Solon Manufacturing Company has announced the release of the Solon Watchman SF6 and Solon Watchman SF6 Auto Fill. Both highly-engineered products are designed to monitor long-term leak rates on electrical circuit breakers that have potential for sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) gas leaks.
“The idea for the Watchman SF6 and Watchman SF6 Auto Fill evolved from our core SF6 density alarm and lockout switches,” said Tim Dunn, former President of Solon and lead engineer on this project. “It started out as a way to connect the alarm/lockout devices to SCADA systems to provide advanced warning of gas leaks, but expanded into products that ensure repaired leaks were fixed correctly with the Watchman SF6, and responds to leaks by automatically filling an SF6 gas compartment with the Watchman SF6 Auto Fill.”
The Solon Watchman SF6 is a portable device that can be moved from breaker to breaker to not only monitor existing leaks, but also used to confirm leaking breakers were repaired correctly. The Watchman SF6 Auto Fill continuously monitors SF6 gas density, replacing the amount of gas lost while the breaker is energized, which eliminates low SF6 gas alarms. Both products offer optional 24/7 remote monitoring capabilities via smart phone, tablet or PC. The unique communication device allows users to track total gas loss to assist with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reporting requirements.
“By automating the process of filling SF6 gas compartments using the Watchman SF6 Auto Fill, several things are achieved,” said Dunn. “The operator of the breaker no longer has to respond to low gas alarms, they simply cease. Gas compartments can be safely filled while the equipment is live. While filling live gas compartments is not uncommon, it is rarely considered the safe option.”
Small leaks within an SF6 gas compartment of a circuit breaker can be difficult to pin point. Historically, the resolution is removing the breaker from service and, at times, moving it to a location where it can be fixed under controlled conditions. “The benefits of live-filling now make sense to operators of all SF6 equipment as a safe, effective way to keep valuable equipment in service without risking alarms and lockouts, or putting maintenance personnel in harms’ way,” said Dunn.
With precision, safety, and cost-effectiveness in mind throughout the design and development of these rugged products, Solon continues its role as a major industry supplier of SF6 gas density alarm and monitoring equipment.