Tag Archives: Earthing

Earthing, Lightning & Surge Protection Conference

WAPP is proud to be a sponsor at the upcoming Earthing, Lightning & Surge Protection conference in Perth on the 9th and 10th of April.

WIN FREE Passes:

Simply write us a  Google review (hopefully a positive one), displaying your name & company name by 15th March 2019 to be in the running. Simply email ray.loh@wapp.com.au with the subject title “Conference Competition” once you’ve left a review so that we have your details to contact you should you be one of the chosen winners.


The usual marketing line of, “Great line up of speakers” is often overused and misused. However, in this case, the last time Phil Jones (Principal Engineer, ERICO) presented recently at the Engineers Australia auditorium in Perth, it was to a pack audience who stayed back for more discussions long after the presentation ended.

Few topics generate as much controversy and debate as that of earthing and the associated topics of surge protection, shielding and lightning protection of electrical and electronic systems. Poor earthing practices can be the cause of continual and intermittent difficult-to-diagnose problems in a facility. This seminar will explore these issues from a fresh yet practical perspective to help delegates reduce expensive downtime in their plant and/or equipment by identifying the correct application of these principles. Based on reported fatalities on a long-term average basis, lightning is often considered the second most dangerous of all natural phenomena (the first being flash floods).

Lightning can cause extensive damage when it strikes buildings and facilities. Electrical systems are exposed frequently to lightning induced surges and the effects may be felt in locations that are several miles away from the actual point of strike. The aim of this seminar is to demystify the subject of earthing, lightning and surge protection and present the subject in a clear, straightforward manner. Earthing as a subject has been underrepresented over the years and this event will attempt to remedy the gaps in technical knowledge and improve practices in the industry.

Click here to download the e-brochure.

Register here as we hope to see you there.


ProtExpo 2018

This year’s event had a collective over 100 years of electrical engineering experience from the ERICO representatives. We had the privilege of having Phil Jones present on the new technological advances in ERICO’s surge protection devices. Phil is the Chairman of Standards Australia’s Surge Arrester Committee EL007-03 and is the Australian representative on the International IEC SC37A Surge Protection committee.


Many of those who attended commented that they gained new knowledge of products and solutions which they will consider in implementing in their projects. At WAPP, we have at numerous times come across specifications of products that are not typically used in Australia which causes grief with availability and lead times, not to mention, increased costs to source them. By showcasing the right solutions for the right applications, hopefully this will help our clients select more cost-effective designs for their projects and jobs on site.


The event was also an excellent opportunity for attendees to network, as among those in attendance were engineers working on some of the major projects in WA (e.g. FMG, Roy Hill, Forrestfield Airport Link) who represented a good range of industries.


For those who missed out, or if anyone who attended would like more information regarding any particular area, please feel free to contact us.

Stop Telling and Start Selling

ListeningAs 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.80 20 Rule 1

Why ask Questions?

  1. To qualify your prospect to see if your solution suits their requirement and if they are in a position to buy
  2. It allows us to gather intelligence. It helps us to identify their triggers to buy, and fine-tune your solution to close.
  3. It establishes a rapport as a solutions partners that is interested in solving rather than selling and builds a relationship of trust. Questions 1
  4. It allows you to pre-empt and avoid objections
  5. Allows you to better control the direction of the sale and the final outcome

 There are 7 types of questions

  1. Rapport Building Questions– Create and establish a trusting relationship.
  2. Need Questions–Identifies the problem that your prospect is trying to solve
  3. Uniqueness Questions– Tell us if the prospect has tried a solution in the past
  4. Budget Questions– To see what their financial ability and expectation is.
  5. Influence Questions– Confirm the prospects authority as the decision maker.
  6. Timeline Questions – Identify the urgency of the solution
  7. 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:

  1. Rapport Building Questions
  • How long have you been with the company? Questions
  • Tell me a little about what you do?
  1. Need Question:
    • What are you finding most challenging right now?
    • How is this problem affecting you?
  2. Uniqueness Question:
    • Have you tried to solve this problem in the past?
    • Are you evaluating other solutions?
  3. Budget Question:
    • Have you set aside a budget for this?
    • What are you expecting to invest in the solution?
  4. Influence Question:
    • Who else needs to be involved in making this decision?
    • Who else needs to approve this decision?
  5. Timeline Question:
    • What kind of deadline are we working with?
    • What timeframe are we looking at?
  6. Confirmation Question:
    • What are your thoughts so far?
    • Do you have any concerns so far?

