Industrial applications of nearly all types will benefit from the installation and integration of lightning protection systems throughout their facilities. While some may think that lightning protection is limited to the diversion of a lightning strike away from the facility and to a specifically designed attractant like a lightning rod or grounding system, in reality the function of lightning protection extends to other areas such as the protection against lightning surges. Upon casual analysis of the components involved in most modern industrial facilities, one will quickly realize that the damages produced at the strike area itself are actually minimal compared to the costs that can be associated with the power surges that those strikes produce. The degrading or even complete destruction of computerized equipment, data and communications components and general circuitry by lightning surge events provides enormous costs to companies. These costs can be avoided, even if a direct strike to an industrial facility is difficult to avoid. Through the installation of strategically positioned surge protection devices(SPDs) the degradation and destruction of attached electronic components can be minimized or even prevented.
Industries that utilize remote or unobstructed locations and tall physical structures are especially prone to damage from lightning strikes. Simply put, when the only structures in an area are generally the tallest structures as well, lightning is probably going to be an issue. A prime example of this phenomenon is the windfarms associated with the alternative energy industry. Electricity provided by wind is accomplished by positioning huge windmills in areas where the wind itself is unobstructed and will provide a continual source of fuel. These “wind farms” provide thousands of targets for lightning strikes, as windmills are by far the tallest structures in the region. Each of these windmills is connected to a significant amount of computerized equipment which controls its function, and monitors and transfers the electricity that is being produced by turbines. A strike to the blades or tower is common, creating a power surge that is far beyond the levels that can be safely accommodated by the connected sensitive electronic equipment. Without a surge protection system in place, each lightning surge would result in a potential complete loss of functionality of the equipment attached. In addition, less evolved surge protection devices will not provide the necessary uptimes that a windfarm is seeking, due to the fact that a preventive cutoff of connection between the windmill and the equipment would need to be reset in order to once again produce power. Modern SPDs from Raycap that are designed for the purpose of lightning protection will perform their duties and continue to function without having to be replaced, thus allowing the windmill to produce power as long as the wind is available.
Protection from the surges that are produced by lightning strikes reduces operating costs across nearly every industry. While they may not appear as though they have great value when they are not being called upon, the single instance of an unprotected strike can cause far more extensive damage than the costs of installation of the devices. Don’t be sorry after an event, ensure that your investment is properly protected.