Since the introduction of renewable energy, the electrical system has become more complicated in the generation, distribution and transmission of electricity, so do the power grids. In fact, today’s grids have become more connected, expanded, and sophisticated. On the other hand, utility companies not only have to assure reliability of their system, but also the service resilience. Therefore, the management of the substations in the power grids must be managed with next-generation technologies.
Power grids, being the distributing agent of the whole electrical system, consist of multiple substations. In conventional electricity supply model, substations were simple to manage. Today, due to the uses of diverse sources of electricity, such as solar energy, natural gas, nuclear, and wind, the substations have been equipped with computing and networking equipments for enhanced management. However, protection and control devices have not upgraded and computerized, and in fact, many of the substations are still relying on legacy relay devices. The conventional devices are inadequate today for management to predict and detect potential failure or anomaly in a particular substation.
Therefore, the concept of centralized protection and control of electrical system has been introduced to enhance the safety, reliability and capacity of the power grids. Management can remotely monitor all the connected substations without being physically on the site to inspect the conditions.
To realize centralized protection and control of substations, Lanner collaborated with partners in EMEA region to come up with an industrial gateway computer to connect multiple substation networks. The gateway will leverage existing network protocols to collect and format confidential data from relay devices for remote terminal units (RTUs), and the data will be transmitted directly to SCADA. Customers can then implement their own software to perform data analysis.
IEC-61850 & IEEE 1613 Compliance
The gateway computer must be compliant with IEC-61850 & IEEE 1613 standards to meet the required robustness in substation environments.
ECC (Error Correction Code)
Hardware equipments in substations may generate high volume of data, and to assure data integrity, the gateway computer shall have its RAM with ECC correction mechanism.
High-performance Processor in Open Architecture
As mentioned, substation devices may generate large volume of data. To centralize the management of the data and devices in substations, the gateway computer must possess high-performance processor to consolidate multiple workloads for various protocols connecting substations and support real-time hypervisor. Also, in order to eliminate compatibility and interoperability issues, the optimal gateway computer shall be based on open architecture, such as Intel x86 platforms.
Wide Operating Temperature
Extreme temperature may occur within power grids. Thus, wide range of operating temperature is necessary to assure operability.
Since power grids will most likely expand and reduce, it is ideal to have some I/O expansion, like PCI-Express socket for additional I/O functionality in the future.
Redundant Power Supply
Power anomaly may occur in substation environments, and thus redundant power
Lanner introduced LEC-3340 as the hardware gateway computer for the collaboration. LEC-3340 is a 3U rackmount gateway featuring Intel® Xeon® E3-1505L V6, Core™ i3-7100E, or Core™ i5-7442EQ (formerly Kaby Lake-H) processor to offer outstanding performance. As a substation gateway, LEC-3340 is EC-61850 and IEEE 1613 compliant. With high performance and robustness, LEC-3340 meets the requirements for centralized monitoring and control of multiple connected substations.
With rich I/O design, including 4 x PCIe slots, 4 x RJ-45 GbE LAN ports, 5 x USB 3.0 ports, 2 x 2.5” swappable drive bays, DP/DVI display port, IRIG-B, and 2 x isolated COM ports, LEC-3340 offers interoperability with the equipments in substation environment for data collection and transmission to RTUs. Customers can implement their custom software onto LEC-3340 to enable remote visibility and management in order to predict and monitor potential system failure.