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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

What You Need to Know About Lightning Protection Systems

Posted by TJ Gaines on Sep 19, 2017 8:02:00 AM

Globally, there are approximately 40 to 50 flashes of lightning every second, or nearly one and a half billion annually. Not only is the amount of strikes alarming, but each strike can have between 100 million and 1 billion volts and consumes billions of watts.

Such voltage and frequency cause irreparable personal injury and property damage, as well as unexpected equipment downtime, costly replacements and breaks in the production schedule. Lightning strikes may never be part of the schedule, but creating a defense for your facility with a lightning protection system should be.

In this post, we provide a brief overview of who needs a lightning protection system and the steps required to reduce the risk posed by lightning.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

10 Questions to Consider to Assess Your Need for Lightning Protection

Posted by TJ Gaines on Aug 22, 2017 8:27:30 AM

Around the world, there are approximately 100 lightning strikes each second. Exactly where each will strike is indeterminable, and their occurrence is unpreventable. 

What is in our control, however, is the implementation of lightning protection systems where necessary. Effective systems capture lightning strikes and provide a dependable path for the energy to earth, dissipating it to prevent harm to structures or individuals.

Assess the known risks of lightning in your situation to help you recognize what level of lightning protection is needed to plan for an unexpected strike.

Although no strict rules can be given, it is possible to use broad guidelines to arrive at the degree of protection required. Below are 10 fundamental questions to help you assess your need for lightning protection.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

5 Products for Optimal Wind Turbine Lightning Protection

Posted by TJ Gaines on Aug 8, 2017 8:03:00 AM

Wind turbines provide us with renewable energy that relies on nature, rather than fossil fuels, to reap the benefits. Yet, due to the height of the structures and location, wind turbines can attract lightning that result in fires, downtime and damaged electronics. 

In order to fully gain the rewards of renewable energy produced by wind turbines, engineers must consider a lightning protection system to ward off hazards. Note that due to the height of a wind turbine, proper design and integrity of a grounding grid is imperative. 

A wind turbine grounding system must meet the following three factors to be considered effective:

  • Minimize the equipotential differences
  • Provide sufficient ground reference potential to assure proper functionality and to protect electrical equipment
  • Effectively dissipate lightning energy

Continue reading below to learn about five types of products that help facilitate optimal lightning protection for your wind turbines.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

How Climate Change is Increasing Lightning & Ways to Protect Your Facility

Posted by TJ Gaines on Jul 11, 2017 8:01:00 AM

For years, climate change has been a hot topic for everyone from scientists to economists. As more data is collected on a warming climate, we begin to see dangerous changes in our earth like:

  • Rising sea levels
  • Increasing global temperatures
  • Warming oceans
  • Deteriorating ice sheets

One implication caused by climate change that is just beginning to grab attention is increased lightning strikes. Scientific-backed studies released in recent years, including one published in Scientific American, found that lightning strikes are predicted to increase by at least 12% for every one degree Celsius in temperature rise.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

The Basics of Isolated Down Conductors for Lightning Protection

Posted by TJ Gaines on Jun 13, 2017 8:08:00 AM

When it comes to the basics of lightning protection, two main systems are generally implemented: Isolated or non-isolated systems. 

Non-isolated systems are commonly used to protect metallic items on a structure from potential lightning hazards. A non-isolated system is made up of a network of air terminals, down conductors and grounding electrodes that are installed on the structure and in the earth.

In comparison, isolated systems use a similar network as listed above, but the system utilizes fewer components, which are designed to carry strikes on a specific path to the grounding system. 

When electrical engineers decide between an isolated or non-isolated lightning protection system, several factors must be taken into consideration. Read on to learn about the design and when to implement an isolated lightning protection system.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

Why Air Terminal Placement is Critical to Lightning Protection

Posted by TJ Gaines on Jun 5, 2017 8:03:00 AM

Many factors impact the effectiveness of a lightning protection system—from ground rods to conductors to air terminal placement. Above all, air terminal placement may dictate whether a lightning protection system is effective and efficient or not.

In fact, air terminal placement is now accepted as an important factor when designing and constructing an efficient lightning protection system.

Air terminal placement is essential to protecting both structures and their occupants from deadly or destructive lightning strikes. A new field-validated study of the Collection Volume Method (CVM) reveals new data-backed findings on optimal air terminal placement. 

Continue reading to learn more about CVM-based protection systems, and their proven interception efficiency level.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

4 Components to Protect Residential Homes from Lightning Damage

Posted by Philip Jones on May 16, 2017 2:35:03 PM

It’s no secret that the safest place to stay during a lightning storm is indoors. In fact, a home or other substantial structure like an office building serves as the best protection from a lightning strike.

However, no residential home is immune to the threat of lightning strike damage. As more technology is added to residential houses (think TVs, computers, alarm systems or appliances), the risk strikes and electrical surges pose to homeowners is rising.

While methods like surge protectors may reduce the likelihood of damage to the interior of the home, a lightning protection system safeguards the entire structure—inside and out.

To ensure a residential home is adequately protected from the damaging effects of lightning strikes, residential contracts should consider the four components of a lightning protection system.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

3 Scenarios that Require an Advanced Lightning Protection System

Posted by Steve Szczecinski on May 2, 2017 3:57:39 PM

Lightning protection systems help shield the workforce from danger, assist in the protection of equipment from damage and safeguard investments from downtime. While there is no known method of preventing lightning strikes, a lightning protection system lessens the hazards associated with these risks.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

New Field Data on Lightning Protection Systems: What Engineers Need to Know [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by TJ Gaines on Apr 18, 2017 8:32:00 AM

How effective is the Collection Volume Method (CVM) at intercepting lightning strikes? To answer this question, ERICO commissioned an unprecedented field-validation study.

The study underscores the importance of air terminal placement and validates the CVM’s claimed interception efficiency levels. The infographic below highlights key findings. To learn more, download the full whitepaper here.

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Topics: Lightning Protection