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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

3 Reasons Engineers Should Choose Copper-Bonded Ground Rods

Posted by Rohit Narayan on Jan 16, 2018 8:04:00 AM

Picture yourself driving your car on the highway when all the of the sudden you see brake lights and are forced to slow down because of construction. As you come to a stop, you see workers repaving a damaged road. Now, cars begin to line up in front of you and behind you. Where do you go? Nowhere—you’re stuck.

A ground rod, also known as an electrode, is similar to this highway scenario. It acts as the only electrical path to dissipate static discharge voltage (such as lightning) into the earth. When that path starts to break down, the static discharge has nowhere to go and puts the whole system at risk.

Many times, engineers are given the choice between three types of ground rods: copper-bonded steel, copper clad ground rods or galvanized steel for grounding systems. However, one material reigns supreme when it comes to strength, service life and overall investment. Hint: it’s copper bonded steel. 

Continue reading below to learn why copper is the better choice for grounding systems versus it’s steel alternative.

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Topics: Grounding System

The Pivotal Role Of Railclips in Preserving Rail Conductors [VIDEO]

Posted by Guillaume Rey on Jan 2, 2018 8:01:00 AM

Along the tracks of an electric powered train, electrical conductors provide potential to the system. When rail conductors are damaged or broken, downtime, costly maintenance and new equipment can follow.

To keep conductors in their place and functional, ERICO recommends railclips. These come in a variety of designs to accommodate unique tracks around the world.

Check out the video above for a look at how railclips are installed, or continue reading below to learn why railclips can make or break a system’s effectiveness and efficiency.

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Topics: Railway Protection

A Year in Review: Top Electrical Engineering Posts from 2017

Posted by The ERICO Team on Dec 26, 2017 8:02:00 AM

As 2018 quickly approaches us, what better time to reflect on the past year’s successes than now? This past year, the ERICO team worked to share the most relevant and timely resources on lightning protection, copper theft, grounding systems and general engineering tips.

Below, we detail our top five posts from 2017. Don’t forget to brush up on safety tips and the latest engineering news to make the 2018 another great success.

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Topics: Industry Trends

3 Considerations to Maximize Grounding System Life

Posted by Andrew Ritosa on Dec 12, 2017 8:02:00 AM

While there’s no known solution to completely protect your facility from naturally occurring environmental threats, certain steps can be taken to minimize risk. These precautionary steps to total facility protection include the following concepts:

  • Direct strike protection
  • Grounding and bonding systems
  • Transient surge and over-voltage protection

To maximize both the effectiveness and service life of a grounding system, careful considerations must be followed. Read below to learn three considerations to keep in mind when installing your next grounding system.

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Topics: Grounding System

Fires Caused By Lightning: How to Protect Your Facility

Posted by TJ Gaines on Dec 5, 2017 8:02:00 AM

From 2007 to 2011, it’s estimated that U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 22,600 fires started by lightning per year. While humans cause more fires than lightning, studies show that the devastation of lightning-caused fires is significant. 

The harm of direct lightning strikes is widely known, but recognizing the prominence of fires caused by lightning is equally important to understand, as we can play a role in minimizing them. 

Continue reading to learn how lightning causes fires, and how you can protect your facility from the associated damage.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

How Lightning is Generated and Ways to Protect Your Facility From Risks

Posted by TJ Gaines on Nov 28, 2017 8:09:00 AM

Lightning is one of the most deadly natural phenomena with bolt temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun. As electrical engineers know, lightning can increase personnel injury, equipment downtime, facility fire and other risks. 

While it may be understood that lightning can cause catastrophic damage to facilities, equipment and personnel, there are ways to reduce risks. But before we reduce the dangers associated with lightning strikes, let’s pull back the curtain on the basics of a lightning strike.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

The Best Rail Switch Heater to Fight the Cold

Posted by Guillaume Rey on Nov 14, 2017 8:03:00 AM

Depending on your climate during the winter months, many modes of transportation—planes, trucks, and ships—become less reliable and safe. This means railways can capitalize on more winter business by being the most reliable transportation method in cold-weather climates.

Unfortunately, without the proper systems in place, the cold, ice and snow can present problems of their own on the tracks.

Most aspects of a railway can withstand below-freezing temperatures and run as usual. The switch point, however, is vulnerable under cold, wintery conditions.

Like a chain that is only as strong as its weakest link, a defective switch point— responsible for guiding trains from one track to another—can cause delays across the railway.

Read on for the problems switches must overcome in harsh winter climates, potential solutions and which product performs best.

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Topics: Railway Protection

2 Products that Will Immediately Reduce Copper Theft Risk

Posted by Melissa Botti on Oct 31, 2017 8:01:00 AM

Copper theft is proving to be a global epidemic, costing the U.S. alone $1 billion in losses, according to a 2010 study by the U.S. Department of Energy. Furthermore, copper costs recently hit a one-year high, indicating that theft may be an ongoing issue.

Though, as the use of copper continues to expand, so does the threat of theft. Copper theft is an increasing problem globally due to a high cost return when taken to a scrapyard. Also, copper theft can be a simple task for thieves, as exposed wires and rods are easily accessible in public areas like subways, and can be easily cut.

The consequences of copper theft range from injury to electrocution to compromised electrical equipment. Copper theft is a growing epidemic across the world, and the number or reported incidents have tripled in the U.S. over the last five years. 

Engineers can rest assured that their copper-dependent systems are safeguarded when they turn to products that actively prevent theft. Check out the list below of two products that help safeguard lives and investments from the threat of copper theft.

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Topics: Copper Theft