Switchgear is required to connect or disconnect parts of the network or to reconfigure it. Often the switchgear must be able to perform this under full operating load and over many years. Switchgear employ a variety of fluids to manage the arc between the electrodes when the switch operates, air, SF6, oil, vacuum.
Current trends for modern switchgear are for ever greater safety levels, reducing environmental impact often whilst fitting into smaller footprints as demanded by inner city space restrictions. SF6 has been very successful in allowing compact switchgear to be developed but SF6 has a high CO2 factor and BEAMA members are developing non-SF6 switchgear that offers similar performance.