Friday, May 30, 2014

Exhibition in Paris: SG Paris 2014 - From Smart Grids to Smart Networks, June 11-13

You are invited to stop at booth i4 at the SG Paris 2014 - From Smart Grids to Smart Networks, and see IEC 61850, IEC 60870-5-104 and Gateways in action:

com.tom -Smart Grid solution

The Exhibition & Conference start from June 11 to 13 in La Défense (Paris) – daily from 8:30h – 19:00h).

In France, Smart Grid technologies have been rapidly developing over the course of the past few years, with high stakes surrounding the roll-out of smart meters, and notably ERDF's highly publicized meter, Linky, and GRDF's Gazpar.

The Smart Grids Paris trade show is now one of Europe's leading events in the Smart Grids field, counting 3000 attendees, 70 exhibitors and almost 150 speakers.

Beck IPC, EBDS and NettedAutomation invite you to visit us at the SG Paris 2014 at the booth of EBDS (European Business Development Services) i4 and see our standard-based solutions for smart grids:

  • com.tom data manager with an integrated service router, switching functionality, various modems, and live data connection to the com.tom internet portal system.
  • IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25, IEC 60870-5-104, and IEC 62351 (security) are integrated to easily build gateways and manage your data.
  • Everything you are looking for - integrated in a single device!
  • Applications: Data Concentrator, System Monitoring, Asset Monitoring, Gateway, RTU, Interface to any process level devices, sensors and actuators, …
  • Examples of applications:

Access to the exhibition is free.

More about com.tom under
More about the fair under

See you there.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

VHPReady Website online

Das Industrieforum VHPready e.V. setzt sich für die Realisierung der Energiewende durch die standardisierte Vernetzung dezentraler Energieanlagen ein. Das Industrieforum VHPready e.V. leistet einen Beitrag zur Integration erneuerbarer Energien in den Energiemarkt und ermöglicht den Ausgleich ihrer Volatilitäten durch das orchestrierte Zusammenwirken dezentraler Energieanlagen. Der Standard VHPready und seine Zertifizierung gewährleisten das nahtlose, sichere und kostengünstige Zusammenwirken aller steuerbaren Komponenten und deren Kompatibilität und bilden die Grundlage für flexible Aggregationen dezentraler Energieanlagen zu virtuellen Kraftwerken.

Das Industrieforum hat seit einigen Tagen einen eigenen Webauftritt:

Click HERE for some discussion of the approach.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

IEC 61850-90-2 for the Communication With Control Centers

The Communication With Control Centers (from substations, power generation stations, and other sites) is usually based on IEC 60870-5-101/-104 or DNP3. The new part IEC 61850-90-2 will describe how IEC 61850 can be used for the above needs.

Experts from ERDF, Siemens, Solvay and RTE have published a paper that describes requirements, concepts and practical experiences related to the communication with control centers:

“Substation to control centre communication based on IEC 61850: requirements, concepts and practical experiences” (Cigre 2012)

”Featuring object-oriented data models and a standardized configuration language, IEC 61850 represents the state-of-the-art communication standard for substation automation systems. On the other hand, the control centres increasingly promote object-oriented data models and standardized interfaces for data exchange based on IEC 61968 / IEC 61970 (CIM – Common Information Model). For the interconnection of substations and control centres the use of generic signal-oriented communication protocols i.e. IEC 60870-5-101/-104 or DNP3 is still current practice. In order to overcome the limitations of those legacy protocols in terms of data conversions, elaborated data exchanges and proprietary configurations and to foster the use of a seamless object-oriented communication, IEC TC57 is extending the current IEC 61850 specification to close the gap between substations and control centres. The paper gives an introduction into the topic, presents the relevant use cases and derived
requirements. Furthermore it discusses communication and modeling aspects in regards of the use case specific requirements. These concepts are evaluated against industrial power system operator needs. Foreseen consequences for standardization and practical realization of projects are identified.”

