Protection From Lightning On Industrial Levels

Protection From Lightning On Industrial Levels

The protection of industrial sites from lightning and lightning strikes in general is critical.  A typical industrial site will employ some form of lightning protection, although the equipment that is used for this process will vary depending on the specific needs of the installation itself.  These protection systems all share the same purpose, to reduce the repair and replacement costs associated with equipment damage as well as minimizing down times of the systems themselves.  Even though the expected life span of equipment in the field will have specifics attached to it, most industrial operators will also factor in additional costs for repair and maintenance or potentially early retirement due to equipment being rendered unable to perform the duties that are necessary.  This is because the operation of even the most robust equipment in industrial settings will often perform at less than the life span that is expected.  By maximizing the amount of time that a specific piece of equipment can be maintained as operational, the business will be able to add to the bottom line by shaving dollars off the capital expenditure budget.

One of the most damaging occurrences that can happen in industrial settings is a direct or indirect lightning strike.  This type of incident will usually result in a catastrophic loss of equipment at the strike point, as well as a significant amount of loss downstream to attached components.  Even an indirect strike can result in significant amounts of losses due to the fact that the subsequent surge of electricity can couple into structural elements as well as attached cables, traveling downstream and creating damage at the circuit level on computerized equipment.  There are several methods of protection against this type of damage, and some combination of the protection methods is generally employed.  Overhead shielding attracts the lightning strike to itself instead of the more sensitive areas where it cannot be controlled, thus resulting in a lightning strike to an area that does not have a major impact on the equipment functioning within the region.  The other form of protection methods that we will see most often employed is the utilization of surge protection devices installed at critical junction points within the system.  The expectation of near total loss at the strike point will not be changed by the integration of these types of devices, but the minimization of the downstream surge effect is the point.  By separating the types of damage that can occur and directly dealing with prevention methods designed for that particular type and level of damage, we can leverage the technology that is at our disposal in order to maximize our return on the investment that has been made in operational equipment.  Even though there is added expense that is absorbed by the business when additional equipment is installed into the system for the sole purpose of protection, it is inevitable that this protective system will pay for itself in savings over the course of a certain period of time.  As technology within these systems improves, we see the maintenance and replacement costs associated with the protection systems themselves also improving.  All of this adds to the profitability of businesses.

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