Protection Of Industrial Facilities From Electrical Issues 


Industrial facilities face challenges, one of them with the fluctuation of electricity that is feeding the equipment used in their processes.  No matter what the industry, one of the common challenges that must be overcome is the extension of the lifespan of the equipment used in a process.  Operational costs are determined by several factors, one being how long a piece of critical equipment can be kept functional before it needs to be repaired or replaced.  Sensitive equipment that is used in these processes that involves microprocessors or circuitry is easily damaged by power surges that go outside of the operational range of that equipment.  Most people think that power flows to their home or facility in a constant and measured manner, and for the most part the electrical grid in most major cities does function very well to provide a measured flow.  Issues will occur when unnatural events disrupt this level, such as trees falling on power lines or inclement weather, with the results mostly seen as an immediate large spike in voltage that can destroy equipment completely, or smaller fluctuations in power that will degrade circuitry over time.  The small fluctuations happen routinely when equipment in a facility is powered on or off, creating a situation where voltage spikes before it levels.  This causes degradation to the connected equipment that can ultimately shorten the life span, and the best practice is to keep equipment either running or powered down for as long as possible.  Through the installation of surge protection devices at critical points in the process, this equipment degradation be minimized. 


Another major issue with regard to electrical surges is lightning activity.  Lightning is a common occurrence in areas where industrial facilities are many times placed.  Because these facilities will often boast the tallest structures in the region, lightning is attracted to them as it attempts to make its way toward Earth.  Lightning that strikes equipment directly almost always produces a complete loss, but this loss is increased by the electrical surge that is released when a lightning comes into contact with equipment.  This power surge travels easily along conductive materials or through connection cables.  It can also couple into systems if strikes happen at an adjacent facility or location, creating a situation where diversion of lightning is the best option.  Lightning rods and overhead shielding can divert lightning strikes away from your facility, where it can be grounded more effectively and safely.  If lightning does strike somewhere around the facility or comes into contact with the cables that connect the facility to the grid systems, the subsequent power surge can be mitigated through the installation of additional and redundant high quality industrial surge protection devices previous to the equipment.  By installing surge protection devices at the service entrance, at junction boxes and electrical panels and as close to the equipment as possible, the power surge can be mitigated.  The combination of lightning diversion and surge protection devices within industrial facilities can increase the profitability of the facility by keeping systems online for longer time periods, as well as extending the useful life span of equipment used. 

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