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Safeguarding Equipment: The Importance of SF6 Gas Analysis in Electrical Switchgear

SF6 Analysis Electrical Switchgear


In the intricate world of electrical switchgear maintenance, ensuring the safety and reliability of equipment stands as a non-negotiable priority. At the heart of this effort lies SF6 gas, a crucial insulating medium that plays a pivotal role in safeguarding electrical systems and personnel. Delving deeper into the subject, this blog post sheds light on the indispensable nature of SF6 gas analysis and its impact on equipment safety and longevity.

Understanding SF6 Gas Analysis:

SF6 gas serves as the lifeblood of electrical switchgear, facilitating the smooth flow of energy while mitigating the risk of electrical faults. However, the integrity of SF6 gas can degrade over time, potentially jeopardizing equipment performance and safety. SF6 gas analysis emerges as a vital tool, offering invaluable insights into crucial parameters such as gas purity, moisture levels, and decomposition byproducts. By effectively monitoring SF6 gas properties, maintenance teams can stay ahead of potential issues and ensure uninterrupted operation.

Benefits of SF6 Gas Analysis:

The benefits of regular SF6 gas analysis are manifold. By proactively monitoring gas properties, maintenance professionals can detect and address issues before they escalate, thus preventing equipment damage and minimizing downtime. Furthermore, accurate SF6 gas analysis data serves as compelling evidence of equipment integrity and safety compliance, bolstering confidence in regulatory inspections and audits.

Cambridge Sensotec Solutions:

Cambridge Sensotec stands at the forefront of SF6 gas analysis solutions, offering advanced analysers tailored to the unique requirements of electrical switchgear maintenance. Our cutting-edge technology empowers maintenance professionals with precise measurements and actionable insights, enabling them to make informed decisions and optimise equipment performance. With Cambridge Sensotec’s comprehensive SF6 gas analysis solutions, the journey towards enhanced equipment safety and regulatory compliance becomes both achievable and efficient.


In conclusion, SF6 gas analysis is not merely a maintenance task but a cornerstone of equipment safety and reliability in electrical switchgear installations. By leveraging the power of data and technology, maintenance teams can proactively monitor SF6 gas properties, detect anomalies, and take timely corrective actions. With Cambridge Sensotec’s expertise and innovation, safeguarding electrical switchgear with SF6 gas analysis becomes a streamlined and effective process.

For more information on our Rapidox SF6 gas analysis solutions, contact Cambridge Sensotec today and embark on the path to enhanced equipment safety and reliability.

Further Reading:

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Decomposition of SF6 in High Voltage Electrical Switchgear


In the world of electrical engineering, high voltage electrical switchgear is essential in managing and controlling electrical power systems. A key component of these systems is sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), a gas celebrated for its exceptional insulating and arc-quenching properties. However, in high voltage environments, the decomposition of SF6 presents significant challenges and implications, affecting both the efficiency and the safety of power systems. This comprehensive exploration delves into the nuances of SF6 decomposition, examining its impact and exploring contemporary solutions to mitigate its effects.

What is SF6 and its Role in High Voltage Electrical Switchgear?

Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is a colourless, odorless, non-toxic, and non-flammable gas, extensively utilised in high voltage electrical switchgear. Its remarkable insulating properties allow for significant reduction in the physical footprint of switchgear. SF6’s ability to efficiently control high voltage circuits makes it indispensable in preventing electrical faults and minimising equipment damage, ensuring uninterrupted power supply and system reliability. Its role is not only pivotal in ensuring operational efficiency but also in enhancing the safety standards of electrical power systems.

The Science Behind SF6 Decomposition

The decomposition of SF6 within switchgear primarily occurs due to electrical discharges. These discharges can be spurred by high voltage stress, the presence of impurities, and fluctuating operational conditions. When partial discharges occur, they instigate the breakdown of SF6 molecules, leading to the formation of various sulfur and fluorine compounds. These decomposition products can be detrimental to both the switchgear equipment and the environment, making their management a critical aspect of electrical system maintenance.

Implications of SF6 Decomposition in High Voltage Electrical Switchgear

The decomposition of SF6 results in by-products that can cause corrosion of switchgear components, thereby impairing their functionality and longevity. Moreover, these by-products, due to their chemical nature, can be harmful to the environment, contributing significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. The understanding and effective management of SF6 decomposition are therefore imperative for maintaining the integrity of electrical equipment and for the protection of the environment.

