Regarding the functionality aspect, gas is needed for two reasons: the insulation of conductors and electrical parts from their surrounding compartment and the arc quenching during switching operations. As SF6 is an insulation gas with excellent electrical characteristics, it is possible to distribute and transmit energy with highest electrical safety. If pressure rises inside a compartment, as a result of an internal fault or lightning, the monitor detects this fast-rising pressure and instantly communicated with the control and protection system to reestablish a fault-free operational condition. In the unlikely event of low pressure inside the gas compartment, caused by an internal or external leak, a switching operation could lead to destruction of the equipment. Both switching operations either at lower or higher pressure can cause equipment failure.
Gas monitoring can detect gas leaks in an early state, which – undetected - could lead to gas losses into the atmosphere over several years. As SF6 is not only an excellent insulation gas, it has also the highest known global warming potential, about 22,800 times that of CO2. Hence, gas losses have a high impact on the environment, which makes it necessary for OEMs to apply state-of-the-art sealing technologies, highest standards of material and guarantee most reliable testing methods. All is designed to avoid any gas loss of SF6 into the atmosphere.