by the LightningDiva@Large | Week 74:

Happy New Year to you all! I hope that you had a pleasant holiday, one not entrenched in lightning.  Well here in our neck of the woods (Boulder, CO USA), it has been mild, sometimes icy and lightning free. However, I hear that in the Southern Hemisphere our electrifying friend has been running rampant and wreaking havoc, and making life just a little unpredictable and difficult for you all. In honor of lightning and it’s unpredictability I have decided to start out the year with a commentary covering all the  unpredictable and challenging issues we face during the year, as it relates to the world of lightning protection.  Like lightning, lightning protection attracts quite a lot of unusual and controversial events, activities and incidents. Over the next month I will post additional commentary in this series. Part I is more of the lighthearted challenges that face us in our daily lives here in lightning protection land. In the coming weeks, I will add two more parts, which will outline some of the more controversial issues, including our critics and standards. Enjoy and keep your eyes peeled for Parts II and III and perhaps even a Part IV. We’ll see how it goes.

L-i-g-h-t-n-i-n-g!

Lightning believe it or not is a hard word to spell and hear for many. I cannot even begin to tell you the amount of times I have had to say “as in Thunder and Lightning”. I frequently get emails and requests which confuse lightning protection for lighting, as is lamps and bulbs. An elderly woman once phoned me asking if I had any “stand-up lamps”. I have had requests for things like –

  • Lightening Protection with an ‘e’
  • for a Lightening Rod
  • LED Lighting
  • Lighting Protection
  • Lightining Information
  • lightoning

…and so on – you get the picture. I have even had people trying to sell me lighting fixtures and track lighting.

Just to set the records straight Lightning Eliminators & Consultants, Inc. (LEC) specializes in innovative products and services for Lightning Protection, Grounding engineering and Surge Protection.

We do not sell –

  • Lightning Arrestors (or lighting arrestors or lightning arresters),
  • lightning rods,
  • Ben Franklin Rods,
  • Benjamin Franklin Rods and/or
  • Thompson Lightning Protection (don’t even know what that is?).

We have had requests for Bonded Lightning Protection, which if you mean how it is installed, of course we bond the product to the surface, but if you are talking about “a bond” for insurance purposes, that is up to your insurance company. To date, we have not found any insurance companies that have a bond for lightning protection or even isolate it under policy coverage. Where appropriate, LEC products are of course UL, ATEX NFPA and API certified accordingly, but certified does not mean that your lightning protection solution is ‘bonded’ by an insurance company.  We do recommend speaking with your insurance company about whether they have any bonds concerning lightning and lightning damage, and if needed, ask if we can brief your insurance representative on the technology we provide.

A “What Ya Ma Call It”!

You have to love the creativity people show – especially in the English language.  For our part, we see people who love to rename our products and technology; recent examples include-

The Lightning Ionization System when referring to the Dissipation Array® System (DAS®), as well as the Grounding Pod and a Leach Pot for our Chem-Rod® product.

I could fill pages with all the different names our products have been called, but the most common mistake is that many times we are confused for the Early Streamer Emitter (ESE) and lightning rods – which we have addressed in our paper Collection vs. Prevention.  In the paper we review the differences between the various technologies and in our world, we simply believe that it is more dangerous to collect a lightning strike, than prevent it from striking within a designated area – ideally, we’d want to keep it from striking in an area with volatile products or sensitive electronic equipment where it would be dangerous or extremely inconvenient for it to strike.  Our philosophy is to not collect a lightning strike into a volatile environment when you do not have to.

At LEC we have promoted a custom Lightning Protection Systems (spelt L-i-g-h-t-n-i-n-g, as in “thunder and lightning”) based on physics and an innovative patented technology called Charge Transfer Technology (CTS); which is more about strike prevention as opposed to collection.  We are Lightning Experts, we have scientists and researchers who live for lightning research, and we are the #1 lightning protection company for solutions.  LEC implements solutions that include, but are not necessarily limited to, CTS.  Our solutions often have grounding engineering products and surge protection solutions that are designed for facilities in the Oil and Gas, Energy, Power Generation, Utilities and as well as many other industries all over the world.

LEC already works with many of the Global 500 companies in existence today providing lightning protection in over 80 countries, most in high strike areas.  @013 saw us top over 3000 systems installations that include a comprehensive, customized design which includes lightning protection, grounding and surge solutions.  We always consider lightning’s primary effects as well as secondary and no two installations are alike, because no two facilities are alike.

Copycats

Over the years there have been many companies that have attempted to produce knockoffs of our products. What is important to note is that we are the inventors of the products and these other companies do not have the “secret sauce” when it comes to manufacturing them. We are continually testing and improving our products as new technologies and materials are introduced into the market. This is evident most recently with the introduction of our new product the In-Tank Potential Equalizer (IPE) for non-metal and lined tanks to combat arc discharge. No other company is better than LEC when it comes to the manufacturing and implementation of their own products:

•             Chem-Rod® – Chemical Grounding Electrode
•             Dissipation Array® System (DAS®)
•             Retractable Grounding Assembly (RGA®)
•             Spline Ball Ionizer® (SBI®)
•             Spline Ball Terminal ®  (SBT®)

We have seen others try to manufacture similar products to the RGA for Floating Roof Tanks (FRTs). They are just not the same and have caused problems for facilities who believe they are buying the original. We recently outlined the differences in the RGA Competitive Analysis.  Throughout Asia we also find many copycats of not only the RGA, but of DAS. None of these manufacturers have the knowledge or background that we do, nor the engineering expertise and experience that has gone into perfecting the products through over 40 years of installing and designing them. In addition, Lightning Eliminators lends it’s over 100 years of engineering experience to every project and considers all of the dynamics of a solution.

Stay tuned and stay subscribed to our blog to catch the next chapter in our 2014 blog posts. Next week we cover the controversies surrounding lightning protection and Charge Transfer Technology, including “The Naysayers”

Contact LightningDiva@lecglobal.com for additional information, comments or questions.

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