An effective grounding system is one of the most important aspects of ensuring lightning protection. The purpose of this system is to provide a pathway for the lightning energy to safely flow to earth, as if this is not effective the extreme current -given the conditions- can find alternate pathways. If the current does deviate, the damage can range from electromagnetic interference on sensitive equipment and overloading circuits to electrical fires, arc flash and electrocution. For this reason, it is crucial to consult professionals when implementing one of these systems.
Grounding System Components
- Earthing network conductor. Conductor must have the current carrying capacity for the maximum fault current for the total clearing time of the fault. Copper or copper-bonded steel conductors are characteristically used for this purpose. WAPP offers various types of conductors for earth grids and bonding ranging from flat copper tape, various copper earth cables to proprietary ERICO Smoothweave cables.
- Interconnecting Joints. Connections between grounding conductors are essential to the functionality and reliability of the system, this is how the elements of the grounding system tie together. Exothermically welding the connections, by use of CADWELD provides a superior bond on a molecular level ensuring that it will never corrode or loosen which would otherwise damage the integrity of the electrical continuity. A more economical and procedurally simple alternative are mechanical connectors, these are of bolted, wedge and crimp type which, rely on the physical surface contact to maintain electrical connection. For above ground connections (e.g. fence clamps), this is an acceptable way of bonding.
- Grounding Electrode. The grounding electrode (or sometimes referred to as rod/stake) provides electrical connection to the ground and acts to dissipate current to it. Electrodes can be categorised as either “natural” or “made”. A natural electrode is intrinsic to the structure this could be metal underground water piping, effectively grounded metal framework of the facility, and/or the steel in reinforced concrete foundations. An electrode is considered made when it is implemented for the express function of improving the performance a grounding system this includes buried metal plates, buried mesh conductor and rods or pipes driven into the ground. The ground rod is the single most used, efficient and effective grounding device in the practice today. ERICO has developed bonded ground rods impervious to many issues common in cheaper ground rods, further information see copper ground rods.
- Soil Composition. The soil resistivity rating, a measure of ohm-meters, has a large impact on the performance of a grounding system and is to be known prior to engineering a proper grounding system. Based off the soil resistivity the design engineer will locate the area of the most conductive soil and from this, determine the depth the electrodes required to be placed accordingly. The best solution to improving earth composition can be altered to decrease its resistivity through the use of the cost effective Ground Enhancing Material (GEM). The optimal solution is the effective implementation of GEM to reach the desired resistance. There are other solutions such as bentonite which perform the same task however, are deemed inferior, for more information on this see GEM vs Bentonite.
- Electrode to Earth Resistivity. Rod surface area and earth composition are the main contributing factors. Doubling radius of the driven rod will reduce resistance by merely 10% and is not a cost-effective option. Doubling the rod length however, will theoretically reduce resistance by 40%. Placement of numerous rods that are driven to a predetermined depth in low resistivity soil.
Western Australian Power Protection (WAPP) offers obligation free consultation and quotation for grounding systems. To speak to a professional to address your specific needs find our contact information on our ‘Contact Us’ page
As an electrical wholesaler, sales representative or manager, if during your sales presentations you are hearing your voice more so than your client. Then you are probably telling them what they want, without finding out what their key triggers are to make a buying decision.
What you may perceive as value or benefit, your electrical prospect may see as an objection. Therefore, talking less and listening more is a key strategy that will not only change the way you deliver your presentation, but the outcome by increasing your ability to close more sales.
Our mouth is what usually gets us into trouble. Make a conscious effort to speak less and listen more. To put it into perspective. Let your prospect talk 80% of the time to your 20%, by asking questions and following up at the end with your solution and close.
Why ask Questions?
- To qualify your prospect to see if your solution suits their requirement and if they are in a position to buy
- It allows us to gather intelligence. It helps us to identify their triggers to buy, and fine-tune your solution to close.
- It establishes a rapport as a solutions partners that is interested in solving rather than selling and builds a relationship of trust.
- It allows you to pre-empt and avoid objections
- Allows you to better control the direction of the sale and the final outcome
There are 7 types of questions
- Rapport Building Questions– Create and establish a trusting relationship.
- Need Questions–Identifies the problem that your prospect is trying to solve
- Uniqueness Questions– Tell us if the prospect has tried a solution in the past
- Budget Questions– To see what their financial ability and expectation is.
