ELCOME dear friends of protection and control engineering. A dream becomes reality. From now on it is possible to carry out our protection and control commissioning and testing on every beach on planet. The protection and control equipment of the 380 kV substation in Preilack (where is Preilack?) can now be tested from the Maldives or, alternatively, from Cuban sandy beaches in Varadero. Precondition is actually only one has adequate Wifi and SIPROTEC DigitalTwin.
With the big headline:
"Virtual testing of SIPROTEC 5 protection devices in the cloud"
and the new SIPROTEC DigitalTwin in the pocket, Siemens awakens hope for the final breakthrough. The official product page from Siemens states:
"The new innovative cloud based SIPROTEC DigitalTwin offers comprehensive test of your SIPROTEC 5 devices as part of the energy automation system with high efficiency, performance, security and availability 24/7 from everywhere without any hardware. Three steps to success:
1 - Upload your engineering data and your automated test cases.
2 - Simulate and test your energy automation system in the cloud.
3 - Get test reports of your engineered system"
What's the matter?
First of all, commissioning and periodic-testing of protections systems must clearly continue on site. Of course, with SIPROTEC's DigitalTwin only the virtual representatives of the real physical protection devices are tested. This can be very helpful in the planning phase or for training purposes, but it can not replace a real test of the "RealityTwin". Detractors now could say:
In addition to the "real" protection devices to be tested so far, there is now a need for testing of digital twins. This will probably be a huge fight for the new "back office jobs".
The opposite is the case: with DigitalTwin, there are indeed some really meaningful innovations for the engineer. We were already able to test DigitalTwin and will show you our first experiences with the new family members.
What's possible with DigitalTwin of Siemens?
DigitalTwin provides a digital clone of a true SIPROTEC device browser-based in the cloud. This twin has the same functionality and, according to the manufacturer, reflects the almost exact performance of the original device. It is now possible to perform certain checks on individual or networked twins. Place and time no longer matter, you do not have to go on site. The following scenarios will be covered in the future:
🌐Visualization: Operation and performance simulation of a device
🌐Training: Operators can learn device handling without touching a real relay
🌐Test's: virtual pre-test / protection test for checking communication, logic and protection functions, for example by means of process data simulation / signal generator
🌐Fault Analysis: Simulation of the protective behavior by playing real COMTRADE events from the system without real relays and without additional testing device (feature still under development)
🌐DIGSI 5: Online testing with the DIGSI (VPN)
A first insight
In the following we show you a first insight into the world of DigitalTwin. First, we run the home page.
A quick click on the login button and we can log in.
There are now several variants for two-factor authentication to choose from, we have decided on the Google and need to confirm via smartphone.
And we are in it. Although our device, a 7UT82 transformer protection, is already listed, we will show you shortly how to import a device.
First you create a sim-file and a teax-file of the desired device in advance. Simply right-click on the device in the DIGSI5 browser, select Export, select the target format and create the two files one after the other.
In the next two steps, both sim and teax files are imported into DigitalTwin. The sim-file is the simulation data format and is already sufficient to visualize and test the device. The data exchange format in the form of the teax-file is then for instance for the proper routing and mapping.
After successful import our relay is listed and we can call the routing matrix with the original binary outputs.
And there he is already, our digital twin. On the left side of the picture we can see the signal generator with which we can simulate the supply of currents and voltages. By activating the parenthesis symbols, identical amplitudes can be generated for all three phases by entering only the first phase as a substitute. In the case of the angle values, it works in a similar way, here a clockwise rotating field is automatically generated and only the output angle of phase 1 is specified. If unbalanced values are needed, the parenthesis symbols can be deactivated accordingly.
The playback of original fault records in Comtrade format is currently in progress. Thus, it is then also possible to test real recorded and also time-varying signals on the twin.
The visualization of the protection relay on the right-hand side is amazing: both display and function keys are fully functional. Like on a real relay we can control the relay menu and display all the information.
Here are the operating measurements, as expected the current values of the signal generator are displayed.
Now we do the test and feed the differential protection relay one-sided. It follows, as expected, the trip of the protective relay with the well-known behavior of the real physical relay.
A promising topic with a lot of potential. Future benefits like:
🌐Possibility to simulate and validate product features
🌐 Faster connection of new systems thanks to shorter project durations
🌐Reduced OPEX with shorter downtime for higher availability thanks to better pre-check (including patches)
🌐Efficient, scalable, hands-on training
🌐Quick and realistic error analysis through easy reproducibility of the behavior of products and systems
will definitely do an important job. In a further post we will look more closely at the possibilities via VPN from DIGSI5.
I wonder where the journey will go. Maybe someday the time will come when digital twins replace their real siblings. We would then only copy virtual software relays to universal industrial PCs. Is DigitalTwin a first small step in this direction?
What do you think? Feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org