Industrial Lightning Protection

Industrial Lightning Protection

A lightning strike is one of the most costly and damaging incidents that can happen to factory equipment, damaging high-tech electronic equipment like computers, microprocessors and programmable logic controls (PLCs) used to automate manufacturing systems at industrial sites. Although rare, lightning strikes cause large electrical surges that have the potential to cause catastrophic failures and process interruptions, bringing the necessity of industrial lightning protection into the planning of any industrial site. Industrial grade surge protective devices like Raycap’s Strikesorb and Rayvoss products are the only real solutions for serious protection of equipment from these overvoltage situations. If equipment goes unprotected, even a single unfortunate incident can cost millions in damage.

Lightning is a familiar occurrence, and any one of three distinct types of equipment damage will generally occur in the cases when an external surge event happens. The first and generally most destructive event is known as the “direct strike” and is defined as lightning hitting the equipment or lines directly. Mitigation of the damage as a result of a direct lightning strike on distribution lines or any metallic structures is generally accomplished using shield air conductors above the structures or grounded air terminals. Although the risks of down-line equipment are not mitigated by this type of solution, the propagation effects throughout the facility are minimized.

Another type of damaging lightning event is the “local strike” when lightning hits the power lines previous to their entry into a building. This type of event can damage sensitive equipment within a facility several miles from the strike itself, depending on the protection fail safes and grounding equipment that has been installed. In the cases of local strikes, the industrial surge protection equipment and products are placed at the service entrance and located within the closest proximity to the equipment possible. This provides the ability to have the maximum level of protection available to the equipment, absorbing the overvoltage with maximum efficiency previous to the current hitting the equipment itself.

The third type of lightning event is the “coupled strike” whereby the lightning voltage damages equipment by coupling into supply lines. If there is a direct lightning strike to a structure, the overvoltage moves down the structure and is coupled into lines parallel with it. The protection mechanism in this case is to install overvoltage diminishers at the points where lines join other lines. These installation are generally at service panels and on distribution points, where surge protection is installed on busbars. In other cases the additional protection of having surge protection installed at the equipment end is desired.

Raycap’s industrial grade lightning protection products are among the world’s finest solutions for protection against all three types of lightning events, and are specifically designed to provide the maximum levels of protection against both lightning and other electrical surge situations. Through years of engineering and innovation, Raycap has become the industry leader within the surge protection space, and is counted on by tens of thousands of industrial customers who understand that protection against unknown occurrences is the only viable way to avoid disasters, equipment damage and data loss.