Getting in Motion with IEC 61850: Three Essential Practices
Substation automation based on IEC 61850 is providing tangible benefits in electrical systems around the world. The principal advantage of implementing the IEC 61850 standard is interoperability between intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) comprising the substation network. Protection, control and supervision algorithms create automated processes enabled by consistent and predictable exchanges of digital signals over Ethernet between IEDs across substation networks as defined by the standard.
IEC 61850 technologies impact personnel who engineer and test protection and control systems. They must supplement their knowledge of protection theory and conventional relay applications with network troubleshooting skills in digital substation environments. In addition to developing new expertise, they need proper tools for the job of building and maintaining IEC 61850 architectures.
Whether your organization is already online with IEC 61850 implementations, or is actively planning substation automation initiatives, or is merely taking a new look to see how far digital protection and control technologies have advanced, these three practices assure good results with decisions and investments:
1. Study the IEC 61850 standard
Substation automation is a multifaceted subject. The IEC 61850 standard comprises numerous associated standards for technologies related to the time, speed, and qualities of digital signals.
Involve key engineering staff and devote time for a thorough reading of the IEC 61850 body of standards. Conduct research and collaborate over which standards apply within system designs. Two important standards to review include:
- IEEE 1588 for network clock synchronization specifying PTP (Precision Time Protocol)
- IEC 62439-3:2016 for seamless recovery from a network failure specifying Parallel Redundancy Protocol (PRP) and High-availability Seamless Redundancy (HSR)
The upfront investments of time and energy pay off when selecting IEDs and other products to use in IEC 61850 applications. Armed with knowledge, require vendors to provide third-party certification proving their products meet the chosen standards.
2. Build a laboratory
A quality laboratory designed around IEC 61850 technologies is an invaluable investment for many reasons:
- Provides workspace to evaluate hardware and software products in realistic scenarios when performing acceptance testing.
- Enables system design modeling, IED/network performance evaluations and cost/benefit analyses.
- Facilitates hands-on workforce training and aids in the development of operational procedures.
Whether planning, building, or maintaining applications of IEC 61850 in digital substation networks, a well-furnished laboratory is essential for proving technologies, upskilling workers and troubleshooting anomalies.
3. Make the commitment
Protection engineers and personnel who test relays have more influence on the success or failure of substation automation initiatives than technologies. Furnish them with time and space to grow their knowledge of IEC 61850 concepts and equip them with the proper training and tools for working in digital protection and control networks.
Align protection engineering, network engineering and protection testing teams early in the process of developing IEC 61850 implementations to avoid costly mistakes and last-minute confusion when bringing digital substations online. Collaborate with managers and other key personnel from within operations on any matter that could potentially impact instituted standards by the adoption of new settings development and testing philosophies based around the IEC 61850 standard.
Using the right tools for the job
Understanding the IEC 61850 standard and applying its concepts in substation automation implementations can be challenging. Workers must develop knowledge and skills with network topologies and need special equipment that helps them to know what is going on in network traffic. Numerous factors can cause issues that alter the quality of sampled values, GOOSE and MMS signals; accurately identifying and addressing issues whether due to power system events or network anomalies is mission critical to protection and control duties IEDs perform.
The Doble F6880 Digital Network Analyzer helps protection engineers and relay technicians pinpoint root causes of system issues efficiently. This lightweight and easy-to-use instrument is paired to powerful software with intuitive monitoring, recording and analytical tools that clarify the work of digital substation network diagnostics.
The benefits of IEC 61850 become tangible with careful investments in technology, personnel development, and facilities. Gaining requisite knowledge of the standard, developing a laboratory, and aligning operations with objectives improves outcomes. Utilizing proper diagnostic tools like the Doble F6880 Digital Network Analyzer tremendously improves troubleshooting digital substation networks. Workers who are well-equipped and well-trained overcome complexities during commissioning and routine maintenance which protects investments in digital substations over the long term.
Find out how the Doble F6880 Digital Network Analyzer helps teams succeed with IEC 61850.
- Product: F6880 – Digital Network Analyzer