Modern Solutions and Innovations

Technological advancements have led to the development of sophisticated monitoring systems capable of detecting SF6 decomposition in high voltage switchgear. Pioneers like Cambridge Sensotec have introduced state-of-the-art solutions to monitor the purity and decomposition levels of SF6. These systems play a crucial role in ensuring the longevity and safety of electrical equipment. Innovative SF6 monitoring solutions are key to proactive maintenance and are instrumental in preventing system failures.

Sustainable Practices and SF6 Alternatives

With growing environmental concerns, the electrical industry is actively seeking alternatives to SF6 and adopting sustainable practices. Development efforts are focusing on gases with lower global warming potential and the design of eco-friendly switchgear. SF6 are leading the way in providing information and services related to SF6 and its sustainable alternatives, helping the industry transition towards more environmentally responsible solutions.


The decomposition of SF6 in high voltage electrical switchgear is a complex issue that requires careful consideration and management. Through advanced monitoring systems, sustainable practices, and continuous research, the industry is evolving to address the challenges posed by SF6 decomposition. It’s vital for professionals in the field to stay informed and adopt solutions that safeguard equipment and the environment.

For expert solutions and more information on managing SF6 in high voltage electrical switchgear, visit Cambridge Sensotec and SF6. Stay ahead in the field with cutting-edge technology and sustainable practices.

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SF6 Gas Analysis: A Crucial Tool for Ensuring Safety in Electrical Switchgear Operations

The integrity and safety of electrical switchgear are paramount in any power distribution system. Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) is widely used as an insulating and quenching medium in switchgear because of its outstanding electrical properties and chemical stability. However, monitoring SF6 gas is critical, as it is a potent greenhouse gas. Cambridge Sensotec stands at the forefront of SF6 gas analysis, ensuring the safe and efficient operation of electrical switchgear across various industries.

Why SF6 Gas Analysis is Essential for Electrical Switchgear

Electrical switchgear is integral to power systems, controlling and protecting electrical equipment. SF6, due to its high dielectric strength, allows for compact and safe designs. But any leak or handling issue could significantly impact performance and safety. Regular SF6 gas analysis is critical to:

  • Detecting Gas Purity: Ensuring the purity of SF6 gas is essential, as contaminants can significantly affect its insulating properties.
  • Leak Detection: Early detection of leaks prevents operational disruptions and environmental damage.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Monitoring and reporting SF6 usage is required to comply with global greenhouse gas regulations.

Cambridge Sensotec: Leading the Way in SF6 Gas Analysis

Cambridge Sensotec has been a trusted name in SF6 gas analysis for years. Our advanced solutions cater to all aspects of switchgear maintenance and are designed with the latest technologies to provide precise and reliable results.

Featured Product: The Rapidox SF6 6100

Our flagship analyzer, the Rapidox SF6 6100, is a portable device that can measure SF6 purity, pressure, and humidity, among other parameters. With these measurements, electrical switchgear operators can:

  • Assess the condition of their SF6 gas
  • Take prompt corrective action to fix any issues
  • Optimise the lifespan and reliability of their switchgear

Custom Solutions for Varied Applications

At Cambridge Sensotec, we understand that different switchgear applications may require tailored approaches. Our team of experts works closely with clients to develop custom solutions that meet specific operational needs. Whether for utility-based power systems or industrial applications, our SF6 analysis tools provide actionable insights.

Commitment to Environmental Stewardship

By providing accurate SF6 gas analysis, we not only ensure the safety and efficiency of electrical switchgear but also help our clients minimise their environmental impact. Accurate SF6 monitoring with our solutions contributes to better SF6 management and conservation efforts.

Contact Us for More Information

Have questions or need more information about SF6 gas analysis and electrical switchgear safety? Contact Cambridge Sensotec‘s expert team for personalised advice and information on our range of products.

In Conclusion

The safe operation of electrical switchgear is non-negotiable. SF6 gas analysis plays a crucial role in maintaining system integrity and performance. With Cambridge Sensotec’s state-of-the-art solutions, operators can ensure that their switchgear operations are not only safe but also compliant and environmentally responsible.

Opt for Cambridge Sensotec’s expertise in SF6 gas analysis – your partner in safeguarding electrical switchgear operations.

