Arc fault protection protects both personnel and equipment from the consequences of arc faults. An arc fault protection system detects the fault in less than 2 ms and including the delay in the breaker, the time to extinguish the arc is usually less than 50 to 70 ms. A normal selective overcurrent protection can have operating times of up to 500 ms. In the event of an arc fault in a switchgear equipped only with conventional feeder protection, the risk of serious injury to personnel is very high. The ultimate in arc protection is the AQ-100 system with an AQ-1000 or Siquench extinguishing device. The ultra-fast arc extinguishing device extinguishes the arc in less than 5 ms.
For distributions with high short-circuit currents and for systems serving critical processes, the use of active protection systems makes sense and pays off.
Arcteq's arc-fault relays for low and medium voltage applications are at the forefront of technology.
Special arc fault protection relays are only intended to protect against arc faults. They operate in parallel with the numerical multifunctional protection relays that provide the classic overcurrent-based protection systems. This approach provides redundant protection and increases the reliability of the installation. Arcteq's dedicated arc fault protection relays require minimal or no customer set-up. This is essential as studies confirm that a large proportion of protection malfunctions are due to incorrect settings. The protection trip time is 7 ms for any number of circuit breakers under any operating scenario. No inherent delays are introduced due to communication bus operating times. This is of utmost importance when calculating the incident energy values.
Circuit breakers can generate a strong light emission during switching under load. In doing so, the generated spark can activate an arc sensor installed nearby. Since the downstream fault condition leads to set overcurrent trip levels being exceeded, both the light and current criteria can be fulfilled at the same time. This can cause an arc fault protection system to cause a false trip of the feeder switch. Adding an arc fault protection pressure sensor allows for additional tripping criteria that are not met during normal circuit breaker operation. With the Arcteq AQ-02 arc sensor, which combines arc and pressure measurement in a single enclosure, a dual sensor system is achieved in a convenient and easy-to-install solution. For installations with overcurrent measurement, it is even possible to use a triple measurement system based on current, light and pressure tripping criteria.
In recent years, the application of arc fault protection based on light sensor technology has become the new norm of current-loaded installations.
In addition to the protection of people, the aim of protective measures is also to maintain the plant function and minimise operational failures. Arcteq is the pioneer and technology leader in arc fault protection. The design and production of these high-tech products are 100% carried out in Finland.
The effect of an arc fault on people and equipment is massive. At temperatures of around 20,000°C and a pressure wave similar to an explosion, the damage potential is considerable. Depending on the distance between the person and the fault location, the effect can be fatal. Other possible effects are:
The central issue is therefore personal protection and, in the case of critical applications, minimising downtimes and their consequential costs. It can quickly take half a year or more to set up a replacement system. A risk assessment helps to take the right measures before it is too late.
It is interesting to note that most arc fault incidents in our latitudes are caused by human error. Arc faults are short circuits that cause major damage to electrical installations. Typical triggers are:
The effect of arc faults on people and machinery is devastating in installations with high short-circuit current.
In recent years, Arcteq products have been installed all over the world. In addition to high-quality products, we are committed to providing our customers with industry-leading support and service.
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Managing Director and Owner