 Here are 7 additional tips:

  1. Ask open ended questions
  2. Assume nothing, question everythingSolve me something
  3. Listen carefully
  4. Do not interrupt
  5. Write down key intelligence to use as part of your solution
  6. 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 wapp1@wapp.com.au for a FREE no obligation consultation.

10 Questions to Assess Your Need for Lightning Protection

Most people are unaware that lightning strikes are one of the leading weather-related Lightning Protection 5causes of death in the world. Lightning can warm the air by 27,700 degrees, five times hotter than the surface of the sun.

Did you know you can get struck by lightning 16 km’s away, even when there is not a cloud in the sky? There are approximately 100 lightning strikes each second (6000 per minute) that occurs throughout the world, each carrying up to 30,000 amps of current. Each year in Australia, more than 100 people are injured, with an average of 10 fatalities due to lightning strikes. No one can predict the exact location of each will strike or when it will occur.

We can control the implementation of lightning protection systems where necessary. A good system like the one determined by Erico’s 6 Point plan captures the lightning strikes and transfers the energy to a dependable path to earth. The energy then dissipates in the earth to prevent harm to structures or individuals.

It is possible to use broad guidelines to develop protection required by assessing the known risks of lightning and determine the level of lightning protection (LP) needed for these unexpected strikes.

10 Fundamentally Critical Factors to Assess your Need for LP
1. What is the risk to personnel? 

The odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime is about 1 in 12,000

Precautions should be taken to prevent worker exposure to lightning. Employers recognise lightning as an occupational hazard and take lightning safety seriously. Locations where personnel risk are high include mine sites, factories, schools, churches, sporting facilities, and hospitals.

2. What is the risk of equipment or structural damage? 

Direct or indirect strikes from Lightning can cause severe electrical-related damage by fire, surge and shock wave damage. Direct strikes cause serious damage to framework, communications, air-conditioning and other exterior structures. Indirect damage is caused by the current traveling by electric grids or through utility lines and resulting in serious damage to electronics, equipment and data.

3. What are the consequential problems of such failure? 

For a business the level of damage caused through direct or indirect strikes can be devastating. It is not only the costly repairs that need to be considered but the downtime, loss of information and data, ability to service the client, production down time and the brands reputation to market.

4. Is the equipment associated with an essential or public service? 

A vital consideration is assets associated with an essential or high-risk service. Services such as railroads, hospitals, airports, and public utilities, must look beyond their own initiatives to consider the public that would be affected by interruptions.

5. What is the potential revenue loss in the time required to restore services? 

Lightning protection systems can prevent detrimental, avoidable downtime and costly repairs. Industries such as mining, manufacturing and essential services could have an immense cost associated to downtime. The investment associated with protecting an asset from lightning strike is a fraction of the potential direct and indirect revenue loss incurred by not being prepared.

6. Does the structure have historical value? 

The historical value of a structure can be priceless depending on the significance of theLightning Protection structure. The possibility of a lightning strike to the structure of a building is around 1:500. Damage is caused by the explosive expansion of air heated to around 30,000ºC, by the ignition of dust, and by flying debris. Electrical circuits may also be damaged by the electro-magnetic field generated.

7. What are the legal implications of providing inadequate protection?

Some industries or assets in some geographical locations, are legally required to provide a certain level of lightning protection. Mining, aviation and essential services have strict lightning protection guidelines. This is a major factor to considering liabilities associated with duty of care.

8. Does the structure or building contain explosive or flammable environments?

Many industries use highly flammable or explosive materials. Fire is a major concern with lightning strikes, adding unstable material to a direct strike or side flashing can be a cocktail for disaster.

9. Can side flashing cause damage to essential electronics?

Electronics are inherently susceptible to lightning strikes in the form of indirect damage. Lightning Strikes Man 1Be aware of electronics that are important and/or vulnerable to damage. A companies file server, for example, is a focal point of most business’ everyday operations. When the file server is incapacitated due to a lightning strike, the operations of an entire company may go down.

