Connection reliability is critical to the long-term integrity of a grounding and bonding system. Traditional compression grounding systems offer installation efficiencies over exothermic welding systems and are compliant with IEEE Std. 837.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) developed this standard as a means of qualifying permanently installed grounding connectors. However, under certain circumstances such as installations that are subject to corrosive forces or repeated freeze-thaw cycles, the reliability of compression grounding systems is often questioned.
If a grounding system is to last, the issues that put it in danger of failing must be identified and addressed. Risks to ground connectors include:
- The environment where the connectors are installed such as:
- Damage from construction equipment before burial or during later site renovations
- Electromotive forces from fault and lightning surges
- Freeze-thaw cycles
- Corrosive forces due to the presence of acids or salts
- Misapplication of the connector during the installation process
- Failure of the inspection process to find installation issues
IEEE resolved the dilemma of compression connector reliability when it released the IEEE Standard for Qualifying Permanent Connections Used in Substation Grounding (IEEE Std. 837-2002), which is more stringent than the preceding version of the standard (IEEE Std. 837-1989). Meeting these new requirements guarantees that a connector – whether exothermic or compression – possesses the long-term performance characteristics necessary for the most demanding grounding applications.
Or check out our time comparison video demonstrating the benefits of compression grounding vs. exothermic: