Wednesday, March 30, 2011

North America - IEC 61850 is riding the leading edge of progress

Progress of IEC 61850 has arrived in North America according to the March 2011 Newton-Evans Research report “Market Trends Digest, March 2011”.

The report found out interesting figures, e.g., “Within the Substation, IEC 60870-5-103 was the most frequently used protocol (40%). IEC 61850 (31%) fell close to serial protocols Modbus (31%) and DNP3 (33%), however, 24% indicated that they plan on implementing IEC 61850 within the substation by YE 2013. If that becomes the case, IEC 61850 will become the most used protocol by far.

Click HERE to download the report [PDF, 1 MB].

IEC 61850 Training opportunities

NettedAutomation GmbH offers several public training opportunities in 2011.

Please find the current schedule for 2011:

Frankfurt (Germany)

04.-06. May 2011 [*****STILL SEATS AVAILABLE*****]
14.-16. September 2011

3 day IEC 61850/61400-25 Seminar/Hands-on Training (NettedAutomation) with Measurement IED and free evaluation software (DLL etc. fully functional - free to take home).

Toronto (ON, Canada)

10-13 May 2011

4 day IEC 61850 Seminar/Hands-on Training in cooperation with Kinectrics

Cincinnati (OH, USA)

21-24 June 2011

4 day IEC 61850 Seminar/Hands-on Training in cooperation with Kinectrics

Shanghai (China)

05. September 2011

1 day Developers Workshop for IEC 61850 similar to the successful event at Myong Ji University, Yongin (RP of Korea)

Contact us for details please.

Nashville (TN, USA) at Remote Conference

20.-21. September 2011

2 day Seminar (NettedAutomation) on Power System Communication covering IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25, DNP3, NIST Interoperability Roadmap, Smart Grids, ...

For further information and updates visit:

NettedAutomation is confident, that their experience and service would meet all your expectations! You would get first-hand, very comprehensive, vendor neutral and up-to-date knowledge, experience, and guidance; learn how to reach interoperability of devices. NettedAutomation has trained more than 2.300 experts from more than 60 countries from more than 500 companies – all over.

SystemCorp’s IEC 61850 SCL ICD Designer available for Online Purchase

The “ICD Designer” is SystemCORP Embedded Technology’s Intelligent Electronic Device (IED) Capability Description designer application. This ICD Designer application is used to define and edit substation configuration descriptions for IEC 61850 through a graphical user interface to create an XML formatted file.

Correctly speaking, the “ICD Designer” (as a product name) is a tool that has many functions for creating “IID Documents” – “Instantiated IED Description”. IIDs have been defined in edition 2 of IEC 61850-6 (SCL).

The tools supports also the instance specific binding of the model to the real world data points, e.g., referenced by DNP3 or 101/104 points. The tool uses an XML document with the TypeTemplates. Any extended model can easily be added to that XML document to define your own model. It is really that easy.

Click HERE for an example of the binding (fourth slide).

The full version of the ICD Designer is now available for online purchase.

Click HERE for more information on the product and how to order online.

Conformance Certificate for SystemCorp's IEC 61850 Device using Stack PIS-10 on Beck IPC Chip

SystemCorp has implemented their stack software on the Beck IPC Chip SC143 in their IED "IEC 61850 WebCAN Substation Monitoring & Control System". The IED is a multifunctional monitoring and control system.

KEMA (Arnhem, Netherlands) tested the IEC 61850 conformance successfully:


Click HERE for a copy of the certificate [PDF, 1MB].

Test has been conducted according to the PICS, PIXIT, TICS, and MICS Documents that can be accessed through:

Details of the IED can be found here:

This is a major step towards the widespread use of the IEC 61850 stack from SystemCorp for small devices. The IEC 61850 software and the IEC 61850 communication behavior is almost completely implemented on the Beck IPC Chip SC143. Products that use the same chip with the software used for the conformance test would - by default - pass most crucial parts of the IEC 61850 conformance test.

This allows a short time-to-market IED development for all devices that apply the Beck IPC Chip.

Please contact SystemCorp for more details.

A flyer on the Beck Chips can be found here:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

GPS Time Synchronization - A Single Point of Failure?