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Transitioning to a sustainable future: The European Union says goodbye to F-Gases in switchgear

F-gases pack a punch in global warming, despite their zero harm to the ozone layer. These man-made gases, used across industries, including in electrical switchgears, have a warming potential staggering 25,200 times more than carbon dioxide over a century. What’s more, they’re behind 2.5% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Urgent Call for F-Gas Phase-Out in Europe’s Electricity Grids

Europe’s electricity grids are facing a critical makeover. As the continent moves towards decentralised renewable energy, the need to eliminate harmful F-gases from switchgears has never been more pressing. The majority of European manufacturers have heeded this call, supporting an expedited phase-out of F-gases. They got the message loud and clear from the 2014 F-Gas revision: it’s time to change our ways and embrace SF6-free technology. And change they did, with many already rolling out cleaner, greener alternatives.

Europe’s Race to Net-Zero: Manufacturers Lead with F-Gas-Free Alternatives

But it’s not just about the manufacturers. Grid operators are on a quest for substantial funding, all to expand the grid and pave the way for more renewable energy. This means a surge in new switchgear units, a demand driven by the rise of decentralized energy generation and storage. The catch? Without a switch to F-gas-free technologies, we’re looking at a steep rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Solution? Available and Accessible Green Technologies

The good news: the electrical sector already boasts cost-effective, efficient, and reliable F-gas-free alternatives. They fit the bill in terms of space and size just as their polluting counterparts do, clearing the path for wide-scale adoption. Forward-thinking equipment manufacturers are even halting production of F-gas-based equipment.

Ready to analyse gas emissions for your eco-friendly transition? Explore Cambridge Sensotec’s Rapidox gas analysers.

The Role of F-Gas Regulation in Market Transformation

Now, eyes are on the F-gas Regulation trilogues. They have the power to steer the market towards these cleaner technologies, starting as early as 2026 for medium voltage gear up to 24kV. And as green alternatives for higher voltages hit the shelves, the phase-out can reach even further.

Overcoming Supply Challenges in the Transition

The transition isn’t without its hurdles. The electricity industry, including major players like Eurelectric, is wary of supply hiccups as we say goodbye to F-gases. But the European Parliament is optimistic, seeing the readiness among manufacturers to supply clean medium voltage gear and tackle high-voltage challenges head-on.

Collaboration: The Key to a Sustainable Energy Future

This shift demands a united front. System operators, policymakers, and manufacturers need to pool their efforts, showing unwavering commitment to eco-friendly practices. This means robust regulations from policymakers, and a pledge by manufacturers and system operators to secure the supply chain.

Stronger Together: Industry Associations Advocate for Unity

Unity is in the air, with trade bodies like Eurelectric, E.DSO, and Geode pushing for joint efforts — think forums, research drives, and partnerships. Eaton, a leading equipment manufacturer, is all in. They see the ambitious F-Gas Regulation as more than a rulebook — it’s a launchpad for industry-wide dialogue and transparency.

The EU’s Moment of Truth: Leading the Charge in Clean Technology

The ball is in the EU’s court. It’s time for decisive action — a complete ban on F-gases in new electrical switchgear. The rules must be airtight, leaving no room for loopholes that let SF6 usage slip through. By taking up this mantle, the EU isn’t just cleaning up its act; it’s setting the global standard in clean technology.

For cutting-edge gas analysis solutions, explore Cambridge Sensotec — Leaders in Gas Analysis.

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Cambridge Sensotec achieved recertification of ISO 9001:2015 accreditation again!

We are pleased to announce that on the 22nd of February 2023, Cambridge Sensotec has achieved recertification of ISO 9001:2015 accreditation under the BSI (British Standards Institution). The certification shows that our quality policy, quality management and operating systems, merit the requirements of this UKAS accredited international standard. Cambridge Sensotec is delighted to be recognised for displaying such high levels of standards, which enable us to work with both suppliers and customers to collectively raise our standards of excellence right throughout the manufacturing process.

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Rapidox 6100 MK2 demonstration in India and further

The range of Rapidox 6100 SF6 gas analysers have representation and distribution across 62 countries and in recent weeks, thanks to the efforts of Simon Langston (SF6 Global Sales Manager) and our Indian agents, has further strengthened its grip on the Indian market with nationwide product approval being achieved at the highest level of Indian Power Generation.

Our team of technicians and engineers have proved the MK2 6100 to be a reliable and consistent provider of SF6 gas analysis and associated by-products to be found within high voltage gas compartments. This high-level product approval has had an immediate impact and we are already scheduling further demonstrations and tests across the majority of the state grid utilities. Expectations for the Rapidox brand to further increase its market share in the country couldn’t be higher.

