Vacuum Circuit Breaker VS Vacuum Contactor :What’s the Difference?

Vacuum circuit breakers and vacuum contactors are both industrial equipment. In…

Vacuum circuit breakers and vacuum contactors are both industrial equipment. In this article, we will mainly talk about vacuum circuit breaker vs vacuum contactor, introduce the differences between the two products in 3 aspects.

1. Definition Difference Between Vacuum Contactor And Vacuum Circuit Breaker

What is a Vacuum Circuit Breaker?

Side mounted vacuum circuit breaker

A Vacuum Circuit Breaker is a special type of circuit breaker which is used to protect high-voltage systems from damage. It works by opening and closing an electrical contact in order to interrupt the current flowing through the circuit.

This is done by using a vacuum, which helps to ensure that the contacts remain protected against arcing even when dealing with high voltages.

Vacuum Circuit Breakers are typically used for voltages ranging from 3 kV up to 36 kV, making them ideal for applications where there is a need for protection against high-voltage surges.

The vacuum also helps these circuit breakers be highly reliable and able to handle frequent opening and closing operations without wearing out over time. Thanks to their reliability and efficiency, Vacuum Circuit Breakers are often the first choice when selecting a circuit breaker for any high voltage application.

What is a Vacuum Contactor?

Vacuum contactor is a device that can withstand multiple operations (strong mechanical life). It can cut off the load current at the same time, but can not break the short-circuit current. The vacuum contactor has two contacts, normally open and normally closed, and does not have the function of short-circuit current protection. When a given signal is received, it can perform separation and hold actions.

The vacuum contactor has the ability to disconnect the load current, turn on and off the motor multiple times, and also link or break large current regularly. It has great capability and a high rated working voltage. It is recommended to use it with a high voltage vacuum circuit breaker in a high-voltage atmosphere, which makes it much more secure and dependable.

vacuum contactor

2. Application Difference Between Vacuum Circuit Breaker and Vacuum Contactor

What is the Application of Vacuum Circuit Breaker?

Process continuity is critical (e.g., No time for fuse replacement)
Continuous load current is high (e.g. Larger transformers, larger motors)
Ratings required exceed those of vacuum contactors (200 A or 630 A at up to 15 kV)
Loads include transformers, capacitors, larger motors, generators or distribution feeders
Reduced- voltage (RV) starting is not needed (RV starting complicates switch gear bus arrangements
Switching is not very frequent (e.g. Weekly or monthly); high endurance (1,000s of operations) is satisfactory

When applied appropriately, both the medium voltage vacuum breaker and vacuum contactor can provide your facility with reliable power switching and optimal service. In instances where the switching device is applied improperly, you may find maintenance costs are higher, and your facility may experience unnecessary downtime.

What is the Application of Vacuum Contactor?

Typical loads include motors or smaller transformers
Continuous load current is low or moderate (e.g., Smaller motors or transformers)
Switching is very frequent (e.g., Daily or several times per day); very high endurance (100,000s of operations) is needed
Process continuity is compatible with fuse replacement time
Reduced- voltage starting is needed to reduced starting duty (and voltage fluctuation) on system

3. Vacuum Contactor VS Vacuum Circuit Breaker : Difference on Advantage

What is the Advantage of Vacuum Circuit Breaker?

ZN63 vacuum circuit breaker

The Vacuum Circuit Breaker is a device that offers many advantages over other circuit breakers. It has the capability of breaking and making a circuit even at high voltage levels, which makes it ideal for both indoor and outdoor installations.

Additionally, it requires minimal maintenance since there are no moving parts, which means that it can be used for long periods of time without any repairs or replacements.

Furthermore, it has very low arc energy and produces minimal noise when in operation. This makes it safer than other types of circuit breakers and more efficient in terms of energy use.

Furthermore, its compact size makes it easy to install in tight spaces, while its ability to operate at high temperatures ensures reliable performance even under harsh conditions. All in all, the Vacuum Circuit Breaker is an excellent choice for any application due to its numerous advantages.

What is the Advantage of Vacuum Contactor?

Vacuum contact has size advantages, at ~17% the total volume, and ~40% the weight at 7.2kV, vacuum contactors offer a significant size advantage over vacuum breakers.

The vacuum contact is also known for it’s operation life, at ~10X the mechanical life, and ~10x the electrical endurance at continuous current, vacuum contactors excel in frequent switching applications.

Particularly, when using vacuum interrupters, there is a phenomenon known as “current chop” that can send dangerous transients down the line.

vacuum contactor(VC)

The contact materials used in vacuum contactors help to minimize current chop, thereby limiting these dangerous transients, where vacuum breakers do not. Breakers are designed for higher current interruption and as a result have a higher current chop not rated for frequent interruption.

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