The report concludes:

The experience from projects and systems in operation have proven the benefits of IEC 61850 substation to control centre communication.”

Click HERE for the full paper [pdf]

The Canadian Smart Grid Standards Roadmap and IEC 61850

“The Canadian Smart Grid Standards Roadmap” is a remarkable document that focuses on the real needs for the future of Smart Grid Technologies and standards.

It is no surprise that IEC 61850 is a key standard in this roadmap. The roadmap comes with a list of 17 recommendations on what to do in the future. Two of the six recommendations for Transmission and Distribution (T&D) systems refer to IEC 61850:

Recommendation T&D3:
To support Smart Grid interoperability requirements, the CNC/IEC should encourage the
adoption and application of IEC 61850 for the purpose of communications between
, between substations and control centre, and for transferring synchrophasor data.

Recommendation T&D4:
The CNC/IEC should encourage the development of guidelines and standards for utilities to
migrate from existing, commonly used technologies, to the architecture described in IEC
61850. At the same time, the CNC/IEC should recognize that the large, existing investment
by utilities in the older technologies will require gateway solutions and protocol converters
during the initial transition period.
• In addition, the CNC/IEC should encourage extending this standard to distribution
automation equipment and distributed energy resources

Other IEC TC 57 Standards are listed as well: IEC 62357, IEC 61970 and 61968 (CIM), IEC 62351 (Security), as well as IEEE 1815 (DNP3).

Click HERE for the full Roadmap [pdf, 0.9 MB].

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Want to see IEC 61850 in action? Attend the next Free Workshop

Beck IPC offers two Free of Charge Workshops end of May 2014 in German and in English.

The interest in applying IEC 60870-5-104, DNP3, IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25 … using products of Beck IPC is growing skyrocketing!

The third free of charge Workshop in German is scheduled for:

Datum: 27. Mai 2014
Ort: Wetzlar, etwa 70 km nördlich von Frankfurt
Zeit: 10:00 Uhr - 17:00 Uhr
Programm und Anmeldung (Deutsch).

the second free of charge Workshop in English is scheduled for:

Date: 28. May 2014
Location: Wetzlar (Germany), some 70 km north of Frankfurt
Time: 10:00 h - 17:00 h
Program and registration (English).

Registration information for both events can be found under the above links.

Karlheinz Schwarz (NettedAutomation GmbH) will conduct the workshop. You will learn a lot about the Standards and the many possibilities to apply the various com.tom platforms.

The attendees of the former workshops have appreciated the deep inside view in the standards and how they can be used.

See you there.

Process Data exchange – IEC 61850, DNP3, IEC 60870-5-104, and Portal Solution

The discussion about communication mechanisms and how to get access to the most crucial information is going on. It seems to be clear that there are different requirements for different applications that need to exchange information with a specific IED (at any hierarchy level). There is not a single size that fits all. Modern IEDs will support multiple protocols to support various needs.

One mechanism is using a cloud server – often called a Portal. A simple and beautiful solution is provided by the com.tom (communication to machines) IEDs offered by Beck IPC:



The com.tom IEDs are supporting multiple protocols like IEC 61850, IEC 60870-5-104, Modbus, DNP3, … and a Portal. See the following figure for some details (it shows the web browser connected to the web server at the com.tom):


The Input and Output signals (including those configured with IEC 61850!!) will automatically be made available at the Portal as soon as the com.tom is online (trough a router: by Ethernet, WiFi, GPRS, UMTS, …):


The Logical Device “PQSrvLDPQ” is visible in the Web Browser (first figure), on the Portal (second figure), in the IEDScout (see next figure), and in IEC 60870-5-104 (last figure):


The values are also accessible through IEC 60870-5-104 through a binding of the process values (coming trough Modbus) to 104 messages (configured by the WEB PLC on the com.tom):


The different possibilities serve various needs.

It is quite interesting to see such a simple IED supporting these many possibilities – even supporting security (openVPN, firewall, …).

More to come.