The GPS time synchronization is one of the crucial underlying solutions for time synchronization in power system information sharing: in substations, between substation, and wide area applications (with or without applying IEC 61850).

A paper published by SEL discusses the issue of GPS time synchronization - and especially when it may become a single point of failure in a power system.

Click HERE for a paper that discusses the issue.

IEC 61850 - Common Format for Event Data Exchange

Event data can be logged in an IED by a Log according to IEC 61850-7-2 (IEC 61850-8-1, MMS Journal). The Log can be queried by time (before, between, after). This query returns MMS messages.

Logged event data in an IEC 61850 IED could now additionally be retrieved by an XML file called "COMFEDE":

Common Format for Event Data Exchange (COMFEDE) for Power Systems (IEEE Std C37.239™-2010).

This file may optionally rely on the information models defined by IEC 61850 Logical Devices, Logical Nodes, DataObjects, DataAttributes. An example of a file is shown here:

<Entry entryId="4294967292" timeOfEntry="2011-03-11T14:38:13Z">
  <EntryData t="2011-03-11T14:38:12.423834Z">
   <DA name="phsA.cVal.mag.f" val="1023" valType="xs:double"/>
   <DA name="phsB.cVal.mag.f" val="1022" valType="xs:double"/>
   <DA name="phsC.cVal.mag.f" val="1019" valType="xs:double"/>

Even that standard is an IEEE standard, it could be understood as an extension of IEC 61850 - it extends the use of the information model, information exchange and system configuration language.

From a 40,000 ft point of view it is a kind of a SCSM (Specific Communication Service Mapping). I guess it is also easy in an IEC 61850 client to transform the ReadJournal response messages according to MMS into an COMFEDE file - it is the same payload carried.

Click HERE for more information.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

President of German Federal Network Agency recommends IEC Standards for Smart Grids

Matthias Kurth, President of the German Federal Network Agency, is very supportive of IEC standards. In a short video he stated that "IEC can help put the innovative potential of industry on the right track so that we don't have island solutions: proprietary solutions that can hinder the growth of the market".

IEC can, according to Mr. Kurth, "help us to bring the different industry players together on common platforms which are transparent, open, and which are the basis of the individual innovation ... we need not to wait to renovate our own infrastructure [editor: meant is the energy sector] in Europe."

Click HERE to read the report and watch the video posted at the IEC website.

IEC has listed the crucial standards for Smart Grids in an Excel table. IEC 61850 seems to be understood as THE most crucial standard series for Smart Grids.

Click HERE for the Excel table.
Click HERE for the Smart Grid page.

Mr. Kurth is right in requesting open standards as basis of innovation. The key innovations in the energy market needed will be the many SMART applications that keep the energy supply at a high level of availability - IEC 61850 and other IEC standards can help to support this objective! The easier it is to USE these standards the faster we can reach smart(er) applications.

One innovation is the simple IEC 61850 API developed by SystemCorp (Perth, Australia). The API can be used by application programmers immediately to develop SMART innovations for the energy market.

Developers Workshop for IEC 61850 at Myong Ji University, Yongin (RP of Korea) was successful

A successful Developers Workshop for IEC 61850 Client/Server and Publisher/Subscriber Applications was conducted at the Myong Ji University, Yongin/Korea, on 11 March 2011.

The interest was beyond expectations: 45 experts from all over of the RP of Korea attended the Workshop:

The attendees followed the instructions of Karlheinz Schwarz, who used the black board to explain the approach of IEC 61850 and the use of the simple API (Application Program Interface):


He explained the use of the API for different architectures (HW and SW) ... questions were discussed in English and Korean:


Professor Hyuk Soo Jang from the Myong Ji University (left) helped to explain the API in Korean.

The attendees used the PCs of the lab and partly their own notebooks to run the API evaluation software. They exercised to configure the IEC 61850 server and to check the effect of SCL file modifications ... a great tool to work with.

After the workshop attendees told me that they have learned a lot about the standard, the stack software, the API, how easy it is to develop applications, and how to use the Beck Chip (with IEC 61850 @ Chip) in many different architectures. One crucial result was, that they figured out that the Beck Chip is a complete PC or PLC that can be used to implement applications (in C, C++ or IEC 61131-3) using IEC 61850 API. The Chip is much more than just a communication chip!!

