The need for a continuous power supply is constantly increasing – in hospitals, on ships, in manufacturing plants, process plants, data centers, control rooms, airports, railway systems, transport systems, heating systems, cooling systems, etc. In tunnels and below ground, lighting and ventilation must work faultlessly; submarine crews as well as astronauts in space equally depend on a reliable power supply.
IT systems with ground-fault monitoring represent the ideal technical solution in these cases. For this reason, floating systems are used in particularly critical applications like control circuits, medical locations or mobile power generators. However, by now they can also be found in newer applications, such as electric vehicles, photovoltaic systems or industrial plants with variable-speed drives.
In combination with innovative ground-fault monitoring technology, the IT system contributes to protecting people and installations against the hazards of electrical current by eliminating critical system and operating conditions or by detecting and signalling them at an early stage. Besides the increased safety, this helps to minimize maintenance and downtime costs. In addition, operators are able to evaluate system data according to their requirements and use it to improve the condition of the installation. Due to the various economic and technical advantages, an ungrounded system with high-performance ground-fault monitoring is almost always profitable in rather complex installations.
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Many loads are only switched on in an “emergency” (e.g. fire pumps, slides, all types of heating, etc.). Whilst they are offline, however, moisture or other factors can cause ground faults in the associated supply cable or on the load itself. When these loads are switched on, the protective device will respond or fires will start, thereby preventing operation.
The ground-fault monitoring device, also known as the offline monitor, monitors the insulation resistance during offline periods and signals ground faults immediately. When the load is switched on, insulation measurement based on the K contactor is deactivated. The fault memory is also able to detect transient ground faults. If it can be assured that all poles on the load will be taken offline, this monitoring can also be used in TN and/or TT systems.
Response value of the insulation monitoring device: The ground-fault monitoring device must signal ground faults ≤ 1 MΩ, this is because motors are frequently rendered non-operational at an insulation resistance of ≤ 500 kΩ.
Electrical safety is often difficult to assure on mobile power generators.
However, the ability to respond immediately and appropriately is vital in an emergency situation. It is for this reason that mobile power generators feature the protective measure (Protection by electrical separation with ground-fault monitoring and disconnection) in accordance with IEC 60364-5-51.
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