- Influence Questions– Confirm the prospects authority as the decision maker.
- Timeline Questions – Identify the urgency of the solution
- Confirmation Questions– Used to reinforce the solution to the problem. They can also be used to draw out the prospects real objections.
Examples of these type of questions are:
- Rapport Building Questions
- How long have you been with the company?
- Tell me a little about what you do?
- Need Question:
- What are you finding most challenging right now?
- How is this problem affecting you?
- Uniqueness Question:
- Have you tried to solve this problem in the past?
- Are you evaluating other solutions?
- Budget Question:
- Have you set aside a budget for this?
- What are you expecting to invest in the solution?
- Influence Question:
- Who else needs to be involved in making this decision?
- Who else needs to approve this decision?
- Timeline Question:
- What kind of deadline are we working with?
- What timeframe are we looking at?
- Confirmation Question:
- What are your thoughts so far?
- Do you have any concerns so far?
Here are 7 additional tips:
- Ask open ended questions
- Assume nothing, question everything
- Listen carefully
- Do not interrupt
- Write down key intelligence to use as part of your solution
- Add value to your solution that is relevant to your prospect
By focusing on strategic questions that gather intelligence, you are not just selling, but solving. Your electrical contractor or prospect will appreciate the opportunity to be heard and understood when querying earthing, grounding, surge, lightning protection etc… They will feel more comfortable in having a trusted solutions partner who is interested in their current problems and requirements. Making the difficult buying decision, easy!
For tips and support to win more sales contact Emmanuel Lardis from West Australian Power Protection (WAPP) on (08) 9353 5300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE no obligation consultation.
When most hear about ground enhancement material they think of bentonite. The term Bentonite was first used for a clay found in about 1890 in Montana USA. Extracted bentonite is distinctly solid, even with a moisture content of approximately 30%. Bentonite is subsequently dried to reach a moisture content of approximately 15% and used in granular form or milled into powder and super fine powder form.
It is often impossible to achieve the desired reduction in ground resistance by adding more grid conductors or ground rods. An alternate solution is to effectively increase the diameter of the electrode by modifying the soil surrounding the electrode. With the price of copper on the rise, usually the most cost-effective solution is to include a ground enhancement material such as bentonite.
The main issues with using bentonite for backfill around the earthing anode (ground rod, copper tape, cable etc…) during installation is:
- Swelling of up to 25% occurs when wetted from dry state,
- Shrinkage occurs during drying from wet state
- Formation of a number of voids and small cracks
- Potential lack of contact with earthing anode = BAD earth
As great a product as it has been there is a superior option for Ground enhancement material that many are aware but most are not. Erico’s Ground Enhancement Material is considered one of the best enhanced options available on the market.
GEM has a resistivity of less than 0.12 Ω·m (about 5% of the resistivity of Bentonite). It typically placed around the rod in an augured hole or around earthing conductors in a trench in the same fashion as bentonite, in either a dry form or premixed in a slurry. GEM is a permanent material and will not leach any chemicals into the ground.
GEM from ERICO is a conductive material that improves grounding effectiveness, especially in areas of poor conductivity-rocky ground, areas of moisture variation, sandy soils. It is a preferred option for mining, government and private construction works, especially in locations with dry conditions and poor soil.
- 20 times lower resistivity than Bentonite clay
- Can dramatically lower the earth resistance and impedance measures
- Maintains constant resistance for the life of the earthing system
- Does not dissolve, decompose, leach out or require replacement or maintenance
- Does not require continuous presence of water to maintain its conductivity
- Exceeds IEC® 62561-7 which sets the benchmark
- Can be installed using trench or ground rod backfill methods
- Does not dissolve, decompose, or leach out with time
- Is non-corrosive and protects against corrosion to extend life of component
- Short and long-term cost and performance benefits
The table below is a comparison chart showing tests conducted that prove GEM (“IEEE 80-2000 14.5 Soil treatment to lower Resistivity) is a superior and preferred option as a ground enhancement material to bentonite.
||% Water Content by Weight
% Reduction from
||Slurry (Initial Measurement)
||Cured 3 days
||Cured 75 days
For more information on Earthing, Grounding and Bonding solutions click HERE or please call us on (08) 9353 5300 or email email@example.com