Permanent marking trials in Grid and Primary Electricity Substations

Signature Materials has carried out marking trials on a large Grid type and also a Primary substation. The Grid station had been hit previously by thieves who stole the copper earthing strap which keeps everything earthed, vitally important when high voltages are present. The Grid stations take the electricity from the National Grid network to feed to consumers, typically involving voltages of 132kV, before transforming down via Primary and Secondary ( "Distribution") substation networks to 415/240V. Theft of the earthing material can cause serious power outage to the areas being supplied by the station, with disruption and possible financial losses due to damage caused by current surges.

Copper earth strap was marked using the Signature Materials propietary processes by David Arthur and Stuart Preston, utilising portable battery ( or mains) powered marking units which function outdoors, even during the light rain which fell. Over 340 marks were put down on all visible strap, giving the copper proof of location and traceability back to the individual substation, in the event of theft (or legitimate removal). Each mark includes the name of the owner, substation ID, postcode and is linked back to a national register held by Signature Materials ( and accessible by the owners of the copper, police, scrap yards/recyclers through a simple web based interface). The photograph shows typical copper "earth strap" seen in a Grid station similar to that marked in this trial.