Mines, like most other industries, are dependent on computers and associated electronics for all aspects of production, processing and administration. It is conclusive, that if a single lightning strike is allowed to enter this computerised network, the hardware costs incurred can be astronomical, while consequential downtime can add up to millions of rands in lost revenue.
According to various surveys undertaken by Surge Technology, many mine engineers countrywide still believe that lightning is an 'act of God' that cannot be safeguarded against. "This attitude needs to be nipped in the bud", emphasises Surge Technology's Paul van As. Even today, some mines still utilise antiquated devices that do not meet SABS specifications. The SABS requirements state that all three phases plus neutral earth must be protected. It is interesting to note that certain devices do not protect neutral.
Explains van As, "Surgetek's DEHNventil can withstand direct lightning strikes, while the DEHNguard range protects against indirect lightning strikes."
Workable lightning protection
Says van As, "We estimate that lightning protection costs 40% of the average loss in hardware caused by a single lightning bolt."
"Of course, protection itself must be an integrated network covering both data lines and power supplies to be fully effective. Apart from computers and related electronics, all instrumentation such as flowmeters, temperature sensors, PLCs, time and attendance systems and weighbridges are susceptible to lightning damage."
Adds van As, "Time-keeping systems are one of the most problematic when affected by lightning. If these malfunction, workers can be denied access into certain areas, resulting in loss of production and inaccurate reports on the time worked by mining staff."
"As each project is unique with different obstacles, Surge Technology offers consultations on the correct products to use, as well as an earthing and installation service," he concludes.
For details contact Paul van As
tel: (011) 792 1303/4/5
fax: (011) 793 6928
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