Why surge protection is necessary Information

- courtesy Phoenix Contact

 

Published in:

Electricity+Control, September 2014 – pages 19 - 21

Enquiries: Tony Rayner. Phoenix Contact South Africa.

Email tonyr@phoenixcontact.co.za

 

Download the full article on Why surge protection is necessary in PDF format.

 

Modern industrial, commercial, and residential life depends on the availability of electricity. The electricity supplied must be at a level of quality to facilitate efficient performance of today’s sensitive electronic equipment. Our dependence on electricity and the prevalence of more and more sensitive electronics make a reliable source of high quality power essential to modern life. Yet, disruptions can and do occur. In fact, one estimate by utility industry experts suggests that power-related problems cost United States companies more than $ 80 billion a year. When evaluated from a system level, effects on business include: high maintenance costs, high production costs, production delays, lost sales, late deliveries, an idle workforce, and increased spoilage and scrap [1]. Surge Protective Devices (SPDs) protect sensitive electrical equipment from harmful surges.

 

What is a surge?

Surges are a natural result of any electrical activity. They have always occurred in electrical systems; however, the reliance on equipment containing sensitive electronics has increased the need to control the damaging effects of surges on electrical systems. A rule-of-thumb definition of a surge is a voltage of at least two times the system’s Root Mean Squared (RMS) voltage with a duration measured from one to several hundred microseconds. For example, in a 120 Vac electrical system, a short impulse less than one millisecond greater than 240 V would be a surge. In a 480 Vac system, a short impulse greater than 960 V would be a surge. Surges must not be confused with swells and overvoltages. Surge Protection Devices (SPDs) are designed for surge protection and not other power quality issues such as swells and overvoltages.

 

Take note

  • Surges have always occurred in electrical systems.
  • To properly protect a device, the input power needs to have surge protection.
  • Surge Protection Devices (SPDs) are designed for surge protection and not other power quality issues