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Lightning and Surge Protection – What is it and do I need it?

In 2013 the average cost implications of a single lightning strike or voltage surge amounted to €800, as the risk of lightning grows yearly.

An increasingly worrying reason for machine downtime, and the loss of time and revenue in your factory, occurs as a result of surges. A surge happens either from a lightning strike (direct or indirect) or when large inductive loads are switched within buildings. In essence, surges can be extremely damaging for your equipment and your productivity, and getting reliable protection against such risks is essential to stay ahead of the game. Effective lightning and surge protection can entirely prevent the loss of data and revenue that could otherwise occur as a result of these freak incidents.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Surges can have a major impact on the operation of electronic systems and equipment, in the worst cases damaging them or rendering them completely useless. Hard drives and modems can be crashed, appliances can be ruined. The resulting cost is not only in accumulated in replacing the expensive equipment, but in the downtime required to get your systems back up and running.

For commercial systems, the potential consequences of surges are at their greatest by far. If a cell tower fails, the cost for the operator can amount to several euros per second. Over a day the costs could eclipse €100,000 in damages.

How does it work?

Surge protection is fitted retrospectively to installations, ensuring that surge voltages do not cause any damage to equipment. It does so by limiting the surge voltage so that the dielectric strength of devices is not exceeded, and discharges surge currents to a distant ground.

The device works like an off switch, that flips for the brief time (just a few microseconds) of the surge voltage. A sort of short circuit occurs and the currents can flow to ground or to the supply network without harming your equipment at all.

Is it for me?

In short, yes. The risks of leaving your electrical equipment exposed to surges far outweigh the cost of installing proper protection. However, the level of surge protection you need will depend on your circumstances, including the value of your equipment and the likely risk of lightning strikes in your region.

Statistics show that as a result of global climate change the number of lightning storms are increasing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, not just in lightning-prone areas but worldwide. The Global Surge Protection Devices Market forecasts growth of 5.83% CAGR globally over the next five years as those with foresight prepare for every eventuality.

Stay Safe + Secure

Safe + Secure is a machine protection package by Phoenix Contact and PP Control and Automation. It gives you peace of mind against lightning and surges by:

Safe + Secure is a complete package, that ensures your machines are protected in the three key areas of Lightning and Surge Protection, Cyber Security and Machine Safety. This package can save your business large sums of money, data and can keep your employees from potential harm.

For peace of mind and to keep your business running smoothly, call us about the Safe + Secure package on +44(0)1922 419109


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