10. Will the discharge result in the corona phenomena causing disastrous power surges?

The corona phenomena is an electrical discharge brought on by the ionisation of a fluid such as air surrounding a conductor that is electrically charged.  Corona can create an audible noise that can interfere with communications and cause damage to conductors, transformers and other vital electronics.

Judge the Risks of Lightning-Associated Damage

We have all heard that prevention is better than the cure. The investment in lightning protection is only a fraction of the expense, cost and inconvenience of being unprepared.

Determining the level of lightning protection appropriate for each situation is not always simple. Consider the safety issues, costs and potential damage associated with lightning if you do not have a proper protection system.

These ten questions should help you get started evaluating your potential need for lightning protection.

To help you with direction and advice on lightning protection, refer to WAPP lightning protection experts. They will guide you through the potential need for lightning protection, risk, and more.

For more information on innovations and current lightning protection products, systems and design support click Here or please call (West Australian Power Protection) WAPP on

(08) 9353 5300 or email wapp1@wapp.com.au

How Climate Change is Affecting Lightning

Climate change has been a controversial topic for government, scientists and economistGlobal warmings globally. Whilst there is speculation on its existence, there is evidence that the world’s climate is changing. The more data we gather about a warming climate, we begin to see alarming changes in our earth that cannot be ignored:

  • Rising sea levels
  • Increase in global temperatures
  • Warming ocean temperatures
  • Regressing ice sheets

One major implication caused by climate change is the increased rate of lightning strikes. Scientific studies recently released suggest lightning strikes are anticipated to increase by at least 12% for every one degree Celsius rise in temperature.

What Does Increased Lightning Mean for Safety?

Cloud to ground lightning strikes are more common than most would think, with about 100 strikes occurring every single second worldwide. Each bolt can contain up to one billion volts of electricity.

The annual global death toll is 6,000. According to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric), over the last 20 years. This puts lightning strikes in second place, just behind floods for the deadliest weather condition.

Engineers and asset owners must also consider facility protection to safeguard infrastructure and capital, such as building structures and valuable electronic equipment.

This natural anomaly causes many other concerns:

  • Company downtime
  • Damage to electrical and sensitive equipment
  • Loss in revenue and resources
  • Data and intellectual property loss

Facility Protection with an Integrated Approach

It’s recommended that engineers take an integrated and collaborative approach to lightning protection to ensure safety for personnel and assets. Pentair (formally Erico) have created the ERICO Six-Point Plan of Protection for facilities.

The six steps include:

  • Capture the lightning strike using an air terminal system.Shield
  • Convey the energy to the ground through a downconductor.
  • Dissipate energy into a low impedance grounding system.
  • Bond all ground points together to create an equipotential plane.
  • Protect incoming AC power feeders from surges and transients
  • Protect low voltage data / telecommunications circuits

Following the 6-step method above will protect your facility and personnel now and in the future from lightning strikes.

Did you know there are other several lightning protection methods that provide full facility protection? Click Here for more details

For more information on innovations and current lightning protection products, systems and design support click Here or please call (West Australian Power Protection) WAPP on (08) 9353 5300 or email wapp1@wapp.com.au

How to Create a Good Earth


The primary purpose of earthing is to avoid or minimize the danger of:

  1. Electrocution
  2. Fire due to earth leakage of current
  3. Damage to people, equipment and assets

When the metallic part of electrical appliances comes in contact with a live wire, the metal becomes charged and static charge accumulates. If a person touches such a charged metal, the result could be catastrophic.

To avoid such instances, the power supply systems and parts of appliances have to be earthed so as to transfer the charge directly to ground.

Why have Earthing?

  • Protect human lives
  • Provide safety to electrical devices and appliances
  • To keep voltage as constant in the healthy phase
  • To protect electrical system and buildings from lightning.
  • To avoid the risk of fire

Basic Terms used in Electrical Earthing Earth_Electrode

  • Earth: The proper connection between electrical installation systems via conductor to the earth.
  • Earthed: Connection to the earth through earth electrode.
  • Solidly Earthed: When an electric device, appliance or electrical installation is connected to the earth electrode without a fuse, circuit breaker or resistance/Impedance.
  • Earth Electrode: When a conductor buried in the earth for electrical earthing system. They are available in different shapes E.g. conductive plate, rod or mesh.
  • Earthing Lead: The conductor wire, strip or tape connected between Earth electrode and Electrical installation system and devices.
  • Earth Continuity Conductor: The conductor wire, which is connected among different electrical devices and appliances like, distribution board, different plugs and appliances.
  • Sub Main Earthing Conductor: A wire connected the switch board and distribution board
  • Earth Resistance: Is the total resistance between earth electrode and earth in Ω (Ohms).


