Protection Of Industrial Sites From Lightning

The protection of industrial sites from lightning is a necessary endeavor.  The equipment used for lightning protection at a typical industrial site is varied and available in different configurations depending upon the need at the site. The equipment to protect industrial sites from lightning and other electrical overvoltages in order to minimize downtime and avoid industrial equipment replacement costs.  Although the expensive and sensitive equipment that drives operations at factories and other industrial installations has an expected lifespan, the business plan will generally figure in an additional cost for replacement of components due to accidents and “less standard” occurrences such as lightning strike or other electrical damage, or theft.  One way to increase revenues retained by the business is to leverage equipment in order to minimize replacement costs and maximize the useful lifespan of equipment necessary for continuing operations.  The installation of lightning protection technology and systems from Raycap is an excellent way to leverage such assets.

Raycap is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of surge suppression equipment, and produces several lines of devices that can be installed within industrial applications in order to minimize lightning damage.  Lightning is a destructive force that can damage equipment and affect production in two ways, either through direct strikes to equipment or through the electrical surge that is produced within power lines and delivered to the equipment.  Damage incurred through an unsafe level of electricity delivered to sensitive equipment is known as an “overvoltage event,” and essentially entails the electricity being delivered to machinery in an unregulated format, causing damage to circuitry and loss of data.

A direct strike of lightning to equipment will generally result in catastrophic loss and fire, as the extremely powerful nature of lightning results in extraordinarily high levels of heat, essentially melting the equipment components themselves and producing fire that may spread to neighboring components.  The most effective method of protection against a direct lightning strike is the installation of overhead deflectors and grounding agents which will be struck instead of the equipment.  This type of shielding attracts the lightning strike and by not being directly connected in any way to the equipment shields the damage to expensive and sensitive electronics.  However, surge protective devices must also be deployed at various areas within and outside the facility in order to protect critical electrical loads.

A strike to the power lines which connect directly to the equipment will produce a transient or a short energy burst that is induced upon power, data, or communication lines. Transients are characterized by extremely high voltages that can drive tremendous amounts of current into an electrical circuit for a few millionths, up to a few thousandths of a second. While most surges, around 80%, originate from internal sources within a facility, lightning is also a cause. Things that generate internal transients range from common office equipment such as vacuum cleaners or copiers, to equipment on the production floor such as variable speed drives, furnace igniters or fluorescent light ballasts.  In fact, any time an inductive load, such as a vacuum cleaner or a heavy duty variable speed drive is powered on or off it will generate low magnitude surge impulses that propagate through the electrical distribution of the facility.  While the threat posed from lightning can be particularly destructive because of its capability of delivering vast amounts of energy, internally generated transients within the facility serve to weaken equipment over time. Contact Raycap directly for more information on its surge protective devices and systems.