Progress in using IEC 61850 in California and all over

Some 12 years ago I have presented a paper “Seamless Communication with IEC 61850 for Distributed Power Generation” at the DistribuTech 2002 in Miami (FL):

“… The driving force behind the standardization is to effectively and efficiently perform seamless device data integration and sharing information based on a rich, fine-grained data-stream about the state of the “power world” in any given instant. Every node in the network would have to be awake, responsive, flexible, and – most important – interconnected with everything else: A distributed energy web. … It is not sufficient to develop distributed generation systems that only produce electric power. …”

Click HERE for a copy of the full paper on “Seamless Communication with IEC 61850 for Distributed Power Generation” presented at the 2002 DistribuTech in Miami (FL).

Now, just a few (12) years later you could see this vision to become a reality, e.g., in California and other places all over.

Crucial needs and suggested solutions (IEC 61850, DNP3, …) discussed in the USA and especially in California are documented in the following interesting papers:

Click HERE for the SGIP Paper: “Distributed Energy Management (DER): Advanced Power System Management Functions and Information Exchanges for Inverter-based DER Devices, Modelled in IEC 61850-90-7” [pdf, 1.1 MB]

Click HERE for the paper “CEC/CPUC Smart DER Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Strategies and Alternative Configurations” [Word, 1.7 MB]

Click HERE for the paper: “CEC/CPUC Candidate DER Capabilities: Recommendations for Updating Technical Requirements in Rule 21” [pdf, 1.2 MB]

It is interesting that the third paper refers to German experiences with distributed power systems: “ … For instance, most of the smaller DER systems could be pre-set with default values that may not need to change for many years. However, if the settings need to be updated, or new functions should be activate, or other communication capabilities are necessary, the utilities would not have to replace DER systems (as has occurred in Germany).
For this reason, the preferred approach to Rule 21 is that key DER functions, default settings for those functions, and basic communications technologies would be mandated but not necessarily activated. “

Web Services for IEC 61850: MMS/XER over XMPP?

Some 18 months ago I have reported on a standardization project within IEC TC 57 defining web services as a second SCSM (Specific Communication Service Mapping) for IEC 61850. In the meantime it seems very likely that a mapping to XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) will be used as the only mapping in the future IEC 61850-8-2.

The secretary of IEC TC 57 has presented a slide (slide 5) with the following requirements during a public event at the Hannover Messe 2014:

  • “Part 8-2 Specific communication service mapping (SCSM) – Mappings to web protocols
  • Comply with the new edition of IEC 61850-7-1, IEC 61850-7-2, IEC 61850-7-3, and IEC 61850-7-4
  • Support the existing application data model defined in IEC 61850-7-410, 7-420 and 61400-25-2
  • Identify which web services specification should be considered to deploy cyber-security, in conjunction with IEC TC 57 WG 15 work
  • complementary to the existing SCSM (8-1), not competing”

He reported on the status of work: “Konsens bei XMPP als Lösung” (consensus to apply XMPP as solution).

Click HERE for the complete presentation of the secretary of IEC TC 57 during the Hannover Messe 2014 [German, pdf]

MMS messages encoded in XML (XER – XML Encoding Rules for ASN.1, ISO 8825-4) may be used as payload of the XMPP messages.

What would that mean for IEC 61850-8-1 (MMS ASN.1 BER encoded messaging) implementations? First: the 8-1 solutions would continue to be used. Second: an additional ASN.1 encoding rule would add some software at the encoding layer … and finally the addition of the “transport or middle layer” XMMP would offer a new “transport mechanism”. That’s it.

This way most of the IEC 61850 related software (API, datasets, reporting, logging, control, system configuration language, modeling and models, …) would be used unchanged!

By the way, using ASN.1 XER in addition to BER has been proposed and discussed some 20 years ago within ISO TC 184 SC5 WG2. It was too early.

