The world of industrial surge protection has gone through many changes over the years, essentially evolving as technology, demand and needs increased. It has generally been the technological advances that are discovered and enhanced by private companies that propel the next levels of protection, creating better quality products also led by the need to push margins lower. The industrial surge protection devices that are employed by major companies in their applications are the ones that can save the operations most through superior performance. In industries where loss expectations have a direct correlation to profitability, any way to reduce those expected operating losses contributes to the bottom line. This is the reason for the ever evolving surge protection device industry, and it is why the best technology will always be the one most in demand.
One can look to industries like energy production as an example of how industrial surge protection and its evolution can have had large impacts on society through cost savings. The dominant forces within the energy production sphere are fossil fuel based, and are essentially the same setups that we saw during the two or three generations. The only way to drive down prices is to find cheaper fuel sources here, as there are no improvements that can be found to increase production capacities. When this is compared to the green or new energy sphere, we find wide open opportunities for technology to assist in price reduction, specifically for the purpose of this article, through better surge protection devices. Since the fuel sources used with new energy production methods are free, the ways that production costs are reduced are through improving functionality or decreasing losses. The major contributing costs come in the form of equipment losses in the field as a result of natural disasters such as lightning strikes, and the methods of reducing losses as a result of these strikes are mostly surge protection dependent. If companies can improve the ability to protect against the damage caused by the subsequent surge after a lightning strike, then the profit margins can rise. Extending the life span of equipment ensures that the profit margins rise. Find a better way for equipment to continue to function during inclement weather, and the profit margins rise. There is a commanility, as these solutions are all found in improved surge protection.
The surge protection devices of 2019 are not the devices seen a decade ago. The functionality is essentially the same, creating a gap that flowing electrical current cannot cross and protecting everything beyond that point. But the improvements to surge protection devices are seen in the shaving off of micro-seconds when devices identify the surge and perform their duty. Improvements are also seen in the ability of devices to function after performing their duty without needing replacement. The weaknesses’ of past devices allowed for damage to occur, and through improvements in these areas expected damage from natural events like lightning strikes are further reduced, thus improving OPEX. When even small percentages of savings every year can add up to millions of dollars, it is obvious why the continual push to develop better surge protection devices isn’t going away soon.