Embedded design for substation automation

Moxa chose Intel CPUs for its monitoring and control solution for power substations, so energy customers get a large number of local area network (LAN) and serial ports, and can run pre-installed operating systems, like Linux, Windows WinCE 6.0, or XP Embedded.

10/29/2009


As power substations transition from analog to digital communications, they need integrated communications and control systems for managing various equipment, and a high level of I/O capacity and flexibility within their communications infrastructure. Moxa engineers took their experience with industrial serial communication and combined it with Intel's CPU technology to build an "industrial off-the-shelf" computer system that stands up to the extreme environmental conditions of the power substation.

Utility operators are looking for reliable monitoring solutions that perform many control functions in a single, secure box. "Instead of dedicated communication units, some power substations still use separate control units with proprietary, non-integrated data acquisition, analysis and handling mechanisms," says Moxa European business development manager Hermann Berg. "These aging units can be highly susceptible to frequent communication shutdowns, complicated maintenance procedures and may not maintain stable and reliable operations."

Moxa wanted to build a platform for substation automation that could handle a large number of local area network (LAN) and serial ports while withstanding high temperatures in a fanless, 1U standard rack-mount form factor. "We also had to meet rigorous electromagnetic compatible (EMC) testing requirements for IEC 61850-3, a specification governing communication networks and systems in substations," says Berg. The result was an IEC 61850-3-certified, 18-port, embedded computer designed to service the communications traffic generated by as many as six Ethernet ports and 12 RS-232/ RS-485 ports.

The Moxa design team chose Intel's mobile product line to power its new rack-mount embedded computer because it offers high levels of computing performance while enabling a fanless solution. "With Intel processors, our energy customers have the computing headroom to run pre-installed operating systems, like Linux, Windows WinCE 6.0, or XP Embedded, in addition to executing many protocol stacks, protocol conversion routines and data pre-processing algorithms needed to monitor and control power systems," says Mark Liu of Moxa.

The new power substation automation system, dubbed the DA-681, has some additional design features to address power and heat concerns. "Our purpose-built L-type heatsink takes heat to the side rather than the top or bottom [in this] this stackable computer," says Berg. To further decrease power consumption, the DA-681 also automatically throttles back (reduces) the operating frequency of the processor, if the system runs hot, through the use of Moxa-designed BIOS features.

Moxa also added an environment for developing application software: a ready-to-run software platform based on energy-industry standards "with easy-to-use serial communication technology to significantly reduce system development effort and time," says Liu. "This is particularly helpful for power automation system integrators, as they no longer need to develop the network from the basic hardware layer."

Intel's development environment and processor road map helped Moxa speed new product development by an estimated 30 percent, says Lui. Benefits of using Intel architecture processors are:

• The processor's low-power consumption supports a high working temperature.
• The visibility and availability of Intel processors and chipsets with long life cycle support permit
Moxa to offer a five-year standard product warranty and to "support installations around the world for as long as customers need it."
• The use of Intel architecture processors in Moxa's modular DA-681 and DA-682 (2U rack-mount) units also allows utility operators to swap out modules as needed.

- Edited by Renee Robbins, senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk

 





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.