25 Jul 2024


‘Revolutionary’ multi-role breaker is up to 1,000 times faster

The ECPD saves on resources and cuts costs

Siemens has developed a “revolutionary” multi-function circuit protection device that it says is to 1,000 times faster than conventional devices and needs up to 80% less space in distribution boards. If circuit faults occur, the Sentron ECPD (electronic circuit protection device) switches them off electronically and, if necessary, can trip mechanical isolating contacts downstream. Previously, such disconnections have needed electromechanical elements.

According to Siemens, the solid-state device will allow completely new approaches in electrical planning, maximising safety, flexibility and delivering substantial space and energy savings compared to conventional technologies.

“This innovation offers a variety of benefits and has the potential to revolutionise today’s circuit protection world,” says Andreas Matthé, CEO of Electrical Products at Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “For the first time in the history of circuit protection, it is possible to benefit from several functionalities in one product and to activate them as required by the individual application or adapt them if needed.”

In the event of a short circuit, conventional circuit-breakers typically achieve disconnections in 2-3ms. The new breaker can disconnect up to 1,000 times faster, minimising short-circuit energy and ensuring safety for people, systems and electrical equipment. In addition, a built-in cyclical self-test function (including an RCD capability) is claimed to raise safety to levels not possible using existing concepts.

The solid-state device also offers wear-free switching, increasing the service lives of systems and reducing maintenance and repair costs.

The new breaker’s functions can be customised and new functions can be activated easily via an app, avoiding the need to buy a new device and adapt it to suit an application.

For example, rated current, tripping limits or behaviour can all be adjusted to suit an application, offering planning and cost advantages. Circuits can be designed based on the rated current of the loads instead of the significantly higher inrush current peaks that occur briefly with some loads. This reduces complexity as well as planning and installation efforts and saves on materials such as copper.

For the first time, it is possible to perform detailed condition-monitoring of the applications at the final circuit level, increasing availability and reliability. Data generated by the breaker can be used to detect irregularities and deviations, and to plan preventative maintenance. The breakers can be integrated into higher-level systems via the open Modbus TCP standard.

Remote diagnostics and switching can be carried out during normal operations, as well as in the event of a fault. This allows remote applications to be implemented without direct on-site support. In addition, it is said to be easier to localise and identify faults by differentiating the cause of the fault.

Energy consumption by final circuits can be monitored via radio-based communications using Siemens’ Sentron Powercenter 1000 and 3000 gateways. This allows systems and processes to be optimised, for example, as part of energy management systems in accordance with ISO 50001 which, in turn, can cut energy and operating costs.

The ability to combine multiple functions in a single device leads to savings of up to 80% on the electronics needed, 90% on the metals and 90% on the plastics. The breaker is about 90% lighter than the devices that would otherwise be needed.

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