DWQA QuestionsCategory: ATS SwitchWhat Is the Difference Between ATS and Switchgear?
Pi Team Staff asked 2 months ago
ATS is an electromagnetic device that safely transfers the power supply from the primary power source (the grid) to the emergency power source (typically a diesel standby generator). ATS is one of two types of transfer switches, the other being the manual transfer switch. On the other hand, a switchgear is a collection of critical equipment that controls, protects, and distributes electrical power. Typically, a switch gear has a transfer switch (automatic or manual) within its components. However, an ATS can’t be labeled as a switchgear, making the latter a broader term. There are three primary comparison points between an ATS and a switchgear. These are:   
  • Components
  • Functionality
  • Application


If you look at a power transfer switch diagram, you’ll notice that it consists of a few switches and sensors in addition to a control circulatory. As complex as that may sound, an ATS is considered less complex compared to a switchgear.  That’s because switchgear consists of many more components like relays, fuses, multiple circuit breakers, as well as current transformers.   


An ATS, sometimes known as an automatic generator transfer switch, works by transferring the connectivity from the main power grid to the backup power. This makes it useful in establishments where continuous power is needed.  Being a much broader term, switchgear may carry the same function as an ATS, but it also contains fuses, busbars, and isolators to protect and distribute electrical power.   


An ATS is useful when there are one or two backup power generators that are on standby. Whenever the primary power is lost, the ATS will divert the connected machines to the emergency backup power However, an ATS won’t be sufficient when there are too many machines and backup power generators connected together. That’s when a switchgear should be utilized instead, and that’s why it’s more often found in power generation stations, industrial facilities, hospitals, and commercial buildings.   

Final Words

In a nutshell, an ATS is a great solution when a few machines are connected to a couple of backup power generators, but switchgear is the better option when too many generators are connected to the power system.  At Precision Industries, we specialize in automatic transfer switches and generator paralleling. If you have an emergency power problem, our comprehensive list of 130+ products will have the solution.  If you have any inquiries, we’ll be more than glad to hear them.