Sep 4, 2018

10 questions for Dr. Fred Steinhauser


EARTfelt Welcome dear friends of protection and the control engineering! The networking of our readers, ie. the networking of developers, engineers, suppliers, operators, sellers, programmers, students and young and old is the most important thing, a strong network is the basis of mutual success. That's why we launched our new series "10 questions for: ...". For the fourth time, we introduce a driving player in the protection and control engineering world.

In our new post of our highly interesting series we introduce Dr. Fred Steinhauser. Many will already know Him, but by no means all. We start with 10 questions to Dr. Fred Steinhauser.

Fred Steinhauser
Dr. Fred Steinhauser

Fred Steinhauser

studied Electrical Engineering at the Vienna University of Technology, where he obtained his diploma in 1986 and received a Dr. of Technical Sciences in 1991.

In 1998 he joined OMICRON, where he worked on several aspects of testing power system protection. Since 2000 he worked as a product manager with a focus on power utility communication. Since 2014 he is active within the Power Utility Communication business of OMICRON, focusing on Digital Substations and serving as an IEC 61850 expert.

Fred Steinhauser is a member of WG10 in the TC57 of the IEC and contributes the standard IEC 61850. He is one of the main authors of the UCA Implementation Guideline for Sampled Values (9-2LE). Within TC95 of IEC, he also contributes to IEC 61850 related topics. As a member of CIGRÉ he is active within the scope of SC D2 and SC B5.

Let's start with 10 questions for: Dr. Fred Steinhauser

1. When and where were you born?

1960 in Feldkirch, Austria. Very close to the current headquarters of OMICRON.

2. Why did you become an engineer?

My father was a mechanical engineer and it impressed me even as a child, what he was able do himself without help from others. Early on, my interest and talent for technical matters became obvious. Electronics was "sexy" in the 70s and a technical college was opened almost on our doorstep. Passion, the environment and the opportunity did fit together.

3. Which university did you go to?

Vienna University of Technology, Faculty of Electrical Engineering. At the time, the chosen subject was called "Industrial Electronics and Control Engineering".

4. How did you come to the protection and control engineering?

That was only when I joined OMICRON in 1998. There I learned then that my professor in power engineering at the university (Prof. Herbert Stimmer) had been a luminary in the field of power systems protection. I also found the topic in the script, but for us electronic guys this chapter was no duty. At OMICRON, I quickly got into the matter on the job, especially as a product manager for various protection testing modules. Automation and control hardly played any role at the beginning of my time an OMICRON, but since I soon had to deal with communication and protocols, I also came to this field.

5. What was your biggest personal success at work?

That the subject of IEC 61850 at OMICRON has found its own home in the ​​"Power Utility Communication" business and has also become an economically relevant factor for the company. And that OMICRON is the world leader in testing tools for IEC 61850.

6. In retrospect, would you do things differently?

You always know better in hindsight, but it mostly fits in retrospect as well. Maybe I should have joined OMICRON a little earlier, I would have had the opportunity.

7. Where do you see the protection and control engineering in 2028?

The fiddling with ever more sophisticated protection algorithms that want to get everything out with just a few measurement data from one measurement location (such as distance protection) has ended. There are smart protection concepts that fully build on communication and include data from various measurement locations. The protection systems adjust their function to the ever-changing network configurations and load conditions, so they are adaptive. They accurately recognize the fault location and thus offer a high degree of selectivity. The measured values and status information are digitized as close as possible to the location where they are captured and made available to any subscriber via the communication network. The individual protection functions are no longer locked in metal boxes and tied to their screw terminals, but encapsulated in software modules. Many of these software building blocks run together on a computer and form a centralized protection system, e.g. for an entire substation.

8. What is your life motto?

The most desirable goals can not be achieved on the path of least resistance.

9. What can you give or advise to other engineers?

During learning (and we learn lifelong) never say: "I'll never need that later anyway!" A broad knowledge of many fields enables creative solutions and increases opportunities in professional life.

10. Have we forgotten an important question that we should have asked you?

Would you wish for more female protection engineers who want to implement unconventional protection concepts?

Many thanks to Dr. Fred Steinhauser