OPR gains landmark UL Certification

ABB — already a leading global provider of lightning protection systems — reached a new milestone recently with the announcement that UL has granted certification for OPR 30, OPR 45 and OPR 60 Early Streamer Emission Air Terminals.

The UL certification is an important achievement, particularly in major markets such as the United States and others where customers look to UL listings to validate a company’s dedication to extensive testing to back up key product claims.

Early Streamer Emission Air Terminals, commonly referred to as ESEAT, are designed to propagate an upward leader when conditions are ripe for a lightning strike. The upward leader races toward the downward leader of a lightning strike before the upward leaders formed by other objects, including standard solid rod air terminals. The accelerated leader start means a single ESEAT can effectively protect larger areas than a standard rod air terminal under similar conditions, which makes the ESEAT a particularly effective device for protecting large open-air areas such as industrial sites, public monuments and sports venues.

In a key finding, the testing that led to the OPR ESEAT’s UL certification confirmed the superior propagation speed of its early emission leaders under laboratory conditions.

The certification was achieved in February following a thorough process of evaluation in accordance with the NFC 17-102 standard. Throughout the testing, ABB collaborated closely with UL with tests undertaken at a UL Laboratories facility in New York and ABB’s COFRAC certified laboratory in Chassieu, along with work done at the ABB Bagnéres and Pau University laboratories.

The triggering time ΔT (μs) was measured as the average time gain calculated on 50 discharges at the instant of flashover achieved by the ABB OPR ESEAT compared with a single rod air terminal exposed to the same conditions in the laboratory.

The UL certification follows more than two decades of rigorous testing that ABB has performed to confirm and improve the ESEAT’s efficacy since commercial installations of the system began. These tests are conducted in many high-voltage laboratories able to produce sparks from 2 to 14 meters long and in-situ at our test platform on the Pic du Midi in France. Our testing is further evaluated by third-party companies such as APAVE and UL, in accordance with the test requirements of the NF 17-102 standard, to ensure the high standards of ABB are maintained.

The NF 17-102 is the worldwide benchmark for testing the key qualities of early streamer emission lightning protection products.

Why is lightning protection so important?

Lightning strikes the earth as many as 8 million times per day, or up to 100 times per second. It causes considerable damage and losses each year, not just in material or financial terms, but also in the immeasurable cost of human life.

The greatest dangers when lightning strikes an unprotected structure include fires, explosions and risks of electric shock due to the incredibly high voltage that lightning currents can carry as they pass through a building. These dangers present a significant risk to people in and around the structure. Individuals touching or even just standing near metal installations, such as a central heating system, may suffer electric shock or injury as the lightning current seeks the lowest resistance path to earth.

It is therefore vitally important to protect a structure from this risk of uncontrolled passage of lightning current – first of all to safeguard life, then to protect the material and contents of the structure from unnecessary damage.

For more information about the ABB OPR ESEAT product offering, please contact us at: stv.lpg@fr.abb.com and visit our earthing & lightning protection page.

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