a significant leap in the electrical infrastructure management. Not only does this tech convergence boost operational efficiency, but it also enhances safety by predicting and mitigating electrical failures before they happen. It is a prime example of how digital transformation can tangibly improve traditional industries, opening the door for even more innovations in energy management.”
Vaibhav Gundre, Project Manager at Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, comments: “The evolution in switchgear technology also paves the way for more sustainable energy systems. A more efficient smart grid enables improved reliability and also facilitates the integration of renewable energy sources. Advanced predictive analytics can balance load demands with energy supply, optimising the grid for both traditional and green energy. Thus, the smartification of switchgear is not just a technical upgrade; it is a critical step towards a more sustainable future.”
GlobalData’s FutureTech Series report, “Switchgear In Utilities 2.0 – How Tech Is Driving The Sector Innovation,” highlights more than 30 disruptive forces in power and utilities as emerging, accelerating, and maturing innovation areas based on their rate of growth in innovation.
Siemens patented a real-time failure prediction system for power networks, using state estimation data from components like instrumental transformers in October 2022. The system utilises both steady-state and transient-state data to accurately forecast and prevent outages.
The German multinational technology conglomerate secured a patent for a low-voltage circuit breaker featuring an electronic trip unit and a mobile device, capable of wirelessly adjusting current or time-current limits via a mobile device with a wireless LAN interface, in March 2022.
State Grid Corporation of China submitted a patent application for a fire detection system for switch cabinets, which incorporates miniature cameras, data processing technology, communication devices, and a fire extinguishing mechanism, in June 2022.
Gundre concludes: “The modernisation of switchgear through AI, ML, and advanced communication technologies is not merely an incremental improvement but a paradigm shift in how we manage and distribute energy. By enhancing predictive maintenance, streamlining operations, and paving the way for renewable energy integration, these innovations present a holistic approach to tackling both current and future energy challenges. This transformation aligns with the core principles of Industry 4.0, merging physical and digital technologies to create a safer, more sustainable future.”