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Schneider Electric Announces SM AirSeT™, the Green and Digital Switchgear with No SF6 Greenhouse Gas

Rueil-Malmaison, France

08/10/2020

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  • New medium-voltage switchgear uses pure air and vacuum interruption, completely avoiding the SF6 greenhouse gas
  • SM AirSeT maintains identical compact size and operating mechanism of popular SM6 range for grid and commercial applications
  • The new technology recently won the Industrial Energy Efficiency Award from Hannover Messe, as well as an iF Design Award, and was among three nominees for the prestigious Hermes Award

Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has named its new green and digital medium voltage switchgear range at its premier live virtual event, Innovation Summit 2020. SM AirSeT is a leap forward for sustainability, using pure air and vacuum interruption instead of SF6 gas and allowing users to take full advantage of digital features to unlock the value of data. The new offer is an environmentally superior continuation of one of Schneider Electric’s most popular classic product ranges for secondary electrical distribution, SM6.

Since the announcement of the company’s innovative Shunt Vacuum Interruption (SVI)™ technology associated with pure air insulation during the CIRED and European Utility Week events in 2019, the company continues to report successful pilot projects of the SF6-free medium voltage range at both utility and private customer sites. This new green and digital switchgear is designed for secondary electrical distribution markets and will initially launch in several geographies in Asia and in Europe.

The company anticipates a similarly high level of excitement as seen during the pilot stage, because the combination of SVI and pure air insulation enables the avoidance of SF6 while maintaining the advantages of the compact physical footprint. It offers a comprehensive suite of functionalities, including the SF6-free switch-fuse, which is often the preferred solution for building installations. It also retains the trusted operating mode of traditional SF6-based equipment.

Air is the best gas

"At Schneider Electric, we believe the best gas is air,” said Frederic Godemel, Executive Vice President of Power Systems at Schneider Electric. “I am very pleased to announce SM AirSeT, our green and digital SF6-free switchgear. This is the most exciting leap forward for medium voltage in many years, and will play an important role in decarbonizing electricity and strongly contributes to circular economy. We care about environmental responsibility, and so do our customers. Today, we make the transition away from greenhouses gas easy, while retaining all the benefits that classic SF6 equipment has historically given us.” 

Schneider Electric has reported successful pilot projects of its new SF6-free medium voltage switchgear at numerous electric utilities, including E.ON in Sweden, GreenAlp in France, and EEC Engie in New Caledonia, with more being energized on a regular basis, including in private power networks for commercial and industrial applications.

Schneider Electric’s new SM AirSeT switchgear was recently honored by Hannover Messe with the Industrial Energy Efficiency Award, which showcases companies’ outstanding commitment to investing in and applying energy-efficient solutions. In cooperation with the independent market research and consulting company EUPD Research, the award was conferred by Deutsche Messe at the Hannover Messe Digital Days. When choosing the recipient of the award, the jury considered its degree of innovation, contribution to efficiency, economic benefits, and social sustainability characteristics.

SM AirSeT was also nominated for another industrial prize awarded this year by Deutsche Messe, the HERMES Award, where it placed among the three finalists. These recognitions come on the heels of a previous prize: In May, Schneider Electric’s SM AirSeT technology was recognized by iF, the celebrated design institution, with an IF Design Award.

The company further emphasized the benefits of the numerous digital technologies that can equip their new switchgear. For example, sensors for condition monitoring can unlock predictive and preventive asset management strategies by feeding data to sophisticated analytics tools such as those offered by Schneider Electric’s robust EcoStruxure architecture and platform.

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