SMART DAT CONTROLER® SUPERVISOR, smart sensors and IoT technology for lightning protection of critical structures

A revolutionary lightning protection system, with intelligent sensing and IoT technology, which provides unattended and on-line information on the status of the lightning conductor, the continuity of the down conductor, information on the lightning strikes received in the installation and the earthing resistance value.

A lightning protection system (LPS) is only effective when each of its parts is functioning. The lightning rod must capture the discharge, especially in the case of lightning arresters with an Early Streamer Emission (ESE) device, which base their effectiveness on a studied and controlled discharge point. The down conductor must carry the discharge current safely to earth, where it must dissipate quickly. If the arrester fails, if the down conductor is cut off by accident or vandalism, or if the earth resistance is too high, the entire validity of the system is compromised.

The digital transformation resulting from IoT (Internet of Things) technology is bringing about major changes and improvements in lightning protection. By integrating algorithms and Big Data in automated control systems, the complete optimisation of LPSs is achieved. The Smart Earthing and Lightning Solutions product range is Aplicaciones Tecnológicas S.A.’s commitment to transform lightning protection installations through smart technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI), with the aim of always ensuring the correct operation of lightning protection systems.

Lightning strikes on structures can cause human casualties, as well as unacceptable loss of public service, loss of irreplaceable cultural heritage and other losses of economic value. In public buildings and industries, a poorly functioning protection system can cause occupational hazards. On the other hand, in unattended installations, such as telecommunication antennas or photovoltaic plants, maintenance is essential, and remote data collection saves considerable costs.

SMART DAT CONTROLER® SUPERVISOR, the intelligent lightning protection system, comprises a lightning arrester with Early Streamer Emission (ESE) device and remote monitoring via IoT. The SMART DAT CONTROLER® SUPERVISOR’s intelligent sensors monitor key parameters of the lightning protection installation such as the operating status of the ESE air terminal, down conductor continuity and earth resistance. In addition, this novel LPS also provides information (number and characteristics) of the lightning strikes that are intercepted by the lightning rod with the ESE device.

With its communication system and digital control platform, SMART DAT CONTROLER® SUPERVISOR can be configured and operated remotely, thus providing real-time information from its sensors together with automatic upgrades and updates. Therefore, the application of smart sensors, telecommunications and digital platforms to lightning protection is a valuable optimisation of the operation, corrective and preventive maintenance, and, in general, of the overall control of LPSs.

SMART DAT CONTROLER® SUPERVISOR Early Streamer Emission (ESE) air terminal

Lightning arresters with ESE devices in external protection systems are responsible for intercepting lightning discharges at a controlled point. The DAT CONTROLER® REMOTE air terminal is based on the physical characteristics of the lightning strike as it approaches the earth, providing a controlled discharge point within its protection radius. The main parameter of an ESE air terminal is the advance time or advance time on strike, calculated in accordance with the standards for these devices, the maximum value of which is 60 microseconds.

The integrity of lightning arresters is essential to ensure that the protection coverage provided is the one required in each particular case. For this reason, the current standards (UNE 21186, NF C 17-102 and NP 4426) include ageing and lightning current tests before obtaining the ESE advance time. Furthermore, once installed, these same standards establish that the head must be checked periodically to ensure its proper operation. However, given the height of the installation and the difficulty and cost of access, the reality is that lightning rods are not checked as regularly as they need to be. In this sense, the daily monitoring carried out continuously and remotely by the DAT CONTROLER® REMOTE air terminal is an important improvement in diagnostic and routine maintenance operations.

DAT CONTROLER® REMOTE 60 is not only certified according to the standards that apply to it, but has a number of additional features beyond these:

  • Extended lightning current stress test: This test ensures correct operation of the arrester after repeated high energy discharges (more than 200kA).
  • Operation in wet conditions (insulation greater than 95%).
  • Daily self-diagnosis and IoT connectivity: DAT CONTROLER® REMOTE 60 is a smart lightning arrester that self-assesses its status and sends the result of the self-diagnosis via remote communication.
  • Certified for use in explosive atmospheres (ATEX).
  • Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)

SUPERVISOR UNIT, the monitoring unit of SMART DAT CONTROLER® SUPERVISOR

The SUPERVISOR UNIT monitors the status of the key elements of the SMART DAT CONTROLER® SUPERVISOR system, also managing communications.

IoT technology combined with Artificial Intelligence allows direct monitoring of SMART DAT CONTROLER® SUPERVISOR, collecting local data to verify operation and even adjust protection measures selectively to the location where it is installed. This data, collected by intelligent sensors at strategic control points, facilitates corrective maintenance actions while preventing the occurrence of problems thanks to AI.

Remote monitoring using smart sensors and IoT technology provides the following information:

Self-diagnosis of SMART DAT CONTROLER® SUPERVISOR components:

  • DAT CONTROLER® REMOTE® Early Streamer Emission air terminal
  • Earthing resistance
  • Down conductor continuity

Full system verification after lightning strike with real-time reporting.

Intercepted lightning strike information:

  • Date and time
  • Amplitude
  • Duration
  • Charge
  • Specific energy

Alert of theft, vandalism, degradation or accidental breakage of the down conductor.

The results of the self-diagnosis performed by the SUPERVISOR UNIT are sent via M2M communication to a receiving device (phone, tablet, computer), via secured VPN. The information can be viewed on a web portal and mobile app, along with other customised monitoring notifications, alerts and historical data. The web platform also supports multiple user profiles.

Protection from the destructive effects of lightning can be further refined with the SMART DAT CONTROLER® SUPERVISOR system. Its smart technologies for continuous monitoring and IoT connectivity enable self-diagnosis, configuration and remote operation of the equipment. Through smart sensors, telecommunications and digital control platform, SMART DAT CONTROLER® SUPERVISOR is the most advanced lightning protection system on the market. This comprehensive LPS provides real-time information, continuous improvements and automatic updates, optimising corrective and preventive maintenance, which in turn minimises the costs and requirements associated with periodic checks.

For more information about the features and applications of this new technology, please contact us at the following link.