Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation has unveiled PowerLogic HeatTag, an innovative smart sensor for early detection of overheating of wire connections or cables that analyses switchboard gas and particles and provides alerts before smoke or insulator browning can occur.

PowerLogic HeatTag forms part of Schneider Electric’s Continuous Thermal Monitoring solutions which reduce the risk of electrical fires and unplanned electrical downtime by measuring temperature at critical connection points in MV (medium voltage) and LV (low voltage) electrical equipment and off gassing of electrical wiring.

“Our PowerLogic HeatTag sensors offer a high level of sensitivity which means it can detect early signs of insulation deterioration through the analyses of gas and particles.  In turn, related data and alarms can be visualised locally by onsite facility personnel and uploaded to the cloud where remote facility personnel and expert advisory services can conduct the relevant maintenance and repair before damage occurs,” explains Kamogelo Makwana, AAF Offer Manager – PPACB & PPCCB, Power Products Division Schneider Electric.

Often, cable connections start to deteriorate due to improper tightening torque or constant vibrations over time. Deterioration can also occur because of damaged surfaces, due to corrosion, excessive pressure or friction.

These conditions can be exaggerated by frequent temperature cycling. Fluctuations between cold nights and hot days, or low and high current, cause increased and decreased connection tightness. This, in turn, contributes to loosening.

In any of the conditions noted above, a critical sequence of events can begin which see increasing electrical contact resistance inducing a rise in temperature that accelerates the damage.  The result is a thermal runaway that leads to overheating wire connections and/or overheating cables.

Above 200°C, the insulation material begins to change colour. At approximately 300°C this transforms into cable smoke, melted insulation material or even fire. These conditions can be detected with a fire or smoke detector; however, at that point, the damage has already occurred in the electrical switchboard.

Schneider Electric’s PowerLogic HeatTags’ analysis of gas and particles provides early warning alarms to operators, ensuring that faulty cabling is replaced before the abovementioned series of events occur.

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