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Surge Protection

Intelligent Monitoring of Surge Protection — Act before a Component Fails

| Author / Editor: Claas Rittinghaus* / Dr. Jörg Kempf

As digitalization progresses, status data and information on individual components become increasingly important. They are key to designing the independent systems of the future, and to bringing the Internet of Things to life.
As digitalization progresses, status data and information on individual components become increasingly important. They are key to designing the independent systems of the future, and to bringing the Internet of Things to life. (Source: Phoenix Contact)

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Surge protective devices are safety-related components and, as such, an essential part of process plants. Information about the status and performance of these components as well as on the status of the plant itself play an important role in continuous monitoring and predictive maintenance. Get to know a system, which acquires all this information — and also enables it to be utilized in the Internet of Things.

The green “OK” notification on a typical status indicator of an SPD (Surge Protective Device), displayed on the device itself or read out by means of a remote indication contact, is not indicative of the current status of the arrester. Neither does it provide any information on the specific stress caused by surge currents and transient overvoltages since the installation of the SPD. Taking a look at the indicator during the maintenance or periodic inspection of a lightning protection system thus isn't very meaningful. The surge protective system might fail just the next day — or in a few years’ time.

This is where Impulse Check, Phoenix Contact’s new system, comes into play. Surge currents and transient overvoltages discharged and limited by the SPD are detected in real time, and can then be analyzed in Impulse Analytics — a Proficloud application. In addition to comprehensive tools for the evaluation of the measured data, which are available to the user, the state of health (SoH) for each mode of protection is calculated for Phoenix Contact SPDs. The state of health is the current state of the arrester.

As opposed to former, purely reactive replacements of surge protective equipment based on the green/red status indicator, this status information allows for the implementation of predictive maintenance plans. The efficiency of maintenance work can thus be improved, money can be saved, and system availability better protected.

Connection to Proficloud

The Impulse Check system consists of up to four external sensors, an evaluation and communication unit, and the Impulse Analytics Proficloud application. The sensors are connected to the cables connecting the SPD with the active conductors of the power supply. Surge currents and transient overvoltages discharged and limited by the SPD are detected by the sensors and processed by the evaluation and communication unit.

Via Ethernet, the measured data are sent from there through an encrypted communication channel to the Proficloud. The Impulse Analytics application processes the measured data into typical characteristic quantities such as amplitude, electric charge, and specific energy, which can then be visualized, analyzed, and exported for specific evaluation purposes.

The modular design of the system with external sensors and a separate evaluation and communication unit allows for a wide range of applications. Especially in large distributed plants with numerous subsystems, which often differ in terms of their exposure or resistance to surge voltages, critical locations can be monitored by means of Impulse Check to obtain a more differentiated picture of the current status of the plant. Depending on the application, the system can either be newly installed, retrofitted in existing plants with surge protection already installed, or used as a measuring device only, without any SPD to be monitored.

Content of the Article:

  • Page 1: Intelligent Monitoring of Surge Protection — Act before a Component Fails
  • Page 2: SoH Calculation

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