Lightning strikes, stuff gets fried, Jobs stop…there is no money in the budget for an immediate facility-wide Surge Protection implementation. What to do?
Well, take a breath and a walk about. What got cooked? what is it connected to? How is it grounded? Start a one line diagram with just four things.. and here’s a twist; start at the end-use equipment ( the controller, the motor, the CNC, the Medical device etc.) and work your way back to the main panel.
Write down the following:
- Equipment name and control circuit voltage (120v, 24vDC or 48vDC)
- Panel or disconnect voltage that is feeding the equipment (480Y,480NN, 240v delta etc.)
- Sub panel voltage, (the panels feeding the disconnect)
- main electrical service entrance voltage.
It is much more cost effective and you will provide better protection immediately by first protecting the systems low voltage controls and the distribution panel (or disconnect) feeding them than you will by initially installing a building service entrance protector.
So far all you have spent is your valuable time, but you are on your way.
Next, take a close look at the low hanging fruit on your grounding scheme:
- Are all grounds bonded together? They should be!
- Do you have a ground tester? National Electrical code and IEEE suggest less than 25 ohms to earth ground.
- Are any grounding clamps loose or any other obvious issues
Now, budget it out.
- Count the machines with control voltages.
Process controllers, PLC, CNC logic etc ($225-$400ea)
- Count the panels (120/208, 240, 480v) or disconnects directly feeding the machine ($600-$1300ea)
- Identify the voltage for the main service entrance points ($1600 – $2500)
Now you can technically isolate areas that had a failure, have a basic scope, ballpark costs and begin integrating proper protection to your maintenance schedule.