Retrofit vs. Replacement

Why is Retrofit often the better choice?

Aging switchgears require more maintenance. Spare parts are difficult to obtain, and repair is often time-consuming and costly. The pressure to act is increasing because the requirements for a reliable and redundant power supply are constantly rising. In addition, environmental aspects (e.g. for oil switches or SF6 switches) may force the company to take action.

Of course, the old medium-voltage switchgear could be replaced by a completely new one. However, replacing the complete system is expensive, complex and time-consuming. Everything would have to be planned anew, cables and lines would have to be partially re-laid. It may also be necessary to change the building, as its dimensions are often designed to match the old system. Approval procedures would prolong the complete replacement process. If process loads cannot be rerouted temporarily during the demolition of the old switchgear and installation of the new one, the costs of the loss of production will be added to the total costs.

A real and above all economic alternative is retrofitting the MV switchgear. This allows older installations to be modernised at low cost and brought up to the current state of the art. Retrofitting usually only replaces the circuit-breaker, i.e. the core component of the installation, its "heart" so to speak. The old is replaced by a circuit-breaker of the latest generation from well-known manufactures, such as AEG, Alstom, ASEA, BBC, Calor Emag, F & G, FUJI, GEC, Hitachi, SACE, SAD/SGM/VEM, Siemens, Sitel L.B., Sprecher & Schuh, Square D und Westinghouse. This is adapted to the busbar system of the switchgear simply by plug-and-play, without any complex conversion measures.

Replacement is quick and almost without downtimes, and the system is more powerful both electrically and mechanically after the retrofit. Moreover, the service life of the medium-voltage switchgear increases: thanks to retrofitting, such systems can be operated for another 25 to 30 years.

Not to forget: A retrofit is also preferable in terms of sustainability and resource conservation. As the switchgear is retained, less waste material has to be disposed of than would be the case if it were replaced completely. At the same time, obsolete oil switches or SF6 circuit-breakers are usually replaced by environmentally friendly, low-maintenance vacuum circuit-breakers.  

In the case of a retrofit, SZM takes care of the entire planning process, from taking the measurements to installing the new components. SZM’s customers can rely on a long-term experience in retrofitting gained from a total of 250 partially type-tested solutions which have been built and implemented thousands of times in retrofit projects all over the world. Such retrofit solutions, carried out by qualified personnel, reduce the risk of breakdowns, accidents and delays and offer a high degree of confidence.

Advantages of a retrofit solution:

  • Short realisation time
  • Reduced planning effort, no approval procedures
  • Low investment costs
  • Increased personal, operational and user safety
  • Extension of plant life (remaining service life)
  • Reduction of operating costs
  • Minimal downtime modernisation
  • Assured spare parts supply
  • Ensuring availability
  • Fulfilment of operator obligations (legal requirements)
  • Increase in productivity
  • Reduction of maintenance costs
  • No training required, as the switchgear is well known

You are looking for a Retrofit solution to modernise your switch gear? Do use our SZM Retrofit-Configurator to find suitable solutions!