The objective of the training was:

Students will learn how to use an API for IEC 61850 (IEC 61400-25) for Client, Server (C/S), Publisher, and Subscriber (P/S) Applications. The API provides an IEC 61850 Stack (included in a Windows DLL) that is used by application software written in C, C++ and C#. Prior to the event, students will receive the DLL and sample executable and source code for the applications. Students that bring their own Notebooks will be trained to modify and extend the application examples. After the training sessions students can continue to write their own application software.

Click HERE for the complete program of the workshop [pdf].

It is planned to repeat this workshop and provide more help for developers of IEC 61850 applications - the open and easy to use IEC 61850 platform is a crucial basis for the fast-to-market innovations of sustainable interoperable applications in the energy market.

It's never been easier or faster to get your applications speak IEC 61850.

IEC TC 57 to take action in Smart Grids

The IEC TC 57 has proposed a new work with the title "System interfaces and communication protocol profiles relevant for systems connected to the Smart Grid".

The ballot closes on May 09, 2011.

Click HERE for the proposal.

The proposal states: "In order to achieve interoperable interfacing between the components, the consistent, cost efficient and unambiguous integration of the new domains into the IEC TC57 methods of energy management, architecture, data models and protocols is crucial."

The most prominent IEC TC 57 Data Models and Protocols are those defined in IEC 61850! New Domains are, e.g., Industry, Home and Building Energy Control Systems. My guess is that the various components in these domains have to communicate directly (interoperable) with IEDs in power systems. The Client/Server communication in IEC 61850 seems to be the most useful communication model applicable in the communication between power system IEDs and IEDs in the new domains. The application profile according to IEC 61850-8-1 requires just native TCP/IP !!

Since IP networks are (to be) installed everywhere, it is easy to apply IEC 61850-8-1 without any change in most applications. Many existing IEDs like the COM.TOMs from Beck IPC and others could be used right away! They can be used as IEDs for monitoring and control in the new domains or they can be used as gateways between IEC 61850 and protocols in the new domains like Backnet, Profibus, Interbus, EtherCAT, CAN, Modbus, ...

This will accelerate the application of IEC 61850! ... in order to make systems more energy efficient and smarter by seamless:

  • System configuration (IEC 61850-6),
  • Information (IEC 61850-7-4xx, IEC 61400-25-2), and
  • Information exchange (IEC 61850-7-2)
  • Communication protocol (IEC 61850-8-1).

What is the ACSI?

The ACSI is the "Abstract Communication Service Interface" defined in IEC 61850-7-2.

The ACSI was invented during a meeting of some experts that met here in Europe at the beginning of the project IEC 61850 (between 1995 and 1997). The reason was quite simple: We had TWO proposals for protocol profiles: (1) MMS TCP/IP and Ethernet (2) Profibus FMS. Each solution was supported by some 50 per cent of the members.

What to do now? I was deeply involved in the fieldbus standardization. We had so many fights since the late 80s ... which damaged the reputation of the standardization in the early 90s. I suggested NOT to fight in IEC 61850 but to define an abstract service model that could be mapped to MMS and to FMS. The first was specified in IEC 61850-8-1 and the second in IEC 61850-8-2. Even no official IEC draft has ever been published for IEC 61850-8-2.

Later we had a similar discussion in the project IEC 61400-25-4 in IEC TC 88 (Wind Turbines). We agreed to follow the approach of the abstract model of IEC 61850-7-2, to use the 8-1 MMS mapping, to add mappings for OPC XML DA, IEC 60870-5-101/104 and DNP3, and to define a concrete webservice for each abstract service of the ACSI.

The services of the ACSI and some explanation could be found here:

Click HERE for C/S and P/S
Click HERE for Data Acquisition
Click HERE for Webservices
Click HERE for MMS

By the way, the services in IEC 61850 are very general ... applicable almost everywhere!

My observation is, that (with some exceptions) ALL applications of IEC 61850 apply the MMS mapping ... that does not mean that everybody likes MMS ;-)

Most people using IEC 61850 do not care about MMS - and ALL should not care!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Do you know what a PIXIT or a TICS is?

