Page 4: Product development
FKI continually seeks to improve all its business areas in order to remain at the head of the field. By creating a new device to protect electricity supply infrastructure in remote applications, FKI was, in effect, building on previous technology in this field. FKI however, sought to create a giant leap forward in product technology that would distance the Group from the competition.
Techniques for reclosing overhead line supplies are not new - they have been performed manually and automatically for a number of years. However, FKI wanted to create an innovation in automatic reclosing. The new reclosing device that FKI developed is called a Gas Filled Vacuum Recloser (GVR). The new generation of switchgear is innovative because it uses new developments in rare earth magnets in a brand new operating mechanism - overcoming the problems encountered in earlier designs. The new mechanism forms the basis of a low maintenance, low power consumption unit which can be installed in remote inaccessible areas. It is independent of external supplies and has been tested for unattended use equivalent to 10 years in service.
This case study does not set out to give a detailed description of the technologies involved in creating the new GVR. However, it is important for students to be aware of a number of key measures of improvement the new device has created in electricity distribution. These improvements are encapsulated in the chart. The figures indicate considerable performance improvements and show why the device has been so popular with customers.
The technological advance made is a combination of several major innovations which are applicable to all types of high power switchgear. They have been used for the first time on the GVR to make it the most revolutionary item of switchgear to have been developed for many years. Other functional advantages not shared by competitive equipment:
- Rubber bushings rather than porcelaine, resist vandal damage.
- Interrogation & two way communication via satellite, cellular telephone or fibre optic cable.
- Aluminium rather than steel, lightweight, no painting (very important with high voltages).
- Lightweight for easier installation & transportation to site.
- Batteries & control at ground level ensure independent supply.
- Vacuum switching, no byproducts, environmentally friendly.
- Filled with SF6 insulating gas to reduce size.