Understanding Surge Protection Devices

The concept of surge protection is relatively simple, but the technology that ultimately creates effectiveness within the defined parameters of these devices is continually evolving. “Surge protection devices” serve a single function, to prevent electrical flow beyond a specific measured amount from moving past the device itself and impacting the circuitry, wiring or internal components of equipment that is connected downstream. The electrical flow that is being monitored is generally moving along wiring or cables of some type that connect computerized devices together, or attach them to a source of power. These devices have a threshold of electrical power that cannot be crossed without component damage, resulting in the necessity of these components to be protected from any amount of electrical flow beyond that specific amount. The effectiveness of the device tasked with this prevention is measured in a few ways, mostly being seen in the completeness of cutoff or diversion of the electrical flow, the speed with which it is stopped, and the amount of time that it takes to re-establish the “functional” status of after the instance of an electrical surge. The most effective surge protection devices are going to be the ones that not only cut off the electrical flow instantaneously, but also remain in a protective state even after this happens. Over the years, technological advancements in the makeup of the devices have improved effectiveness dramatically, resulting in the ability to utilize increasingly sophisticated and expensive equipment without the routine damage or degradation of functionality that was expected in the past. Surge protection devices are extending the useful life spans of nearly everything they protect.

The differences between consumer electrical protection and industrial electrical protection are striking, simply because the stakes are so much higher on the industrial level. A consumer may have a very simplistic surge protection device in their household in the form of a “surge strip” which acts as a buffer between the power source and their computer, and combined with the breaker system that protects the home itself this may be enough. In most places the instances of electrical surges to homes on modern power grids are not frequent and powerful enough to justify the expense of sophisticated surge protective devices in the consumer world. However, the industrial installations that provide so many of the services which we have come to rely upon are both far more at risk and have far more to lose when surges happen. The exposed nature of many industrial applications like cell towers and systems, power generation facilities and other types of communication networks puts millions of dollars’ worth of equipment at risk every moment. A single lightning strike to components within these systems can produce electrical surges that can destroy millions of dollars’ worth of equipment, and take critical systems offline when they are needed most. In these cases, the most technologically advanced surge protection devices are necessary, in order to extend equipment life as well as keep systems functional for the longest timeframes possible. Raycap is the global leader in industrial surge protection devices, and is probably protecting systems that you are using every day.