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Schneider Electric launches RM AirSeT at AMEU – the next step in grid decarbonisation

South Africa


Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has launched the RM AirSeT, its newest gas-insulated (GIS) switchgear with pure air technology and digital connectivity, to the South African marketplace.

Unveiled on the first day of the 68th AMEU (Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities) Convention, held at the Durban Convention Centre (2-5 October 2022), the RM AirSeT equips grid operators with an innovative solution to decarbonise and modernise the grid, while enabling electric distribution utilities to improve operational performance and reliability.

The RM AirSeT is completely sealed from the external environment, which provides extra protection against the harsh environmental conditions found in the grid network such as humidity or dust. This design makes it suitable for utilities and most industrial settings.

Available in 12kV and 24kV options, the GIS switchgear uses pure air as the main insulating medium which among many advantages mitigate the need for complex and costly gas recycling, which minimises the TCO of equipment.

The rollout of RM AirSeT is a part of Schneider’s ‘Grids of the Future’ programme and a milestone in in its progress towards producing a complete portfolio of SF6-free switchgear by 2025.

Comments Brighton Mwarehwa, Offer and Marketing Director, Power Systems at Schneider Electric: “The RM AirSeT provides an unprecedented opportunity to decarbonise. For decades, SF6 gas has been used for electrical insulation and arc quenching in high and medium voltage equipment.

“Replacing it with pure air and vacuum interruption solutions like RM AirSeT across the wider electricity distribution network is a gamechanger for electric distribution grids – decarbonising and preparing grid operators for grids of the future.”

The average lifespan of switchgear is between 30-40 years, utilities therefore have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take action to avoid the risk of additional greenhouse gas emissions. SF6 is a potent greenhouse gas, 23,500 times more potent than CO2. By eliminating its use in switchgear, the environmental footprint of electrical networks will undoubtedly be reduced.

Additional RM AirSeT features include:

  • Natively digital: the new range of switchgear offers condition-based maintenance features, feeding data from its sensors to both local field tools/apps and sophisticated analytics tools such as those offered by Schneider Electric's robust EcoStruxure architecture and platform.

The entire platform is connected to cloud data sharing to serve efficiency and safety of operations better.

  • Management of more complex networks: equipped with Easergy T300 Feeder Remote Terminal Unit, a modular, IoT-connected device for modern grid automation.

It offers a single solution for 24/7 app-based condition monitoring and controls to check the quality of power connections, identify and isolate faults in seconds, and self-healing capabilities for reduced downtime.

  • Built to last: the advanced Schneider Electric-patented CompoDrive operating mechanism is reinforced to handle the increased switching requirements of a modern, decentralised grid. With ten times the mechanical endurance of conventional mechanisms, RM AirSeT has a 40-year life expectance.
  • A compact footprint: enabling easy deployment in space-sensitive applications.
  • Complete and flexible range of functions: functions such as switch, switch-fuse, circuit breaker, and metering, and freedom to combine it.
  • Peace of mind for regulatory compliance: SF6 gas is a regulated fluorinated gas, which currently has a special exemption for use in electrical distribution across many geographies. However, as alternatives become more readily available, various countries and territories are considering measures to restrict its use. Pure air offers ultimate transparency.

South Africa

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