Since MMS is independent of encoding, there seems to be no (technical) question to using XER.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

E-Energy and Standards – German Experiences with International Standards

One of the crucial results of the six German E-Ernergy projects (2008 –2013) is this: Application of international standardized interfaces – mainly IEC 61850!!

A new 80 page brochure (in German) with the following title is available:

Smart Energy made in Germany
Erkenntnisse zum Aufbau und zur Nutzung intelligenter Energiesysteme
im Rahmen der Energiewende

Click HERE to download the brochure in German published in May 2014 [pdf, 3.5 MB]
Click HERE to download an interims report in English published in 2012 [pdf, 5 MB]

Many German engineers have contributed to the standardization in IEC and DKE: The results are INTERNATIONAL Standards.

There are Made in Germany Products implementing International Standards IEC 61850, IEC 60870-5-104, DNP3, … CoDeSys, WEB-PLC, …


and Peopleware Made in Germany:


Click HERE to download the following brochure:


Monday, May 5, 2014

IEC 61850 Profiles and associated Interoperability Tests for Hydro Power Plants

Hydro Power Plants require very complex information models and information exchange services. IEDs are usually acting as client and server in order to receive and send comprehensive reports. The suite of hydro power standards in the series IEC 61850 (IEC 61850-7-510, IEC 61850-10-210, …) define therefore many application specific naming elements like logical device names, prefixes and suffixes of logical nodes and complete data sets (additional means, e.g., in addition to IEC 61850-7-4).

These additional definitions reduce the number of options to a good extent! It helps to reach a high level of interoperability.

IEC 61850-10-210 TS:
Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part 10-210: IEC 61850 Interoperability tests – Hydro profile

See document 57/1468/CD 
Commenting closes 2014-08-08

The hydro experts in IEC 61850 have understood that Profiles are an absolute MUST if we want to reach interoperability! A simple (but good) example is the Implementation Guideline “9-2LE” of the UCA Usersgroup.

Another good example of profiles can be found at the VHPReady Website:

This specification contains two profiles:

1. IEC 60870-5-104 (with all signals specified)
2. IEC 61850 (with all signals specified)

Vendors can not just rely on IEC 61850 and define their own instance models of the needed logical nodes. The logical device names, prefixes and suffixes of logical nodes and complete data sets are already defined – to prevent use of options!!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Could IEC 61850 be used for I/O applications as AS-i bus or Profibus DP?

Definitely one of the crucial objectives of IEC 61850 is to model, collect, and exchange Input and Output data! Many of the I/O technologies listed below (in a job description I just found today) are simply providing the exchange of bits and bytes over a communication link:

A well known company is looking (maybe) for you if you have – among other qualifications – “Experience with I/O technologies including FF, HART, WirelessHART, Profinet / Profibus DP, Ethernet IP / DeviceNet, Modbus / Modbus TCP, AS-i bus, IEC 61850, Wireless, Remote I/O technologies.”

IEC 61850 is much more than a I/O technology: BUT it is also a (very smat) I/O technology!! Sure it is! Why not?

So, is IEC 61850 competing with AS-i? No! I have written the first draft of the AS-i standard (IEC 62026-2) … some 20 years ago. It could provide the data we model and communicate to a higher level in an automation system. Data about a simple switch status or whatever. In the same way a Modbus device could provide I/O-data to an IEC 61850 server that provides input to a higher layer IEC 61850 or …

Yes, many signals are simply I/O data. IEC 61850 can handle them all …

What is the main difference between IEC 61850 and many of the field busses? Simply this: IEC 61850 applies an event-driven approach with DataSets and Controlblocks while most field busses run cyclic polling by a master device. The master polls for values … one field device after the other … again and again … IEC 61850 works like this:


IEC 61850 is usually (if used that way!) communicating useful information rather than bunches of Data – that just may tell the receiver: nothing has changed, nothing has changed, nothing has changed, … stop here and make it smarter. This could easily applied when Ethernet infrastructure is in place anyway.

This is one of the major paradigm shifts in process information exchange … that will take decades to understand by …