Industrial Lightning Protection Systems
While most people are familiar with the fact that there is a certain amount of specialized equipment that would go into any industrial operation in order to maintain its functionality, they also understand that there is a significant amount of equipment that is installed within the spaces to simply maintain the operational aspects of the system itself. What this means is that the day to day operations of any industrial installation will exist and continue only in a perfect world. Savvy industrial operators must also plan for unexpected events that can potentially impact their operations negatively. Failure to plan for these types of instances can result not only in losses associated with equipment damage but also the losses that are associated with extended down times as equipment and operations go offline. Operational costs do not end with the purchase of equipment and the costs associated with its daily operation. Instead, they also extend to the additional elements of unforeseen circumstances that might be able to be minimized if planned for, but also must be expected to happen. In the case of industrial installations, we will find unexpected damage costs building up due to things like fire, theft, and natural occurrences associated with weather. One common weather related damage can be seen with lightning strikes and their associated power surges.
The most common methods of protecting against lightning within industrial systems is overhead shielding and surge protection devices being integrated into critical positions. The overhead shielding aspects of these types of systems is usually some form of a diversionary attractive device (lightning rod) that is installed at a higher position than the equipment itself. The device draws the lightning strike away from the installation and to a place where it can be controlled more effectively, ultimately preventing the damage that occurs at a direct strike point. The level of damage that will usually be seen at a direct strike point is large scale, most often resulting in the complete destruction of any equipment at that area. The only way to avoid this type of damage is to prevent the strike from happening at that point itself, and overhead shielding is about the only technology that can accomplish that goal. The downstream effects of the associated power surge are usually dealt with through the integration of surge protection devices. While little can be done to prevent the damage if lightning strikes the equipment directly, by preventing the flow of excess electricity along power lines as well as through structures that are connected to equipment, the damage that occurs on the circuit level of these components as a result of the surge can be prevented. Through the minimization of this type of damage, more profitability can be found with regards to the lifespan expectations of the equipment. Keeping the systems online for longer periods of time as well as keeping the equipment functional past the projected lifespan expectations just adds to profitability.