For years, power protective relays were integrated into control systems using Modbus, Modbus TCP/IP, and other specialty protocols. The release of the IEC 61850 communication standard in 2003 helped transform this connectivity for Power and Energy applications. For nearly 20 years, IEC 61850 has helped companies fully utilize Ethernet-based communications and realize gains in the performance and flexibility of power protective relays.
In today’s blog post, we’ll highlight other benefits companies gain in using IEC 61850 as well as share how you can seamlessly achieve IEC 61850 connectivity to Rockwell Automation® control systems.
Why IEC 61850?
IEC 61850 is an international standard for substation automation systems and defines the communication between substation devices. It has defined a structure for addressing the interoperability of intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) beyond the protocol level.
The setup of IEC 61850 has made it a vendor-neutral protocol, which is ideal for substation applications with devices from a variety of manufacturers. IEC 61850 equipment shares a common XML-based configuration language and utilizes a Data Model approach. This includes:
- Standardized services and device behavior models
- Standardized object models and naming conventions
- Standardized data meaning
- Self-describing object-oriented tags
Let’s take a closer look at that last component of the Data Model approach.
IEC 61850 supports an object-name structure that’s made up of the logical device and logical node, the data, and the attribute. The device is essentially telling the primary equipment what data it will send – all with a human-readable name. This kind of descriptive name minimizes the guesswork required of some specialty protocol networks, for which you would need to hunt through protocol manuals and eventually maintain Excel spreadsheets with correlated addresses for particular protocol mappings within a protective relay (we’re tired even thinking about it).
I tend to liken the descriptive tag names to those used in Studio 5000® applications. You may remember SLC™ 500 and PLC-5® applications that used tag names such as B3:0, N7:0, and F8:0. If you were troubleshooting an application and did not have a version of code with the descriptions, you spent hours tracking down what tag was responsible for what parameter. Now, with Studio 5000® software, you can use a descriptive tag name explaining what the point represents, such as BreakerOpenStatus, saving significant troubleshooting time and making code easier to read and follow.
As a whole, the Data Model approach coupled with using the latest Studio 5000® premier integration features brings benefits. We’ve heard of savings of up to 75% in configuration time, representing major reductions in setup efforts. With the ability to pull IEC 61850 objects and automatically create corresponding Studio 5000® tags, integration of protective relays has never been easier.
Additionally, this approach also helps ensure data integrity by confirming information isn’t lost as data is passed from the substation layer to the control system’s layer and on through to the application’s SCADA layer.
Other IEC 61850 benefits include:
- Integration of IEC 61850 using protective relays with Parallel Redundancy Protocol (PRP). This provides seamless network redundancy on a high availability Ethernet network, helping you achieve additional equipment uptime.
- The use of GOOSE messaging, which provides the ability to do high-speed interlocks between relays and automation equipment, and, in many cases, eliminates hard-wired I/O. GOOSE is a subset of IEC 61850 and a feature that is exclusive to the protocol.
- Highly accurate time synchronization for protection relay networks via IEEE 1588.
Solutions for Your IEC 61850 Application
Rockwell Automation has developed a resource that can help in the setup of your IEC 61850 application. The Rockwell Automation Library of Electrical Protection Devices provides a complete visualization standard for IEC 61850 applications and details how to integrate power protection equipment that uses that protocol or EtherNet/IP™ into PlantPAx® systems. This library helps reduce the overall setup and commissioning time. Meanwhile, the Intelligent Packaged Power solution from Rockwell Automation merges power management and control environments for increased visibility into your power application.
If you need to connect your Rockwell Automation® equipment to IEC 61850 devices, ProSoft Technology has high-performance modules to help, including an in-rack client solution for ControlLogix® systems. These are also supported within the Library of Electrical Protection Devices. Contact us to learn more about selecting the right IEC 61850 solution for your application.