Manufacturing makes the world go round. Electrical manufacturing is just one of the many types of manufacturing that affects global competitiveness, technology, and economic growth.
NEMA Members are comprised of 325 electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers in more than 7,000 facilities covering every state.
Imagine if every single one of those facilities was shut down due to electricity loss. The machinery, control systems, and vital telecommunication links used to make the products we use every day could potentially be damaged, degraded, or destroyed.
The increased use of sensitive, sophisticated electronics in industrial equipment is growing at an unprecedented rate – and so is the need to protect it. The dependence on electrical and electronic equipment – especially those that are used in manufacturing facilities – establishes a need to protect the safe and reliable operation of such equipment that is susceptible to electrical surge damage
Manufacturers can install surge protective devices (SPDs) in their plants to limit voltage surges and spikes that can occur by internal or external causes.
Devices that switch power on and off are responsible for 60 to 80 percent of surges created within a facility, ranging from a simple thermostat switch operating a heating element to a switch-mode power supply found on many devices. These surges contain limited energy but are often the cause of system upset or cumulative damage to electronics. Surges that originate outside of the facility include lightning and utility grid switching. Although less common, these surges are typically much more severe.
The 2017 edition of the National Electrical Code® (NEC) broadened the requirements for SPDs, in which it mandated industrial machinery with safety interlock circuits have surge protection installed. The concern was that electrical surges might cause the interlocks to fail independently of the machine operation, which could pose a safety risk for operators.
The 2020 edition of the NEC streamlines the requirements in a more organized way, with additional provisions to the residential space. Nonetheless, surge protection is an excellent investment for industrial equipment as lighting strikes, over-voltages, or even machinery-driven fluctuations can affect operations.
Furthermore, the new edition of the NEC includes Article 242 which recognizes SPDs and surge arresters as more than an “add-on” purchase and validates them as electrical system protectors.
The NEMA Surge Protection Institute offers guidance materials and practical resources designed for engineers, contractors, and inspectors at www.nemasurge.org.