Chemical Plant – Gulfport, Mississippi
Dear Mr. Kaiser:
Until recently, I was Project Manager at a large chemical plant in the southeast US. Following up on our discussions over the past 15 years, I would like to confirm the outstanding performance of the lightning protection system your company installed on our plant.
This plant is located on the Gulf Coast. We had a high incidence of lightning that was reflected in our plant reliability. We looked at several different types of lightning protection systems, including the Lightning Master streamer delaying system based upon NFPA 780, conventional (Franklin) lightning rods, early streamer emitting (ESE) systems and charge transfer or dissipation array systems.
Based upon our evaluation of NFPA 780, we could see no advantage to installing a conventional lightning rod system. Because of the nature and construction of our plant, most structures would have been considered to be self-protecting. There would be no benefit secured by installing conventional lightning rods, as the structures themselves already performed the functions of strike termination devices and main and down conductors. We already had a good plant grounding system, and, as you are aware, it is almost impossible to secure a permit to penetrate grade anywhere in the plant. Your system offered the advantage of simply installing your streamer-delaying air terminals on the existing structures, and using the existing structural steel and grounding system. We did not have to add conductors or change our grounding system. This saved a considerable amount of money, while still securing the benefits of streamer-delaying technology. Additionally, we had experienced direct lightning strikes within the “zone of protection” described in NFPA 780, a problem we have not experienced with the Lightning Master air terminals.
We did not judge as valid the science behind the charge transfer or dissipation array system, And, of course, we did not want to employ ESE technology, as if it worked as advertised, it would have attracted lightning, not a good idea in a microprocessor controlled plant.
After completion of phases one and two of your lightning protection program, the plant lightning outage rate dropped from approximately 3.5 – 4% to 1 – 1.5%. That is a significant reduction, both in equipment damage and down-time costs. Further reducing outages will be a process of filling in inadequately protected areas, replacing components in high corrosion areas, and installing surge suppression on problem circuits.
After the installation was completed, several company personnel were skeptical of the performance of the “fuzzy ball” lightning rods. Perhaps the strongest indication of the effectiveness of your system was when it did not work. In one particular area of our plant, we had a particularly corrosive environment. That caused the stainless steel dissipation electrodes at the tip of the air terminals to corrode away, turning the air terminals into the equivalent of blunt lightning rods. We immediately started experiencing damage to microprocessor equipment in that block of the plant. You worked with us to change the air terminal material to titanium, going so far as to change NFPA 780 to allow its use. When we changed out the air terminals to titanium, the problems stopped.
Thank you again for your honesty in accurately comparing the benefits of each type of lightning protection system, and in helping us to secure what we feel is the best performing and most cost-effective system for us.
– Steven J Phillips – Project Manager
Black Mountain Disposal – Midland, TX
After dealing with multiple lightning protection companies, Lightning Master is truly a step ahead of the competition. The tech is there. The service is there. The relationship is there. What more could you ask for?
– Jack Martin, West Texas Area Manager @ Black Mountain Disposal LP
Lightning Master’s invoicing is detailed and easy to follow. We had used two other vendors prior to Lightning Master, and neither of them had the level of detail nor follow up that Lightning Master provided. Add in the various publications and reputation within the field, our property coverage underwriters were happy to hear that we had their system at all of our facilities.
– Michael Chu, Chief Operating Officer @ Black Mountain Disposal LP
BORCO Terminal – Freeport Bahamas
I work at the BORCO terminal in Freeport Bahamas. We have a couple dozen external floating roof tanks, and have installed the rim array/RGA system a dozen years ago. The system works. Our quantity of lightning strikes reduced significantly. About a year ago, we started construction on two new external floaters, and compared the rim array/RGA vs the dissipater/MAGs system. The dissipater/MAGs system was cheaper, easier to install, and Operations was ready for a change because the RGAs require a lot of inspection and maintenance, and the rim array system is not robust. On top of that, there are plenty of articles saying the dissipater works, is better than, is equal to the rim array system, depending on the article you read.
We have had them installed on the two new tanks for about 6 months, and so far zero complaints. The customer using the tanks have not utilized the tanks significantly, so I can’t say much about the performance, maintenance, etc yet. I can tell you that this summer, we had a storm pass through and a tank (with rim/rga) south of the new tanks (with dissipater/MAG system) got struck and caught fire. In the same storm, minutes later, a stack north of the new tanks got struck as well. Not sure if this is coincidence, mother nature, and/or modern engineering. I only know that I am glad our new tanks weren’t struck with lightning. In summary, Lightning Master gave me a great price, world class service, and with minimal usage time, I have no complaints. My only regret is we choose to glue/bolt the MAGs to the top of the pontoons/top angle. I would recommend welding all connections if you can get a hot work permit on the tank.
— Nate Werner, BORCO Blue and Yellow Expansion
Whiting Oil & Gas
Master Electrician Jimmy Anderson summed up their experience succinctly with his observation,
It is unbelievable how much better these things work with the static drains in the tanks. We now plan to retrofit all existing and to equip all new radar sensor equipped fiberglass tanks with ITSD’s regardless of lightning and static considerations. That way, we’ll only pay for one benefit, but enjoy two.
The attached data sheet contains information of my analysis from June 2006 – August 2009. The data collected and static electricity measured is a set static and lightning chart from Central Oklahoma and was taken from XTO’s incident reporting system. The total cost, for the most part, contains only equipment replacement costs. Most estimates did not include labor, lost product and down time. This is why I believe our actual costs were well over $500,000 per incident.
We placed lightning protection using a formula that included Lightning Master Corp. air terminals and various equipment on 12 sites that had been struck multiple times and we also bonded and grounded most sites in the strike pattern area. On some of the sites where we had fiberglass tanks, we also installed the in-tank static drain dissipaters. Since 2009 after protecting the sites, none were struck again.
I also believe we went from 6 – 8 strikes per year to 1 or 2 strikes at most. The 1 or 2 per year are sites not yet fully protected with Lightning Master’s solutions.
This is all the information I can supply. If someone would like to talk to me, feel free to give them my office number. I’ve fielded a lot of calls over the years regarding this topic.
Thanks for breakfast and have a good day.
— Ronald “R.J.” Goodman, CSP, XTO Energy, EHS and Operations Training Manager
I am writing this letter to recommend the services of Lightning Master Corporation. During the past year CWR has worked with LMC on multiple lightning protection projects for our saltwater disposal wells in the Eagle Ford Shale. We previously used one of LMC’s competitors but switched services after one of our tank batteries was struck by lightning and burned down. LMC offers high quality services and I can say that we have been more than satisfied with their work and customer service.
— Chase Cator, Project Manager, 830-515-7406
Boardwalk Pipeline Partners
For the past 5 years Lightning Protection has been one of the four pillars of our reliability initiative. Lightning Master has designed and installed their protective devices at more than 30 of our most critical assets. As a result we have seen our asset availability improve tremendously with expensive and resource consuming lightning damage outages almost nonexistent.
— Mike G. (903) 235-4317