Meet the Next Generation Protection Testing Platform: Are You Ready to Go Further?
Protection system performance testing today has new meaning as renewables gain more share of power generation and cyberattacks become more pervasive and severe. But as much as relays and test practices have changed to date, they will only continue to evolve.
Implementing emerging technologies in protection engineering presents new operational challenges and pushes the limits of workforce experience and test equipment capabilities. Personnel must still test relays despite the impact of complex or unfamiliar situations inherent with bringing new protection and control technologies online.
Any given test environment might call for simulations with one-off requirements. Faced with the possibility of conventional, modern, or digital protection applications at any outage, test personnel resort to devising methodologies adapted from an array of instruments that may be well-suited for some purposes but limited for others.
These challenges may be preventing organizations from moving forward with the latest trends in protection. The combination of disparate instruments and varied test procedures invites errors, complicates troubleshooting, and produces data and results that become increasingly difficult to track.
Organizations considering improvements in their protection system testing program should think about the relationship between the test hardware and the test processes used in operations. Disconnected tools and methods could be compromising progress on achieving goals for optimizing performance testing and implementing advanced technologies.
Companies should pursue an interconnected platform of configurable hardware and software that can be introduced into their operations incrementally. Companies can reap three major benefits with this approach:
1. Uniform, situation-ready testing across the spectrum of today’s protection applications.
Testing electromechanical and microprocessor-based relays requires the right analog sources and logic for a range of devices and schemes. Testing in substation networks that are based on the IEC 61850 standard involves virtual simulations over Ethernet that involve sampled values and GOOSE. Performing tests in different environments should not necessitate purchases of different kinds of test sets. Instead, all-inclusive protection testing from a single platform is not only possible but eliminates the trap of complex workarounds and other costly operational headaches caused by a fleet of diverse instruments, accessories, and test procedures.
A single, universal platform solution can offer interconnectable hardware and software components that support analog and digital simulations while preserving and expanding the use of existing test procedures. Over time, test program operations will settle into a higher baseline level of performance making transitions to advanced protection and control alternatives more achievable.
2. Flexibility and power for your specific needs.
Relay testing can be as basic as verifying protection elements with steady state voltage and current injections, or as complex as dynamic system tests that involve multiple sources and logic channels to apply and monitor. Testing digitally is a different paradigm with simulations that involve power measurement and communication data transmissions with IEDs across substation networks.
Personnel who develop protection schemes and those who test relays need to be equipped with the right tools for the job. A comprehensive, universal platform solution provides test tools that are compatible with any analog or digital protection system as well as with instituted test procedures and operational processes. Whether during commissioning, acceptance testing or routine maintenance, a robust yet flexible single-platform test solution helps ensure consistency among personnel while offering flexibility to address the different situations they encounter daily.
3. A testing foundation that grows with you.
The protection testing landscape today may look quite different tomorrow, whether due to advancing technologies or a changing workforce, or both. Regardless, the expectation of protection and control systems to perform optimally in any given situation will not change. Maintaining installed systems while bringing new technologies online demands an ability to evolve without causing disruption.
A well-designed platform solution adapts as your needs change. Look for modular components and instrument designs that enable configurations to suit your present and future testing needs. Additionally, the test platform software should support future hardware enhancements seamlessly and provide you with flexible solutions for data management and reporting.
Where Doble fits in: Discover the F8000 Power System Simulators
Doble is fundamentally re-envisioning the delivery of value to professionals who test protection systems with the next-generation Doble F8000-series power system simulators. This new platform offers customers the opportunity to choose test instrument configurations that align with their specific needs.
Designed for flexibility, Doble F8000 instruments have different chassis sizes that accommodate a variety of standard arrangements of voltage, current and logic I/O modules. Each chassis features a 90 W battery simulator and a Command Module which provides instrument control, digital interfacing and interconnecting to other F8000 units. F8000 instruments are ready for use in any environment and can even be permanently mounted in 19-inch racks.
Test setup and troubleshooting is made easier with bright LED light rings on the analog ports of the modules that illuminate according to test parameters defined in Doble Protection Suite and Doble RTS™ software. The thoughtfully designed LED indications ensure correct test lead placements and path continuity of the connections. The LEDs also alert when sensing change-of-state conditions or the presence of test circuit or power source issues.
F8000 series Power System Simulators let customers use existing Protection Suite and RTS test procedures for seamless integration of this new platform into an existing equipment fleet. Adopting F8000 instruments does not force a change in training or operational practices. Additionally, external accessories for time synchronization are not necessary which reduces the overhead and complexity of system tests.
The modular approach Doble is taking to expand and enhance the F8000 platform ensures customers will have compatibility with latest offerings over time. Customers can adapt new techniques today on the F8000 platform and put themselves in a position to evolve their testing programs sustainably for the long term.
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