The earthing system – an invisible lifesaver

Perhaps it’s happened to you before? You shake someone's hand or touch an object and get an "electric shock". Tiny electric shocks like this are uncomfortable but harmless. "Real" electric shocks, however, are highly dangerous and can cause serious injury. A hidden system protects against this danger – the earthing system.

 

The terms "earthing" and "earthing system" refer to all the measures for establishing a connection between an electrical system and the ground on which we stand. We determine whether you need an earthing system for your construction project based on legal and normative specifications, thus providing you with a decision-making basis. Taking into account local conditions, your requirements and existing systems, we plan a reliable earthing system and derive the necessary measures. The earthing system can fulfil the following purposes:

 

  • Protection against electric shocks
  • Support for the effect of the protective equipotential bonding
  • Support for the effect of the functional equipotential bonding
  • Earthing the lightning protection system
  • Potential control for the building

Protection
from electric shocks

In order to prevent accidents caused by electricity, we ensure that conductive parts that are accessible are not live even when they fail. We use a fault protection system, which we implement using protective bonding, automatic shut-down or protective earthing. The latter represents a protection system that dissipates the residual current and by doing so prevents injury to persons or animals caused by electric shock. Part of this protective earthing system is comprised of the main protective earthing terminal. It allows for the electrical connection of multiple conductors for earthing purposes, thus connecting the protective equipotential bonding conductor, earthing conductor, protective conductor and functional earthing conductor.

 

"Protection through automatic shut-down" means that electrical systems have to automatically shut down within a specific amount of time as soon as a residual current occurs. The basic precondition for this is the professional earthing of each electrical device, i.e. the device must be connected to the earth over the protective earthing conductor (PE). If the current discharges through this conductor, the residual current circuit breaker (RCD) recognises a difference within a very short period of time, is triggered and hence switches off the power. A well-planned, correctly functioning and well-maintained installation therefore forms the basis for protecting against electrical shocks.

 

Mitarbeiter am Computerarbeitsplatz bei der Planung einer Erdungsanlage.

Protective and
functional equipotential bonding

Potential equalisation allows us to reduce the potential difference (the voltage) between accessible conductive parts, thus making sure both points have an approximately equal potential. As a result, an electrical voltage can no longer be measured.

 

If "protective equipotential bonding" is provided, all simultaneously accessible conductive parts are not only connected to each other, but also to other conductive parts in the building (e.g. a heater) and to the main protective earth terminal. This creates a connection to the earthing system and brings the entire system down to a uniform, defined level, which is the earth level. This step ensures preventive protection against electric shocks by minimising all voltage differences. The combination of equipotential bonding and the earthing system thus creates an effective protection system for your building or facility.

 

If we use a potential equalisation for a purpose other than electrical safety, it is referred to as "functional potential equalisation". We fall back on this for reasons of electromagnetic compatibility, for example, to ensure smooth and trouble-free operation or for internal lightning protection. If we have also planned external lightning protection in the context of lightning protection planning for a building, the electricity must be discharged into the ground if lightning strikes. For this to work, the lightning protection system is connected to the earthing system in the form of a functional earthing.

Projektbesprechung mit einem Plan auf dem Besprechungstisch.

Potential control
for buildings

When lightning strikes, the electrical potential in the surrounding area is increased, with it being highest at the entry point and then dropping steeply like a mountainside. With the help of a potential control, this potential increase is flattened in a specific area of an accessible space, which prevents the occurrence of dangerous step voltages. In order to discharge or distribute the current that occurs, we implement a control earthing, amongst other things. These are installed around an earthing and implemented in the form of ring earthing.

Erdungsplan

Our knowledge
for your protection

As you may have seen from the explanations above, earthing, equipotential bonding and lightning protection cannot always be considered separately, but form a single complex system for protection against accidents caused by electricity. In order for the described systems and safety mechanisms to be effective, all the components need to be sufficiently dimensioned and matched.

 

Our planning and calculation provides you with a well-thought-out concept which takes into account both local characteristics and the requirements of the installations and buildings and pertinent regulations. From the selection of the materials to the positioning and connection of the individual components together, we deliver wide-ranging experience in the planning and calculation of earthing and lightning protection systems as your perfect partner.

 

Elektroingenieure bei der Erdungsplanung mit Kabel in der Hand.

Our services at a glance:

  • Planning of earthing systems in accordance with applicable standards and regulations
  • Calculation and dimensioning of earthing systems
  • Measures for potential equalisation
  • Corrosion protection
  • Calculation of requisite conductor and cable cross sections
  • Selection of suitable materials
  • Risk management according to DIN EN 62305 Part 2
  • Lightning protection planning
  • Extension and modernisation existing systems
  • Documentation

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