Earthing is done according to AS, IE and IEE (Institute of Electrical Engineers) regulations:

  • 3-pin lighting plug sockets should be permanently earthed.
  • All metallic coverings containing or protecting any electric supply line or apparatus should be earthed.
  • The frame of generators, stationary motors and metallic parts of all transformers used for controlling energy should be earthed by two separate connections with the earth.
  • In a dc 3-wire system, the middle conductors should be earthed at the generating station.
  • Overhead lines should be earthed by connecting at least one strand to the earth wires.

Components of Earthing SystemEarthing_System

A complete electrical earthing system consists on the following basic components.

  1. Earth Continuity Conductor
  2. Earthing Lead
  3. Earth Electrode

Earth Continuity Conductor or Earth Wire

That part of the earthing system which interconnects the overall metallic parts of electrical installation e.g. conduit, ducts, distribution boards, fuses etc… and components installed are known as earth wire or earth continuity conductor as shown in the above fig.

Size of Earth Continuity Conductor

The cross-sectional area of the earth continuity conductor should not be less than the half of the cross-sectional area of the thickest wire used in the electrical wiring installation.

Earthing Electrode or Earth Plate

A metallic electrode or plate which is buried in the earth and connected with earthing lead.

A metallic plate, pipe or rode can be used as an earth electrode which has very low resistance and carry the fault current safely towards ground (earth).

Earthing Ground Enhancement MaterialGEM

It is recommended to bury the earth electrode in the moisture earth. If it is not possible, then it is recommended to use a ground enhancement material such as gypsum bentonite or even better GEM

 Methods of Earthing | Types of Earthing

Earthing can be done in many ways. The various methods employed in earthing are:Earth_mat

  1. Plate Earthing: In plate earthing system, a plate made up of copper (preferable) or galvanized iron (GI) is buried vertical in the earth (earth pit) which should not be less than 3m (10ft) from the ground level.
  2. Rod Earthing: It is the same method as pipe earthing. A copper Ground_rodsrod of min. 16mm diameter by 3m length are buried upright in the earth manually or with the help of a pneumatic hammer. The length of embedded electrodes in the soil reduces earth resistance to a desired value.Copper_tape
  3. Tape or Wire Earthing: Typically tape electrodes of 25mm x 3mm cross-section is buried in a horizontal trench of a minimum depth of 0.5m.

If all round conductors are used, their cross-section area should not be too small, say less than 6.0mm2 if it’s a galvanized iron or steel. The length of the conductor buried in the ground would give a sufficient earth resistance.

Specification for Earthing

Various earthing recommendations are given below;

  • An earthing electrode should not be situated (installed) close to the building whose installation system is being earthed at least more than 1.5m away.
  • The earth resistance should be low enough to cause the flow of current sufficient to operate the protective relays or blow fuses. Its value is not constant as it varies with weather because it depends on moisture (but should not be less than 1 Ohm).
  • The earth wire and earth electrode will be the same material.
  • The earthing electrode should be placed in a vertical position inside the earth or pit so that it may be in contact with all the different earth layers.

Dangers of Not Earthing a Supply System

If excessive current is not earthed, appliances will be damaged without the help of a fuse. Excessive current is earthed at their generating stations which is why earth wires carry very little or no current at all.

In our electrical appliances, if excessive currents are not earthed, we would experience severe shock. Earthing takes place in electrical appliances only when there is a problem to save us from danger.

If you happen to touch a metallic part when charged or static charges you will be electrocuted. But if the metallic part of the appliance is earthed, the charge will be transferred to earth instead of accumulating on the metallic part of the appliance.

Earthing is essential and mandatory. It’s an electrical connection between the exposed metallic parts of an electrical appliance or installation and the earth, regarded to have zero potential. Competent earthing provides an alternative and easy path for leakage or faulty current to flow that could save your life, equipment and asset.

For more information on Earthing, Grounding and Bonding solutions click HERE or please call us on (08) 9451 2199 or email wapp1@wapp.com.au