The Benefits of Monitoring and Diagnostic Solutions

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ABB White Paper
The Benefits of Monitoring and Diagnostic Solutions


Medium voltage switchgear is a vital component in data centre power distribution systems. Nevertheless, its maintenance is often overlooked. This is because of its long-life span and relatively low equipment failure rates.

This White Paper from ABB explores a case study that demonstrates that integrating a condition-based maintenance philosophy to existing preventive maintenance practices can decrease the overall total cost of ownership by up to 40% and increase maintenance intervals by up to 30%.

Condition based maintenance addresses the causes of failure in medium voltage (MV) systems, reducing failure rates drastically by detecting any errors that may arise in between two scheduled maintenance cycles. Repairing or replacing the switchgear can be expensive due to downtime and the urgency, increasing the price of labour.

Causes of failure in medium voltage equipment

External conditions play a big role in the performance of a switchgear. Current leaks can cause equipment to heat up. The build-up of dust inside the switchgear can lead to partial discharges which can significantly damage the equipment.

IEEE 493-2007 includes an end user survey on the causes of the medium voltage equipment failure with both insulated and non-insulated busbars. For insulated busbar, the survey shows that defective parts and inadequate maintenance are the most common causes of failure, resulting in up to 66% of all failures.

The data shows that installing a condition monitoring system with breaker diagnostics and temperature and partial discharge systems will reduce the number of failures.


This paper concludes that condition monitoring does not mean that the system becomes maintenance free. It suggests that it optimises the complete process of maintenance.

The installation of a condition monitoring system is an effective way to reduce operational costs in both cases with an observed failure and without. The monitoring system reduces the amount of time required for the routine maintenance, increases the time interval of maintenance by 30% and optimises the maintenance activities. As a result, the total cost of ownership could be reduced by up to 40%.

Reaping the full benefits of condition monitoring requires a shift in data centre power distribution strategies. There must be a significant percentage of switchgear in the installed base leveraging condition monitoring to realise these savings. Adding transformers and other critical equipment to the program continues to increase the impact.

There is no doubt that using effective condition monitoring can have a positive impact on reducing costs and ensuring the smooth running of data centres for many years to come.

To find out more, read the full ABB white paper entitled: The Benefits of Monitoring and Diagnostic Solutions. This is available via the link found further down this page.


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ABB is a leading global technology company that energises the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. Our comprehensive portfolio of proven data centre solutions helps our data centre clients keep uptime up, outages out and disruptions to the absolute minimum so you won’t get left in the dark! With excellence stretching back more than 130 years, and 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries, ABB can help you keep your data centre up and running smoothly, reliably and smarter.

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Published 12th July 2022