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Protection From Lightning On Industrial Sites

Protection From Lightning On Industrial Sites

The protection of industrial sites from lightning strikes and the surge damage that occurs as a result is important in order for companies to reduce the amount of losses absorbed over time.  There are two types of degradation losses as a result of surge instances that occur and effect sensitive equipment and data, causing gradual degradation due to surges at shutoff and startup, and instant damage and loss as a result of large power surges, generally as a result of lightning strikes.  The ongoing damage to equipment as a result of the switching surges is mitigated through the use of specific protection equipment, and the protection from lightning is achieved by using several methods and types of equipment designed specifically for the purpose.  Lightning losses are as a result of damage to computer components and programmable logic controls or microprocessors from the physical or the data loss standpoint.  Raycap is a leading manufacturer of systems designed to mitigate lightning losses of both kinds.

When considering industrial level protection from lightning, one must combine protection systems that are designed to mitigate each type of strike.  The most damaging form of lightning strike is the “direct strike” where lightning actually hits the lines or equipment itself.  A direct strike will generally provide the greatest amount of damage as it will completely destroy equipment, and protection from this type of occurrence is generally done in the form of grounded air terminals or air shield conductors installed above the structure itself.  The premise is to attract the potential strike to an area that is not directly attached to the lines or equipment itself, thus diverting the direct strike away from the area of greatest cost.  These types of protections do not mitigate “down line” surge impact.

A “local strike” incident is one that demonstrates lightning striking the power lines which are connected directly to the equipment.  Even strikes located far away can cause massive power surges that ultimately can cause huge amounts of damage if left unmitigated.  The protection for this type of strike is the installation of “proximity based protection” in which the surge protective devices are installed as close to the equipment as possible.  This allows for a natural mitigation effect to happen as the electricity travels downline, allowing the protective devices to absorb a reduced level when the point of the installation is reached.

A “coupled strike” occurs when electricity is coupled into power lines through the area of a direct strike.  The electricity will flow in parallel lines within the structure that has been struck, necessitating a protection strategy involving the installation of products that will diminish this surge at the join points of lines. These areas are generally service panels and distribution points on busbars.  It is best practice to utilize this strategy in combination with other mechanisms so as to provide maximum efficiency.

The protection of the equipment on industrial sites from lightning-produced surge damage is crucial to seamless operations and to avoid losses and delays.  Even though the instance of a lightning strike is rare, the effects of these types of occurrences are very destructive and can produce large losses that can be minimized and avoided.  Contact us today for information.