As one Senior Engineer stated while reviewing the performance of the Rapidox 6100, “This analyser provides us with impressive accuracy and has many unique and beneficial features which we have not encountered before from our existing equipment.” These features coupled with the exceptional after-sales services offered locally, make for compelling arguments in favour of the Cambridge Sensotec products.

Additionally, plans are already in place to launch a range of new products in the neighbouring countries to India and an imminent release of a completely innovative product development to serve India and further afield is currently in production.


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SF6 Gas Use in Electrical Applications

Rapidox SF6 Gas Analyser

What is it, where, how & why it is used – The science bit…

Commonly used in electrical switchgear, transformers and substations as an electrical insulation, arc quenching and cooling medium, Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is a man-made gas comprising of one sulphur and six fluoride atoms.  It is chemically stable, non-flammable and highly electronegative, with an excellent dielectric property of approximately 2.5 times more than air.

Electrical arcs can be caused within electrical power systems such as switchgear and the high electronegativity and heat transferring properties of SF6 means that it is able to absorb the electron energy and lower the arc temperature. Combining SF6 gas and free electrons effectively prevents electron avalanches and flashovers.

SF6 partially decomposes whilst under the influence of electrical discharges, and oxygen, moisture, and decomposition products such as sulphur dioxide may be created. Unlike other insulating mediums, SF6 gas has the unique ability to ‘self-heal’ after the discharge. This is one of the reasons for its widespread use within the electrical industry.

Keep it safe, keep it green – The Safety bit…

Regular analysis of SF6 gas is essential.  Regular periodic servicing must be carried out throughout the lifetime of the equipment. This ensures the protection of personnel and machinery.

An international agreement between nations called the Kyoto Protocol came into force in 2005. It commits its parties by mandating country-by-country reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Due to its chemical stability, SF6 gas has the potential to remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. So, the agreement has identified it as a greenhouse gas with a limitation as to the amount that can be released into the atmosphere.

Our SF6 gas analyser – The manufacturing bit…

Cambridge Sensotec has developed a new Mark II Rapidox SF6 6100 gas analyser featuring a pump back gas return function.

It extracts the SF6 gas from equipment such as Gas Insulated Swichgear (GIS) and simultaneously analyses all measured gases. It then pumps it back at the same pressure as used within the electrical equipment by using a powerful 35 bar compressor. A vacuum purge cycle and gas storage system ensures no air is allowed to contaminate the gas sample and no SF6 gas is permitted to escape during the testing period.

Rapidox uses high-precision infrared (IR) sensor technology for the analysis of SF6 gas. Decomposition products sulphur dioxide (SO2) and moisture (H2O) can also be measured by the Rapidox. Additional sensors for gases such as carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and hydrogen fluoride (HF) are also available.

The Rapidox SF6 6100 pump back gas analyser has been developed as a truly portable field instrument with features such as:

  • An inbuilt microprocessor operated by a 7” colour touchscreen
  • The ability to store 12 months continuous data
  • An in-built printer
  • Pre-loaded IEC and CIGRE test parameters
  • The ability to customise test parameters
  • An 8-hour lithium ion battery
  • Robust IP66 Peli case
  • Multi language capability
  • Between 2-8 minute testing options
  • Up to 8 gas bespoke build capability
  • Teamviewer connection for instant service
  • 35 bar gas inlet

For further information regarding this or any of our gas analysis products, please contact us on +44 (0)1480 462142, or email us at


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Software Updates

If you aren’t familiar by now, the Rapidox SF6 range of analysers are exceptionally accurate and highly versatile. Each version available – whether it be the Portable, the Pump BackBench or the Fixed Detection System – possess the technology to assure the user of reliable results when measuring Sulfur Hexafluoride.

We make updates regularly to the analysers to stay on top in our field. The following software tweaks and improvements are from the latest round of updates, which we hope will improve user experience and continue the long tradition of quality that Cambridge Sensotec provide.

•  Advanced Sampling Operation – Reducing test and sampling times remains a priority for Cambridge Sensotec, and thankfully for its loyal customers, we have strived to make this happen. Test times have been reduced, allowing the user to vary between 2 and 8 minutes under the stipulation that tests under 6 minutes will disable the dewpoint sensor test. In other words, variable sample times are now available offering more flexibility than ever.

