The silhouette of the evening electricity transmission pylon. Power transmission from a power plant to a city

Voltage Surges in Industrial Settings: Causes and Remedies 

A lot rides on electricity. Industrial settings, factories, and other commercial plants or buildings utilize a lot of electricity and power. Keeping the power running is essential for the operations of the facility and has dire consequences when it fails. Industrial applications use robust and heavy-duty equipment that has high electricity demands. 

Not to mention that much of this equipment has to be running consistently and constantly. In addition to that, equipment must run under harsh environments and unsavory conditions. Any industrial setting is tasked with having equipment that is far more reliable and fail-safe than residential equipment. Having reliable voltage power surge protectors and professional repair helps industrial equipment do its job without causing a voltage surge.

What Industries Benefit from Voltage Surge Protectors?

Consider what happens when a city or a neighborhood goes dark. Losing power for even a few hours can be devastating for a community or business. In 2021, parts of Texas went through a freeze that caused 46,000 megawatts of power (which provides power to about 46 million people) to fail and shut down due to power generating failures. Since it occurred in the middle of a storm, the power outage had calamitous results including families suffering the winter cold with no heat or power. 

It caused deaths and millions of dollars in damage. This only further highlighted the importance of upkeeping electronic grids properly. At the height of the outage, up to 45 million customers across the state were without power. So the need for power protection is necessary across the board, but common in these industries: 

  • Communications
  • Automotive 
  • Power generation
  • Transportation
  • Electrical Companies 
  • Manufacturing 

Power and Voltage Surge Basics 

Every device that uses electricity has what is known as maximum dielectric strength. If the level of surge voltage exceeds this limit, malfunctions or damage to equipment are likely to occur. When there is a sudden change in the electrical conditions within the circuit. In order to prevent these events, surge protection equipment can be installed. Surge protection equipment is meant to function in the background of the operating equipment and kicks on when needed. It is the fact that surge protection is not necessary for the equipment to function that leads many facilities to fail to install proper surge protection. 

Common Causes of Voltage Surge Failures

Power surges happen during certain conditions or events. Common causes include: 

  • Lighting strikes: The energy from a lighting striking can be potentially catastrophic to certain power equipment if the right conditions exist. Lighting causes transient overvoltages that reach and extend across great distances. Even though lighting strikes happen incredibly fast —a few seconds or milliseconds— it can still cause damage to the installation. 
  • Switching operations: If you are switching equipment or operations or electromagnetic pulse it may generate surge voltages that attach supply lines. Even short-term current changes can prompt a transient overvoltage. 
  • Electrostatic discharges: If bodies or equipment electrostatic potential get close and exchange a charge, it might prompt a brief surge voltage. 

Different Kinds of Power Surges

Voltage surges can happen in different circumstances. Some may be prompted by events and external circumstances and others occur through normal operation of equipment.  

Internal Power Surges

This can occur from regular day-to-day operations within the facility. That is, they are not caused by an external occurrence. These devices include:

  • Variable speed drives
  • Generators
  • Air conditioners 
  • Elevators
  • Electric motors
  • Other electrical equipment 

External Power Surges 

As mentioned above, lightning strikes are a common cause of power surges, but there are other external events that cause voltage surges including: 

  • Electrostatic discharge 
  • Switching capacitor banks on or off
  • When power lines are connected and disconnected
  • Utility load switching
  • Turning transformers on or off
  • A poor distribution grid 
  • A tree branch coming into contact with cables

The Use of Surge Protective Equipment 

Surge protection equipment has the main function of diverting the overflow of excess electricity that travels to equipment in an emergency. It diverts the overvoltage from touching the expensive and sensitive equipment that runs a plant, or office, or other industrial facilities. 

A voltage surge can cause a major disruption to your operations. For any commercial enterprise or facility, suffering a gap in operations can have great economic and operational costs. At the same time, voltage surges can also cause equipment to be damaged and malfunction. 

When It Comes to Industrial Equipment, Quality is Everything 

Regardless of the setting you are in, protecting your electrical equipment and devices is essential to maintaining things flowing in your operation. If you are facing technical questions or looking to protect your equipment from voltage surges, call the professionals at Remsa USA. 

Remsa USA provides essential field services and more to various industries. Call us today and find out more. 



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