However, at Telefónica Deutschland GmbH & Co. OHG it is not enough to just use lightning and surge protection. To increase system availability, they go one step further with the real-time monitoring of protective devices and the system.
The assistance system for surge protection – ImpulseCheck
A status window on lightning and surge protective devices for mains protection is now a standard feature. However, it is not possible to determine the actual load of the individual modes of protection from a simple indicator. At worst, the indicator is still green but changes to red (defect) after the next overvoltage event. It is now imperative that the protective plug is replaced, as protection is no longer being provided and the system will be directly impacted in the event of another overvoltage.
ImpulseCheck measures transient events on live cables. The measurement results are transferred to Phoenix Contact’s Proficloud solution, where the results are analyzed and interpreted. ImpulseCheck retrieves the results from Proficloud and can then forward them to the relevant monitoring equipment, e.g., the building services management system. This means that the current condition of the installed SPDs can always be determined. Pre-existing damage is detected, and the state of health is indicated visually in the cloud or on the device by a yellow signal. In this case, yellow means that the normatively prescribed discharge capacity of the SPD has been reached. The protective device is still working, but replacement is recommended.
In addition to monitoring the protective devices, ImpulseCheck provides an insight into the system. Conclusions can be drawn regarding the condition of the system based on electromagnetic interference that is measured via sensors on the live cables.
What is the advantage for Telefónica?
Surge protection is installed at all Telefónica Deutschland GmbH & Co. OHG locations. In addition, in the sensitive areas that are essential for reliable operation, the SPDs are monitored with ImpulseCheck. The data that is collected from all the installed ImpulseCheck devices is sent to the building services management system in the data center via Modbus/TCP.
“We can also connect ImpulseCheck to our existing systems and thus collect data on the entire technology for long-term evaluation and monitoring. With the cloud-based approach, we also benefit from the further developments that Phoenix Contact makes in this area.”
On the one hand, the assistance system detects the load on the protective devices and helps improve the planning of servicing call-outs. On the other hand, anomalies in the installation are visible and can be rectified before failure occurs.
Investment in the future
“Separate to the role that ImpulseCheck plays in ensuring a high level of availability, it is also used in another project at a classic cellular communication location. By installing ImpulseCheck on a 60 m tall cell tower, we hope to obtain additional data on lightning strikes. How often do they occur? How is the current distributed in the system? This was also why we wanted to use ImpulseCheck in a classic cellular communication environment, and not just with a view to achieving high availability.”
Due to their height and metal structure, cell towers are particularly susceptible to atmospheric interference, such as lightning strikes. In addition to protecting the supply in order to safeguard operation, components of the transmission mast are also connected to the ImpulseCheck sensors at selected cellular communication locations.
The aim of these measurements is to gain an understanding of how the lightning currents are distributed at the cell towers. Based on the data obtained, even better protection concepts can be created for cellular communication systems.