Why Hanley Energy’s New Low Voltage Switchgear Solutions Are Best in Class
Our experts explain how the range is flexible, compact, future-proofed and delivers exceptional performance
Hanley Energy has developed, designed, tested and brought to market its own best-in-class modular low-voltage switchgear product. Flexible, compact, and futureproofed, Hanley Energy’s switchgear range delivers exceptional performance and build quality, enabling safe and reliable distribution of electrical power.
Hanley Energy already supply transformers, MV packages, EPMS systems and UPS packages – the addition of the new low-voltage switchgear range allows Hanley Energy to provide a complete turnkey solution.
“We have assembled a team with vast levels of knowledge of LV switchgear design experience, customer requirements, performance and standards compliance requirements which enabled us to achieve all our design goals with respect to minimal footprint, minimum component count, efficiency of build, efficiency of systems and flexibility,” says Jerome McEvoy, Hanley Energy’s Global Director of Low Voltage Products.
Some of the Hanley Energy low voltage switchgear’s features include:
- Circuit breakers up to 6,300A.
- Main busbars rated from 1,000A up to 6,300A.
- Tested to the latest version of IEC EN 61439-2 Ed3 (2020-05).
- Unique twisted transition copper sections.
- Range from 1,000A up to 6,300A, and with ratings of 50,000A for one second up to 100,000A for one second.
Tested to the highest standard
Hanley Energy’s switchgear product range has been rigorously tested to the latest version in IEC 61439-2 Ed3. Some of the testing, such as short-circuit, ingress protection, and environmental and impact-resistance testing is carried out using laboratories in the UK, Italy and the US (for UL compliance verification).
Hanley Energy uses a test facility at Bristol University for its seismic testing to verify that the switchgear can survive earthquakes.
Hanley Energy also has the crucial advantage of being able to conduct its own temperature testing in-house.
Jerome explains: “Temperature verification is a critical part of the testing and development. We have designed and installed our own temperature rise test laboratory fitted out with a current generator capable of 11000A for our own in-house testing.”
“The benefit this facility offers is the flexibility to rapidly verify new configurations or new designs to meet customer requirements. We can very quickly divert a mew configuration into the test lab, do the proving tests, and continue to manufacture without having to schedule access to an independent lab.”
This has huge benefits in terms of compressing the development cycle time as it removes the reliance on the schedule of a third-party lab which can often slow down progress by weeks or months until a testing timeslot becomes available.
Latest international standards
Hanley Energy’s switchgear range is designed to the latest international standards, whether UL (North America) or IEC (Europe).
“The latest IEC standard, IEC 61439-2 Ed3, was issued in May 2021,” says Jerome. “So we’re working to the very latest versions of that standard for all our testing and development. This gives us an advantage over the existing suppliers. They’ve been working with legacy systems and developing and tweaking them, whereas we are designing from the ground up and starting with a clean sheet.”
Hanley Energy’s manufacturing plants in Ireland are all UL-certified and undergo UL inspections every few months, our US manufacturing plants are all UL certified.
“We understand from the outset where a particular product is going to be built, whether it’s a UL product for North America or an IEC product and we design the product and associated build process to suit local manufacturing in that region,” says Bryan Rice, Hanley Energy’s Research and Development Manager.
Even though the products and processes are developed in Ireland, features like material types, fastener sizes and wire colours to name a few, all vary from region to region. Hanley Energy tailor the products to the market they are destined for, with design verification and certification to suit requirements in the deployment region.
One of the key problems for engineering, operations and maintenance managers is a lack of space on-site, so a compact design was a key focus for the Hanley Energy team.
Hanley Energy’s innovative designs allow for great flexibility in cubicle arrangement to facilitate incorporating a wide range of components and applications. They also facilitate on-site modifications and alterations to allow the system to be adapted to changing site requirements.
“That is critical from a customer perspective because nobody has space and they look at the distribution gear as being a sort of necessary evil that they have to accommodate,” says Jerome. “So obviously, the more compact and more efficient you can make it, the better.”
