Electrical protection can be found in numerous forms and serves the purpose of diverting the damage that would happen to specific electrical components as a result of a power surge. The integration of a combination of these different forms of protection is the best way to provide the highest level of electrical surge protection available. With regard to industrial sites, the identification of the different types of electrical surges that are most common is necessary in order to create effective protection against them. The damage that occurs as a result of an electrical surge is generally seen as complete losses and destruction of equipment, or equipment malfunction. The fragile circuitry inside of microprocessors that are used to control equipment is especially difficult to protect because of its inability to withstand power fluctuations outside of a small range. When power transients happen in the form of the normal electrical flow levels being disrupted by a sudden spike in voltage, unprotected equipment will be damaged almost instantaneously. This damage is usually irreversible and must be avoided as the best practice.
There is ongoing degradation of the equipment life span that happens when equipment is switched on or off, which can cause electrical transients to occur. Because this is a routine occurrence which causes electrical voltage to spike inside of these devices every time the operational state is changed, the ongoing gradual damage will ultimately result in equipment failure. If the spike is large enough at any one point, the equipment can be permanently damaged as well. Data loss prevention systems are put into place in a redundant manner in order to prevent these types of failures, along with voltage regulators installed previous to sensitive equipment. This keeps the overvoltage from ever coming into contact with the equipment itself and prevents both instantaneous and ongoing degradation and damage. Surge protective devices are installed to break the circuit if the voltage that is being supplied to a device goes outside of a specific range. If this happens, the excess electricity is diverted away from the equipment. Another form of electrical surge is caused by lightning strikes, which are a surprisingly common occurrence at industrial sites. The direct strike to the equipment itself will almost always result in a catastrophic failure, being thwarted by lightning suppressors put into place around the areas where equipment is housed. These devices divert the lightning strike away from equipment and to the ground safely. Strikes that happen to the power lines or the equipment connected to them in an adjacent structure can be problematic as well. Devices that are designed to mitigate the propagation of a surge are installed in between the lines and the equipment in order to provide protection. These types of devices are installed just previous to the equipment in order to allow for as much mitigation over distance as possible, also providing more time for identification of the surge and diversion. These methods and devices when used in combination with lightning rods or lightning surge arrestors provide the highest level of protection possible.