22 Jul 2024


$25m investment brings LV switchgear to North America

ABB has announced a family of low-voltage switchgear, motor control centres and panels which, it says, represent more than $25m of research and development investment to bring its switchgear to the North American market. The launch is an expansion of ABB’s power distribution equipment portfolio, in which all medium- and low-voltage systems are branded as ReliaGear for standard equipment, and SafeGear for arc-resistant equipment.

“With this significant investment in LV power distribution solutions, ABB now has the complete range for a one-line solution, from substation equipment to a cable tie,” says Tarak Mehta, president of ABB’s Electrification Products division. “Our presence in the United States and Canada provides the market with a source for superior low-voltage power distribution solutions that are smarter, smaller, safer and more reliable.”

The extended LV range includes circuit-breakers which are UL and cUL/CSA listed and have ANSI (American National Standards Institute) certification. It includes ABB Tmax or Tmax XT UL489 MCCBs (moulded-case circuit breakers), and Emax 2 UL 1066 circuit-breakers, which use the latest data communications and automation technologies. They are said to need less space, improve safety, and increase service lives.

The ReliaGear portfolio includes:

UL 1558-Listed low-voltage switchgear: This provides ANSI C37.20.1-compliant power distribution for critical applications. The “revolutionary” all-in-one Emax 2 circuit-breaker combines advanced protection, programmable logic (including an embedded automatic transfer switch function), connectivity and microgrid energy management.

UL845-Listed low-voltage motor control centre: With a “unique” draw-out mechanism that does not need mechanical shutters, this MCC is claimed to set new standards for safety, reliability and operator convenience. It incorporates technologies including Emax 2 and Tmax / Tmax XT circuit-breakers, ACS-type variable-speed drives, and PST-type soft-starters, in a type-tested system. Built-in fast load-shedding simplifies the MCC architecture and maximises plant service continuity. The breakers and electrical data are managed by ABB’s Ability distribution control system – a new cloud-based platform that allows remote energy monitoring and optimisation.

UL 67-Listed SafeT panelboard: With a finger-safe bus stack and plug-in branch devices, this panelboard is said to offer improved safety and ease of use. It uses Tmax and/or Tmax XT MCCBs that need up to 30% less mounting space than rival products, leading to smaller panel enclosures and wall space requirements. A simple design allows one-person installation.

UL 857-Listed busway: This busway is said to occupy less space and use less material, making it more economical and efficient.

UL 891-Listed SafeT switchboard: The switchboard uses Emax 2, Tmax or Tmax XT circuit-breakers. It incorporates an “exclusive” finger-safe vertical bus in the distribution section for group-mounted breakers.

♦  ABB’s $25m investment in LV distribution is part of a total of more than $60m of r&d and operational investments announced at its Customer World event in Texas. The investments are said to complete ABB’s portfolio and include installation products from Thomas & Betts which it acquired for $3.9bn in 2012. ABB has spent $10m to localise production of electrical components and systems that were of previously manufactured overseas in a new 85,000ft2 (7,900m2) plant in Mississippi. The plant, which opened in October 2016, employs more than 100 people with plans to increase this to 300 within five years. ABB says it has invested more than $100m in the US market since buying Thomas & Betts.