A key aspect of the Hanley Energy switchgear is that all the circuit breakers have a 100% thermal rating.
“The fully rated devices are a key element because many of our competitors have derated devices fitted and it’s only when the customer starts drilling down to see exactly what’s available that they realise the breaker is only rated at 80% in their configuration,” says Jerome. “We aim to get 100% rating on all the main power devices.”
This means Hanley Energy is able to save on space by giving customers exactly what they need, no more or no less. Jerome uses the example of a customer who might ask for a retrofit of cooling fans to their transformers to increase the rating of their existing product, and that starts introducing complications.
“Our aim is to get a 100% rating on all our devices with natural cooling. So I know if a customer asks for a 4000 amp board, it will deliver 4000 amps all day long without any problems,” he says.
Fully customisable design
One of the main advantages of the modular switchgear is the fact it can be easily customised to each customer’s bespoke needs. This means a more personalised, tailored product rather than generic designs that are less efficient.
The product is easy to build and can be deployed quickly – pre-assembled one-piece skids are also available.
More features of the Hanley Energy switchgear include:
- It facilitates on-site modifications and alterations to allow the system to be adapted to a changing site.
- The design of the busbar system allows for total versatility, with the option to mount the horizontal busbar on the top, middle, or bottom of the panel.
- The location can be changed through the panel to facilitate different cable entry requirements.
- The busbar systems can be offered with bare, tinned, or insulated copper with a 100% neutral rating as standard.
If a customer has a change of mind in the middle of the process, Hanley Energy can very quickly accommodate that because the modular system can be easily changed and rearranged.
“We can configure the systems to whatever the customer requires,” says Jerome. “It doesn’t cause us any major grief to make mid-design changes and we can deliver exactly what the customer wants. We can configure the switchgear for top-cable entry, bottom-cable entry, and mid-mounted bus bar systems – we can change that halfway through the board. We’ve got full flexibility for busbar layout arrangement.”
Bryan adds: “With flexibility and adaptability, we can do that with comparable if not better production times than other competitors in the market, and without any negative impact from the client’s perspective on cost.”
The aim is to give the customer want they want, in the time frame they want it, with no financial or lead-time penalty – Hanley Energy has maximised flexibility for the customer.
Resilience of product
Hanley Energy’s switchgear is designed to be maintenance-free and give a long service life. All joints within the busbar system are pressure bolted and are maintenance-free.
The product will have a typical life expectancy of 20 years and beyond – with the possibility to easily update the component parts to add to the product’s resilience over time.
“There’s no reason why the switchgear life won’t exceed 20 years, life expectance will ultimately be dictated by components within the switchboard and their life expectance will depending on their use and maintenance,” says Jerome.
“If a customer after ten years wants to repurpose or modify the board, it’s easy to do so. They don’t have to strip the whole system out, they can go in and repurpose a specific section. It leads to the product being very flexible and very resilient over time.”
Sustainably sourced and developed
This resilience and flexibility mean the switchgear is more sustainable – Hanley Energy has ensured maximum efficiency with the minimum of components, which means minimum footprint.
In the initial design phase, rigorous testing meant they were able to refine and minimise the amount of material content, including copper, steel, etc. And everything used in the product is completely recyclable.
“From the outset, we aim to maximum the efficiency of every component we design and use in the product. From minimising processing requirements during manufacture to reducing material content in the end product,” says Bryan.
“We’ve standardised a large portion of the manufactured components so that the quantity of unique components is minimised. Each component will have multiple applications within the switchgear. Because we spend so much time testing, and gathering data, we can really refine and keep the amount of material content down.”
“You’re looking at a long lifespan and the ability to repurpose. And then if the product is ultimately decommissioned, everything that we put in there is 100% recyclable.”
Hanley Energy will consult with clients, understand their unique requirements, and deliver a compact, modular switchgear product that is perfectly suited to their bespoke needs.
And as a client’s situation or requirements may evolve in the future, Hanley Energy will be there as a trusted partner to help them grow and develop every step of the way.