Shielded enclosure-systems manufacturer Pepro recently announced the successful completion of lightning tests on its portfolio of wireless communications enclosures solutions, which remained operational while being struck with 1.3 million volts and 89,000 amps.

Pepro enclosures use the company’s patented Faraday Cage system — technology used to ensure that airplanes are not disabled by direct lightning strikes — to keep high-powered lightning from destroying valuable electrical equipment located at base-station sites, said Pepro President Vic Garmong. The latest tests were conducted by Lightning Technologies Inc. (LTI) in Pittsfield, Mass.

“We keep any of the lightning out of the enclosure itself, so that — when the lightning hits — it goes over the shell of the enclosure and into the ground,” Garmong said. “We’re the first company to totally test a completed integrated system — it had the antenna, the antenna cable, the tower, the shelter and enclosure, and the foundation. We hit it with over a million volts and up to 89,000 amps, and virtually no energy reached the inside of the enclosure."

Without protection offered with enclosures from Pepro, wireless communications sites struck by lightning typically go off the air and equipment sometimes worth millions of dollars must be replaced, Garmong said. Although Pepro enclosures are more expensive than other enclosures, such protection is worthwhile at sites supporting mission-critical communications or sites that cannot be accessed for months at a time due to seasonal inclement weather, he said.