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The Science of a Lightning Strike and How to Safeguard Your Facility with a Lightning Protection System

Posted by Martin Havelka on May 22, 2018 8:02:00 AM

Lightning is a random, yet devastating phenomena. Across the U.S., a lightning strikes on average 25 million times per year and occurs at a rate of 100 flashes per second worldwide. And according to the National Weather Service, the average strike has an average magnitude of nearly 30,000 Amps.

While lightning strikes are unpredictable and no location or facility is immune from the threat of a lightning strike, there are ways to reduce the risk or damage. Reducing the risk of damage from a lightning strike, direct or nearby, with the installation of a lightning protection system is not always a part of new construction projects. However, shouldn’t it be?

With modern urban and provincial development, commercial and residential facilities contain valuable digital electronic equipment used for day-to-day work and entertainment functions, meaning large investments are at risk during thunderstorms. A direct lightning strike delivers damaging energy, which even the most robust electrical devices and systems cannot withstand if protection measures are not correctly taken.

Lightning strikes are unpredictable and random events. There is no technology available that can prevent lightning from striking a structure or guarantee 100% protection. Lightning protection is based on statistical probabilities and the risk tolerance of the property owner.

Continue reading below as we uncover the science of a lightning strike, and how you can reduce the likelihood of damage to your facility from lightning.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

What is Facility Electrical Protection?

Posted by Chris Barcey on May 8, 2018 8:02:00 AM

Electrical systems are all around us— at work, home, grocery stores, manufacturing plants and more. Our everyday lives depend on these electrical systems performing at their best without interruptions. If the power goes out during a thunderstorm, it can be a nuisance at home without Wi-Fi or power to the refrigerator. However, at a facility that relies on mission-critical equipment, like a hospital or manufacturing plant, even short-term power interruptions can carry large financial costs. Despite electrical designers’ best efforts, electrical ground faults, electrical transients and other disturbances can, and often do, occur in building electrical distribution systems.

The good news is there are ways to reduce the likelihood of this costly damage and operational downtime.

Facility Electrical Protection is an nVent ERICO engineered systems approach to protecting property from lightning damage and other electrical transient events by providing the most innovative system that meets best engineering practices. Electrical problems caused by lightning strikes, ground faults or power surges pose serious threats to buildings and sensitive electronics. It serves three primary functions:

  • Building protection
  • Equipment protection
  • Electrical noise reduction

The cost of property damage resulting from lightning and surge events can be very substantial. Costs include equipment repair/replacement in process material, operational downtime and opportunity costs. Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) estimates that the cost of structural damage due to lightning exceeds one billion dollars annually, not including the cost of downtime, repairs and loss of business.

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Topics: Facility Electrical Protection

Introducing nVent ERICO: A Leader in Facility Electrical Protection for a Safer, More Connected World

Posted by The ERICO Team on May 1, 2018 8:02:00 AM


Introduced in 1903, the Electric Railway Improvement Company (ERICO) was created to supply power bonds, signal bonds and related welding equipment to railroads and railway industries.

Over the next 100+ years, we discovered how our product innovation and engineering experience could support customers in all types of markets— telecommunications, renewable energy, utility, rail, commercial, infrastructure and more. Today, we offer reliable, innovative solutions designed to protect a full range of facilities from the devastating impacts of lightning, surges and other electrical transient events.

Today, we affirm our commitment to our customers, partners and distributors with the announcement of nVent ERICO. 

“At nVent, we believe that safer systems ensure a more secure worldWe connect and protect our customers with inventive electrical solutions.”

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Topics: Facility Electrical Protection

3 Products to Consider for Railway Lightning Protection

Posted by Brian Liederbach on Apr 24, 2018 8:06:00 AM

As a result of changing technology, railways are more likely to feel the devastations of a lightning strike than ever. Microprocessor-based equipment has increasingly replaced solid state technology and is highly susceptible to surges. 

Many complications can arise from railway lightning strikes, including: 

  • Safety risks to personnel
  • Damage to critical equipment
  • Data corruption
  • Operational downtime

As the railway industry continues to move toward more advanced products, effective lightning protection mitigation plans are a must to keep trains up and running and reduce lightning-induced transients.

Continue reading to learn three product lines that help minimize the risk of lightning damage to railways.

