elcome dear friends of protection and control engineering. In the last week the yearly "Hannover Messe" took place. In addition to the focus on "Industry 4.0", there are many innovations in the area of energy supply. As always there were uncountable vendors. For example, manufacturers such as Woodward, Omicron, Schneider Electric, ABB, Sprecher Automation, Wago, Phoenix Contact, Weidmüller, Bender, Dold, EAW and Siemens were just some of them. We took the opportunity to inform ourselves on site about the innovations in the field of protection engineering. In the following we have compiled our highlights for you.
After a felt half-marathon through the halls of automation technology, we discovered the exhibition stand of the company Sprecher Automation. At first glance, we could discover no innovations. But as often in life, a second look and a conversation is worthwhile. Sprecher presented us their line differential protection device SPRECON-E-P which communicates via an ethernet-based active connection. As a result, the economically integration of existing and highly available communication infrastructure is increasingly used for the protection interface of the line differential protection. A special algorithm ensures the correct synchronization of the times and thus compensates the latencies of the network.
In a long-term practical test with 14 routers and a distance of more than 180 miles, as well as an IP network with real utilization, the necessary synchronization accuracy of 10 μs was maintained in each test case. These technical possibilities are no longer great news and should be widely known.
What is new, however, is the possibility to test this line differential protection function with two Omicron CMC test devices without additional GPS. In addition, it is not necessary for a test engineer to monitor the respective Omicron CMC test kit at both ends of the line. So it can be tested with minimal effort in systems where GPS is non available. How exactly the workaround expires, we will introduce in another post.
The next booth could not be overlooked. Unfortunately, despite its size, the protection part was more or less limited to two small computer terminals. Nevertheless, there were also some interesting innovations here. Just a few weeks ago, Siemens introduced the new SIPROTEC DigitalTwin.
What is SIPROTEC DigitalTwin?
A cloud-based solution for simulating protection devices. Finished DIGSI parameter files of up to 5 devices are exported and loaded into the cloud. Subsequently, input and output signals can be simulated, analog measured values can be predefined and communication links such as IEC61850 and GOOSE or self-developed logic functions can be tested. Via VPN tunnel it is also possible to access the web interface of the DigitalTwin or download fault records via the normal Digsi software. This provides a successful tool for troubleshooting or training purposes.
What's next with DIGSI V5?
Many of you are always looking forward to know more about the next version of V5 and which new features will come with the next DIGSI V5. The last version 7.8 was released at the end of June 2018 which means that Siemens is slightly behind its plan. That's why we checked this point right away.
Version 7.9 will likely be released in May or June. But in August or September the 8.0 will start. Two important new features are two new protective devices. The cost-effective 7SJ81 and the long-awaited decentralized busbar protection. We are curious.
Phoenix Contact also had a very large booth. Here we were able to admire the test strip FAME in live and in color and got further information about the Swiss NSE protection device taken over at the end of May 2017 as well as the integrated company Mauell IEC-technology from Velbert in April 2017.
As a major player in the field of protection and control technology, Schneider Electric also has a spacious booth. As in the case of the manufacturers presented here, the protection engineering is only subordinate. After Schneider Electric presented their "new" P30 series with a better processor and a more recent power supply a few years ago and many asked themselves:
What's new about that?
finally a really significant innovation was presented.
For the international market, the compact P5 series, which is specially designed for medium voltage, is being introduced. Two different housing variants are offered. The devices appear in a completely new front design, can be configured with built-in arc protection and are now available. The new front design should also be used in the P30 devices soon. You get a nice impression in the following product video of the manufacturer.
The absolute highlight of the P5 series from our point of view: the devices can be pulled out of the housing after the green handle has been applied without the circuits being opened. Since the parameter file of the device is stored in the housing, all adjustment parameters are transferred to a newly inserted replacement device. Perfect.
Schneider exclusively presented a P139 with a new front operating unit with a large color display, various function keys and USB port. The new interface for the P139 and P439 devices will probably be released in May. In autumn, a version will come out as a replacement for the devices with the 2-line text displays so for example for the P132.
The new front with color display offers some interesting features.
🌐 In any case, the USB port with Type 2 socket is practical, which in our opinion is more reliable than the mini-USB port of the small P5 devices.
🌐 The local remote button has received a new logo, as well as the confirmation button. A newly introduced home button should now always return to the start page, which has not worked properly in our test on site.
🌐 In addition, several measured values can now be displayed on the large display parallel to the system single line. If desired, these can also change their color when the limit value is exceeded. The representation of the current switching state should be able to be highlighted in color, for example, to detect whether a section is under pressure or de-energized.
🌐 Also new are 4 context-sensitive function keys at the bottom of the screen as well as the 6 function keys, which did not exist with P139 and P439 until now.
Unfortunately, the creativity of Schneider Electric's exterior design has reached its limits. As soon as you go to the menu, the well-known 2-line menu structure appears. On the now much larger color display, this looks like a step back decades. As 20 years ago, you are still forced to fight laboriously with hundreds of keystrokes through the menus. While it is understandable that sticking to the existing menu structure may be convenient for users with years of experience, it would have been possible to implement a tree structure just like in Easergy Studio. The development is not yet complete and maybe even a revised menu design will be implemented until the official release.
In any case, we are looking forward to the first substations with the finally "really new" devices.
Omicron is currently setting the standard for the commissioning and testing of IEC61850 switchgear with StationScout. As Cyber Security becomes more and more important, Omicron's StationScout provides the answer to the security question.
Since these are very exciting topics, we will publish separate articles in the next few days.
We are already looking forward to the Omicron Anwendertagung which will take place this year from the 4th to the 6th of June in the "Kongress Palais Kassel". For all who can not be there:
We will report again in detail!