December 17, 2017

Integrity, innovation and industry

HHK Earthing and Lightning Protection Systems Managing Director, , Mr. Helmut Hermann Kanwischer (HHK)

HHK Earthing and Lightning Protection Systems, the biggest lightning protection and earthing contracting company in Southern Africa, is well positioned to address the Lightning Protection, Earthing and Surge Protection challenges that companies in mining and other industries face.

 One of the biggest oversights in lightning and surge protection is poor installation practices by non-certified and unaccredited companies. Poor installation practices can render a mine’s lightning protection system ineffective or weak, exposing workers and critical electronic equipment to damaging and dangerous lightning flashes and surges.

HHK Earthing and Lightning Protection Systems, the biggest lightning protection and earthing contracting company in Southern Africa, is worried about the costly effects of poor installation of lightning protection and surge protection systems, an area which, it has noticed, is ignored in most mines. HHK is therefore, advising mines in Africa about the importance of upholding the required standards in installation of lightning protection, earthing and surge protection systems.

Through an interview with African Mining Brief, the company’s managing director, Mr. Helmut Hermann Kanwischer (HHK), stresses: “Lightning and surge protection ensures the safety of employees. In South Africa, the Mine Health and Safety Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) call for mining companies to prioritize the safety of their employees. For this reason, it is important to be in compliance with the various SANS standards in the installation of lightning and surge protection devices. We have to bear in mind that the effectiveness of a lightning protection system is as good as its installation and the reliability of the devices utilized.”

Complete turnkey solutions

HHK is ready to render its extensive expertise in the installation of lightning and surge protection systems to mines in African countries. With 41 years of experience, HHK has built a reputation as the first resort provider of turnkey installation solutions to different industries. The company provides complete turnkey solutions in the following areas:

  • Structural lightning protection systems for both industrial and domestic projects, including all mining plants.
  • Provide risk assessment and protection level reports.
  • The performance of soil resistivity surveys so that an earth can be designed to exact electrical specification rather than by physical dimensions, based on the Wenner and fall of potential methods.
  • Resistance test measurements on installed earthing systems for structural lightning protection and electrical earthing systems.
  • All installations in strict accordance with SANS Code of Practice 10313 (2012) in conjunction with SANS 62305 and IEC Standards.
  • Supply and install high voltage lightning conductor cable for Protection Levels 1 – 4.
  • Designs of lightning protection and earthing systems for structures, substations, computer and data systems, exposed power lines, etc., including approval and stamped drawings by SANS and ELPA (Earthing Lightning Protection Association).
  • Surge protection to electronic equipment and computers, etc.
  • Maintenance tests on lightning protection and earthing systems on all existing structures and mining plants, etc.
  • Issuing of Certificates of Compliance (COC’s) on all structure lightning protection and earthing systems.

Edge over competitors

HHK has four things that give it the edge over competitors: sufficiently resourced, credibility in the industry, hands-on management and steadfast passion.   

  •  Sufficiently resourced

With an employ of 130 with diverse skills, 45 light pick-up trucks and the latest equipment in the game, HHK is sufficiently resourced to handle projects of different scales in mining and other industries. “We tap into our capabilities to address the specific needs of clients. We don’t flinch from challenges. We know that every client’s requirements are different, and we strive to find a solution,” says Kanwischer.

  • Credibility

Underlining HHK’s devotion to quality, HHK has undertaken processes to comply with best practices in lightning, earthing and surge protection, since 1976.  It was awarded the SABS Quality Management System listing in 1987. Kanwischer serves as a member on the various SANS/IEC committees/working groups for lightning protection, Earthing and Surge protection Standards. Recently, HHK got the nationwide approval and accreditation of the Earthing and Lightning Protection Association (ELPA). All the company’s twenty contract managers, designers, estimators and their managing director achieved accreditation for the exam which was held at the ELPA training centre in Midrand.  Kanwischer says: “ELPA accreditation is important as it underpins our reputation as a credible service provider.”

  • Hands-on management

Kanwischers’ hands-on approach ensures that projects, from to commissioning and post-installation maintenance are well tended. In true German style, he meticulously keeps track of the finer details of a project which potentially have implications on the quality of the service offered. “We do not compromise on quality. We know that our service is central to protecting people’s lives in various industries that we serve,” he stresses.

  • Steadfast passion

 Having the same management since establishment has ensured that HHK’s passion for quality service delivery in lightning and surge protection is steadfast.  Through Kanwischers’ vision, innovative thinking, unrelenting determination and will-power, the company continues to flourish and build trust amongst clientele in various industries throughout Southern Africa.

Projects in mining

HHK has eight branch offices which enables it to serve customers in diverse markets throughout the region. Mining projects constitute 56% of the company’s order book. HHK has successfully delivered projects in different commodities to respective client’s satisfaction. Husab (Uranium) mine in Namibia is amongst one of the largest projects in which HHK has been involved in, in recent years. The company is currently working with various mining companies in South Africa and across the African continent.


It’s been a long, eventful journey for Kanwischer, since he started HHK in 1976 from humble beginnings. It is incredible to believe that HHK, which is now a household name in lighting protection, earthing and surge protection, began from a modest garage, even by standards back then.   HHK is well positioned to continue serving different industries devotedly in future.


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