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Topics: Railway Protection

Why a Proper Grounding System Is the Key to Effective Lightning Protection

Posted by Brian Liederbach on Apr 10, 2018 8:02:00 AM

Lightning currents inherently want to ground—whether the proper systems are in place or not. A lightning strike, which is intercepted by an air terminal, must have its current transferred to the earth safely and seamlessly. 

The grounding system is the integral part of a modern electrical lightning protection system that must be dependable for this process. 

Without an effective grounding system in place, dangerous ground faults, side flashes and electronic noise can occur, causing damage to structures, fires or personal injury.

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Topics: Lightning Protection, Grounding System

Combat Copper Theft: How to Protect Your Investment

Posted by Rohit Narayan on Mar 27, 2018 8:03:00 AM

Copper is viewed as the global standard for electrical conductivity in the utility sector. It’s high current carrying capacity coupled with its resistance to scratches and breakage, and its resilience to corrosion makes it a universal metal for many applications.

As international construction booms and copper demand rises with it, we’re faced with a startling reality: copper theft costs U.S. businesses nearly $1 billion in losses annually.

There’s no sign of slowing in the global construction sector, and that means the threat of copper theft is greater than ever before. Read on to learn the issues surrounding copper theft and how to prevent it from happening to your business.

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Topics: Copper Theft

The Six Point Plan to Achieving Telecom Facility Lightning Protection

Posted by Rohit Narayan on Mar 13, 2018 8:01:00 AM

Lightning is a constant risk. A single direct strike can result in physical damage to buildings and cause catastrophic failure of sensitive electronic equipment. Lightning causes 22,600 fires per year and is the number one natural cause of system failures. As a result, these problems can result in substantial revenue losses.

Telecommunications facilities are particularly at risk of direct lightning strikes—and the electrical surges that ensue—due to their tall stature and complex electrical makeup. 

However, there is a way for engineers to protect telecommunication facilities from the devastating and lasting effects of lightning damage. 

According to Above Ground Level Magazine, engineers can help protect telecom facilities from the dangers associated with lightning strikes using a six point plan of protection. Continue reading below to learn more about these six steps of lightning protection for telecom facilities. 

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Topics: Lightning Protection

How to Gain Faster, More Reliable Railway Connections with ERICO CADWELD PLUS

Posted by Didier Quoy on Feb 27, 2018 8:03:00 AM

Travel delays are frustrating. On the consumer side, delays cause late days to work or missed flights. For engineers, travel delays mean low customer satisfaction, unexpected downtime and emergency repairs. Everyone has experienced a delay one way or another—especially when they travel via train.

In the state of New York alone, an estimated 1.8 billion people took the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last year. And in the single month of January, there were a total of 60,000 weekday subway delays, with 2,644 delays caused by faulty equipment.

What causes these delays? A main cause of railway delays is due to poor or faulty connections. Below we explain some common railway issues, and how you can correct them to avoid system downtime using the fastest, most reliable railway connections.

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Topics: Railway Protection

A Beginner’s Guide to Lightning Risks and Protection Methods

Posted by Brian Liederbach on Feb 13, 2018 8:03:00 AM

Scientists and scholars alike have had a longstanding fascination with lightning. Of course, the most famous student of this natural phenomenon, Benjamin Franklin, was also one of the first to study and document the dangers and effects of lightning. His research dates back to the 1700s.

Technology and knowledge have evolved since Franklin’s time, when the only method of protection was a simple lightning rod. Today, electrical engineers know the need for full facility lightning protection to defend everything from the structure, to personnel, to valuable electronic equipment, from strikes.

Need a refresher? Read below to learn the basics of lightning risks, as well as common lightning protection methods to lessen damages.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

The 4 Critical Qualities of Effective Ground Enhancement Materials (GEM)

Posted by Du Pham on Jan 30, 2018 8:06:00 AM


Ground enhancement materials (GEM) exist to solve the toughest grounding problems. To finalize the dissipation of a lightning current safely into the earth, high conductivity ground must be present. Without such material, certain types of earth or particular seasons may leave your personnel and products in harm’s way.

Read on to learn more about GEM and the four most important qualities needed to make it effective. 

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Topics: Ground Enhancement Materials