• Sensor Lifetimes & Calibrations – Thanks to the integrated smart sensor technology, the analyser can now determine when it is due a calibration or sensor replacement. Essentially, it’s letting the user know it’s ready for a ‘servicing’, just like you would have on a car. Advisory messages will be displayed on screen within one month of the anniversary, helping the user get the best analyser it can be, always.

• Power Saving Mode – Cambridge Sensotec are continually making strides in being more environmentally friendly. The latest round of updates has included an enhanced automatic shutdown feature, which effectively shuts down the analyser when in an idle state. Not only does this intelligent power management reduce power output, it also saves any work in progress on the analyser before shutting down.

More updates and slight improvements have been made, with most of these benefiting our distributing partners. The above is just a sample of what the ever growing and successful Rapidox SF6 range is capable of.

If you are interested in learning more about SF6, the range of products, or would like to discuss your requirements with a member of our sales team please contact us.

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Cambridge Sensotec obtains new ISO 9001:2015 accreditation

On the 30th May 2019, Cambridge Sensotec proudly achieved ISO 9001:2015 accreditation under the BSI (British Standards Institution). Cambridge Sensotec Ltd now joins 1.3 million companies across 112 countries worldwide that hold this prestigious certificate.

The certification shows that our quality policy, quality management and operating systems, merit the requirements of this UKAS accredited international standard. Cambridge Sensotec is delighted to be recognised for displaying such high levels of standards.

Increasingly in this global market place, organisations need to be able to demonstrate sound management that is orientated towards the customer. ISO’s 9001:2015 and its risk-based approach, provides a solid framework for meeting customer challenges and provide the foundation to long term sustainability and profitability within the organisation.

Quality Management System (QMS) enables an organisation to have confidence in the products and services it provides to its customers. QMS acts as a platform to ensure consistency, efficiency and traceability as well as promoting best practice, improving customer service and satisfaction in key areas like delivery times, quality and service.

View or download our certificate.

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Q&A with SF6 Sales Executive, Simon Langston

You may have already met Simon Langston, the Sales Executive from Cambridge Sensotec. Below are some of his thoughts on the present and future of the SF6 industry.

What’s the best thing about working at Cambridge Sensotec?
Cambridge Sensotec is a great place to work, staffed with an intelligent and friendly team of individuals who have a loyal and dedicated attitude. They each play their part in producing and developing reliable products whilst ensuring customer satisfaction and retention as one of their top priorities. I have been given the opportunity to enhance this and apply my own skills to attract new customers. I take great pride in representing such an ethical and respectable company.

During your time at Cambridge Sensotec, how much has the SF6 industry changed?
Within the Power Industry, the SF6 market has changed by the growing emphasis being given to the search for a reliable SF6 alternative gas. However, general improvements in the performance and reliability of test results for SF6 purity have led to increased confidence within the trade. Having listened to customer feedback, the team here at Cambridge Sensotec have made modifications to our products and now Cambridge Sensotec has a product range which competes on the market. This is promoted via our wide network of distributors to become the recognised brand.

What’s the biggest challenge for a product like Rapidox SF6 in the current market?
To keep abreast of industry standards and to meet the expectations of the end user by providing consistently reliable gas analysis.

What makes Rapidox SF6 stand out from the competitors?
Our attention to detail and willingness to listen and respond to customer needs, as well as our before and after-sales customer service. Going that extra mile is second nature to us!

What’s been the most surprising aspect you have encountered during your time in the role?
Learning how complex it can be to achieve accurate gas analysis. There are multiple factors which can affect results; even a 0.1% variation in certain results can be the difference between a successful or a failed result.

Are there any new products or innovations on the market that have caught your eye?
One of our competitors have a machine that is presented as having been built for the ‘Novec’ gas. It’s caught my attention simply because it shows intent towards where the future of GIS may be heading.

What does the future hold for you and SF6?
Management of an ever-increasing market share and unit sales. The Rapidox SF6 machines will continue to be fine-tuned and will evolve as new technology, innovations and customer needs dictate.

Which tradeshows have been productive, and which tradeshows will you be attending in the future?
All trade shows that I have attended have proven to be productive in their own way. My 2019 Exhibition Plan is:

May – ICCI in Istanbul
July – IEEE in Mexico City
September – PowerGen in Kuala Lumpur
November – EP China in Shanghai & Electricx in Cairo
December – Fise in Medellin

If you would like to meet with Simon at any of the tradeshows, or have any questions, then please email