When a discussion of “industrial surge protection” happens, the majority of people who are not involved in the decision making process for large production facilities will probably not understand the critical nature of the industry. The term “industrial” is used to describe a wide variety of installations, generally having some characteristics that are common but for the most part simply meaning “beyond the scope of residential.” Industrial facilities must always be protected, whether they range from light industrial to large installations of equipment designed to work in unison in order to produce or manage a product or service. Products or services beign manufactured can range from the production of electricity for residential use to the production of a simple consumer product, but nearly every industrial facility tends to have the same weaknesses and strengths. The isolated nature of the facilities themselves make them less of a nuisance and irritation to communities, as well as allowing them to function in a way more conducive to the production of products. The larger consumption levels of power and materials allows them to produce products at larger capacities, thus driving costs lower and making prices more affordable. The larger scope of equipment and machinery involved allows the capacities necessary for these increased production levels to be met. They are bigger, more isolated, more exposed to the elements and involve more expensive equipment than anything that most people will ever come in contact with. All of these strengths are also weaknesses if not properly protected.
Industrial facilities and installations work on a grander scale and at higher capacities than other types, and as a result they need higher levels of protection. The primary source of losses within industrial facilities is related to equipment loss or damage as a result of weather-related phenomena, like natural disasters such as floods, intense heat or cold, or lightning strikes caused by thunder storms. The isolated and remote nature of some industrial facilities makes them prime targets for both, and due to the increased costs of the equipment used the protection systems are more critical. Losses at the industrial level can be in the hundreds of millions of dollars for a single instance of disaster, and the outages in service that this might produce can further that dollar amount. Simply stated, protection systems are crucial for business to continue and be profitable.
One of the most critical protection systems for industrial facilities is surge protection. This is due to the increased amounts of electrical flow that are necessary for facilities to function, combined with the increased cost of technical equipment used in the process. A lightning strike to either an attached component or a structural element that is near a component can cause a chain reaction that will produce wide-spread electrical surge damage. The damage at the strike point is one thing, and the surge-related damage that follows is another all-together. The power surge that accompanies a lightning strike can move across power and data transfer lines and cables, moving from component to component and damaging circuitry in each one. This means that the damage cannot be isolated to the strike point without the integration of “industrial level surge protection devices.” Industrial surge protection starts with the upgraded devices needed to function on an industrial level.