The conformance of devices with IEC 61850 has several aspects that are mainly specified in the following documents:

PICS Protocol Implementation Conformance Statement:
Which Communication services are supported ...
Click HERE for a complete example (all examples shown here are for A specific IED: RTU of SystemCorp); the stack software from SystemCorp offers more.
PIXIT Protocol Implementation Conformance Extra Information for Testing:
Restrictions and Limitations found in a device ...
Click HERE for a complete example
MICS Model Implementation Conformance Statement:
Models supported ...
Click HERE for a complete example
TICS Tissue Implementation Conformance Statement:
Which tissues have been implemented:
Click HERE for a complete example
SICS SCL Implementation Conformance Statement:
Which aspects of SCL have been implemented in a Tool

Please ask your vendor of the IEDs or tools (you want to apply) for these documents. They provide you a good level of details you need to know when building multi-vendor systems.

Excerpt of a PICS:


Excerpt of a PIXIT:


Excerpt of a MICS:


Excerpt of a TICS:


Excerpt of a SICS (Template from IEC 61850-6):


For smooth system integration it is quite crucial to read and understand these documents!!

Tutorial of the 5 IEC 61850 Gurus in Sydney was very successful

After the Meeting of the IEC TC 57 WG 10 (Core IEC 61850) in Noosa (Queensland, Australia) four IEC 61850 Gurus of the Working Group 10 went down to Sydney to meet another IEC 61850 Guru to conduct a 3 day Tutorial and hands-on Training on 07.-09. March 2011.

The tutorial was a great Success! 48 attendees from 15 Utilities (!!) and 5 from 4 other companies attended the four half-day sessions in four parallel streams from Monday noon-time to Wednesday noon-time.

After this event it is likely that Australian utility engineers are ahead of the market - in most countries utility engineers are - more or less - watching the vendors commissioning and "turning on" TURN-KEY substation automation systems in their substations!! Usually - to my observation and experience - utility engineers have NO IDEA what they got delivered. Australian utilities are quite serious in getting deeply involved in specification, engineering, system integration, ...

More to come.

Some photos from the WG 10 meeting and from the event in Sydney:


Professor Valeriy Vyatkin (Auckland) presents IEC 61499 ...


Convenor of WG 10 (Christoph Brunner - one of the 5 IEC 61850 Gurus)


Alex Apostolov (another IEC 61850 Guru) discussing requirements for definition of Logic in IEC 61850


Reflections during the excursion in the Noosa River Everglades

IMG_3708 IMG_3718 IMG_3709

The Gurus (Christoph and Alex) reflecting the quality of the Native GOOSE ... Wine

IMG_3800 IMG_3793 image

The other 3 Gurus discuss and enjoy during the reception (from left):
Joerg Reuter, Rod Hughes and Karlheinz Schwarz

IEC 61850 at Smart Grid Symposium and Exhibition

NettedAutomation GmbH (Karlsruhe/Germany) will present the latest developments in products for IEC 61850 during the

Symposium and Exhibition - Power Distribution Systems of the Future:
Novel solutions of the information and communication technology
as the backbone of Smart Distribution

12.-13. April 2011

Wissenschafts- und Kongresszentrum
Schlossgraben 1
64283 Darmstadt

organized by
HEAG Südhessische Energie AG
NTB Technoservice

Click HERE for information on the event and registration:

What NettedAutomation GmbH will present at both 12:

  • Lite Stack implementation for IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25
  • IEC61850@CHIP - THE most efficient way to let devices speak IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25
  • IEC61850 DLL - THE most efficient way to let PCs speak IEC 61850-25
  • SCL Configuration Tool (System Configuration Language)
  • Ready to GO! ruggedized devices like Gateways, RTUs, generic controller [programmable in IEC 61131-3 (CoDeSys and ISaGRAF) and C/C++], ...
  • Experience and international trends in IEC 61850
  • Training material

Objectives of the event:

  • Exchange of experience between the European and German lighthouse projects.
  • Information of the public, of vendors, grid operators and other stakeholders of the energy market, of universities and research institutes about the running lighthouse projects
  • Discussion of the broad dissemination of the project results and how to overcome the existing barriers.

IEC Standards like IEC 61850 play a key role in the future Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Systems. Several presentations and a workshop deal with THE Global accepted and used standard IEC 61850 in the context of Distribution Systems.

