ABB releases an eco-friendly switchgear for load break switch applications

ABB releases an eco-friendly switchgear for load break switch applications

Another breakthrough for ABB’s sustainable switchgear portfolio has been released to order: ABB has launched a ring main unit (RMU) with a groundbreaking load break switch (LBS) that uses sustainable alternative gases to SF6 for enhanced performance and reduced environmental impact.

SF6 gas has many benefits compared to air insulated switchgear – it reduces the size of a switchgear significantly, while ensuring high safety standards. But it also has a high global warming potential (GWP), which describes how much heat a gas traps in the atmosphere in a specific time, compared to carbon dioxide.  

ABB has been offering sustainable switchgear since 2013, supporting its customers in their efforts to reduce their impact on the environment. AirPlus is a fluoroketone-based gas mixture, with a 99.9 percent lower GWP compared to SF6. In addition to AirPlus, ABB’s eco-efficient portfolio also includes Dry Air, which is a natural gas and is suitable for lower voltage applications up to 12 kV. 

With the new LBS ABB’s sustainable switchgear portfolio becomes even more attractive. Load break switches are widely utilized in medium-voltage (MV) secondary switchgear, e.g. in RMUs, assigned with the task of switching load currents. In conventional RMUs with SF6, an LBS is typically a simple knife-type switch. When switching to eco-efficient alternatives, where the gases have a lower arc interrupting performance, the knife-type switches do not perform well. To meet this challenge, ABB has developed the new product based on puffer interruption technology that also works with SF6 - alternative gases. 

In the new LBS the serial vacuum interrupter technology is replaced by puffer interrupter technology in the LBS module of SafeRing and SafePlus. The new puffer load break switch also fulfils all requirements for a disconnector switch, in one single operation. It comes with a two-position earthing switch – this simplifies the operating sequence of the module significantly and is similar to the SF6 portfolio.   

The design of the new LBS has an operating sequence and single-line diagrams identical to the present SF6 solution. With that, the switchgear design has become cleaner and is now easier to operate.  The well proven puffer technology has been redesigned and adapted to fit with non-SF6 gases, and underlines ABB’s position as an innovator and technology leader in the eco-efficient segment of power products. 

This next generation of SF6-free load break switches for MV applications is available with Dry Air rated up to 12 kV and AirPlus for 24 kV. 

“The new load break switch paves the way for the next-generation of environment-friendly RMUs.”, said Hari Narayanan, Global Product Group Manager in ABB Electrification’s Distribution Solutions division. “Thanks to its innovative design, we are able to offer SF6-free RMU solutions with the same compact dimensions and superior performance.”  For more information, please visit our eco-GIS,  SafePlus and SafeRing web pages. 


ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 110,000 talented employees in over 100 countries. 

ABB’s Electrification Business Area is a global leader in electrical products and solutions, operating in more than 100 countries, with over 200 manufacturing sites. Our 50,000+ employees are dedicated to delivering safe, smart and sustainable electrification. With ABB Ability™ enabled digital solutions at its core, our portfolio protects, connects and optimizes the flow of electrical energy for smarter electricity distribution for utilities, industry, buildings, infrastructure and mobility. For more information visit


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