Why should you protect your control system from Mother Nature?

Protecting control systems from lightning is crucial for several reasons:

Preventing Damage: Lightning strikes can cause significant damage to control systems, including electrical components, circuitry, and connected devices. This damage can result in system downtime, costly repairs, and potential data loss.

Ensuring Operational Continuity: Control systems are often critical for the operation of various processes and infrastructure, such as power plants, transportation systems, and manufacturing facilities. Protecting them from lightning helps maintain uninterrupted operations and prevents disruptions that could have wide-ranging consequences.

Mitigating Safety Risks: Lightning strikes can create safety hazards by causing fires, explosions, or other dangerous situations, especially in environments where flammable materials or hazardous substances are present. 

Preserving Data Integrity: Many control systems collect and process data essential for monitoring and controlling various processes. Lightning-induced damage can corrupt data or disrupt communication networks, leading to inaccuracies, inefficiencies, or loss of critical information. 

Compliance and Liability: Depending on the industry and location, there may be regulatory requirements or industry standards mandating the protection of control systems against lightning strikes. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in legal liabilities, fines, or penalties.

Financial Considerations: Repairing or replacing damaged control systems can be expensive, not only in terms of equipment costs but also in terms of lost productivity and revenue due to downtime. Investing in lightning protection measures can help mitigate these financial risks and provide long-term cost savings.

Considering all of the above, one way to protect your control system from lightning is to invest in surge protection.  Surge arrestors take an overvoltage spike and connect it to ground before it can damage your system (in most cases).  The components in the surge arrestor are designed to pass high potentials directly to ground - components like Metal Oxide Varistors (MOV’s) that pass current from high voltages but maintain a high impedance in normal operation.  Think about what that means for your LAN or your I/O - both analog and digital, not to mention the rest of your control system.

American Electrical, Inc. (AEI) has a complete line of DIN Rail mounted surge arrestors here:


Or call us at 804.379.2899 for more information.

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