Friday, March 4, 2011

IEC 61850 certificate for ABB's 800xA Automation System

ABB's 800xA Automation System has been successfully tested for compliance with IEC 61850 recently. Bringing the world of process and power automation together is more than just a "nice to have". It is key to cost saving.

"The IEC 61850 standard ... has lowered the investment barrier for customers to integrate the process and power devices on their plant floors. The demand for integrated process and power automation is growing in traditional markets that are heavy energy users, such as Oil and Gas, Power Generation, Pulp and Paper, Minerals and Metals industries.

By integrating power and process systems on the common 800xA platform, customers optimize the design and performance of their electrical and automation systems and see additional benefits in reduced maintenance, engineering and overall lifecycle costs. According to ARC, typical savings can result in a 20% reduction in CAPEX (capital expenditures) and OPEX (operating expenditures) by integrating these two, usually separate, automation infrastructures."

IEC 61850 is THE crucial "link" within power automation systems and between power automation systems and any other automation system - it is likely that it will impact the whole process automation world. Why? Because it meets many crucial requirements in the cooperation of automation and SCADA devices by defining information objects like "circuit Breaker, XCBR" or "electrical measurement of 3-phase system, MMXU", a system configuration language (SCL) and information exchange services (read/write, reporting and logging events, control, real-time exchange, file transfer, ...). And it's based on native protocols like Ethernet, TC/IP, MMS, ... Any device that has Ethernet and TC/IP connectivity could use IEC 61850.

Click HERE for the ABB press release.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Let YOUR Application speak IEC 61850 in hours

IEC 61850 has been implemented in hundreds of devices. The UCA Users Group lists some 181 certified devices with server functionality, 3 certified clients, and 2 Merging units (as per 2011-03-02; UCAIug Testing Quality Assurance Program).

Almost all of these devices provide a certain functionality like protection or control. Usually the devices do not provide a simple API (application program interface) that can easily be used by an application program written by a programmer. There is usually nor access to "IEC 6150 Stack". Some test tools may provide restricted access by manually entering values for a data attribute, or using a configurable simulation or providing a CSV (comma separated values) file for a profile. The evaluation licenses are usually quite restricted.

In contrast to this quite limited access to an API there is a free available server and client DLL (from SystemCorp) that runs for six (6) months. The DLL evaluation package comes with various client and server applications. The applications are provided in exe code and source code (C/C++ and C#). You have FULL control over the functionality YOU want to have for your client and server application.

Click HERE for details.

Any application YOU write could easily speak IEC 61850:


The following example shows the .Net / C# client application provided by NettedAutomation GmbH. The received sequence of values can easily be copied and pasted:


e.g., pasted into an Excel table and converted to a diagram:


Whatever you need - JUST program it ... or link the client and server applications to your real applications ... which may also be masters to any communication slaves like DNP.3, IEC 60870-5-101/103/104, Modbus, Profibus, CAN, ... This way you can easily and fast build your own GATEWAY. Just link the DNP.3 or 104 points to the DLL by YOUR IEC 61850 server application that is bound to corresponding Model. See next figure:


It is that easy. Just give it a try.

By the way, the API (and the underlying IEC 61850 stack) is also available on the embedded controller from Beck IPC for simple and FAST TO MARKET applications. All you program in C/C++ on a PC could be done on the Chip platform ... the Chip also supports IEC 61131-3 (CoDeSys) and soon ISaGRAF.

NettedAutomation offers public and in-house training courses using a comprehensive set of crucial evaluation tools - including the one shown here.

Triangle Microworks has very comprehensive IEC 61850 Test Tools

The 61850 Test Harness (one big package) has been divided in to three separate products, functionally extended and renamed to IEC 61850 Test Suite:

HammerIEC 61850 CLIENT to test IEC 61850 & 60870-6 servers; and validate GOOSE, Report, Log, Control, and File Services.

Anvil - IEC 61850 SERVER to test IEC 61850 & 60870-6 clients; provides GOOSE, Report, Log, Control, and File Services; and generate simulation data automatically, manually, or table driven.

SCL Forge – Substation Configuration Language (SCL) editor.

Click HERE for downloading a 21 day test license.