Sunday, April 23, 2017

Final Call for IEC 61850 Training Courses in May 2017 in Karlsruhe (Germany)

The following two training courses are just one (two) weeks away:

02.-05. May 2017, Karlsruhe/Germany:

Click HERE for details - and register as soon as possible.

09.-12. Mai 2017, Karlsruhe/Deutschland
HIER klicken - für Details zum Training in Deutsch

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dubai (UAE): NEW IEC 61850 Seminar for Protection, Control, and Generation

You are invited to register for one of the world leading IEC 61850 Seminars for Protection, Control, and Generation to be conducted by

FMTP, Al-Ojaimi, and NettedAutomation 
in Dubai (UAE) at the Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates
11-13 July 2017

With the focus on protection and control in HV/MV substations, power generation (PV, Wind, DER, Hydro), distribution systems using Client/Server, GOOSE, SV, SCADA and SCL Language covering:
  • IEC 61850 / IEC 61400-25 Introduction (Edition 1, 2, and 2.1) and experience after more than 10 years in operation. Where are we today?
  • Return of experience, applications and practical demonstrations:
  • Protection and Control in Substation Automation
  • Engineering and Configuration
  • Maintenance
  • Monitoring and SCADA system
  • Specification of the IEC 61850 protection and control system.
  • Through the practical demonstrations, you will learn:
  • To handle IEC 61850 relay protections from different vendors and their software tools; to be able to efficiently manage flexibility in engineering and interoperability.
  • To use the state of the art IEC 61850 testing tools and equipment to efficiently detect the technical problems and work-out their solutions.
  • To understand SCL files, setup clients and servers for MMS communication to SCADA and RTU Systems
  • All the presentations are supported by practical examples or demonstrations.
Who should attend?
  • Protection and Electrical Engineers (protection, control, engineering, SCADA, asset managers)
  • System integrators
  • Product managers of vendors
  • R&D engineers
  • Maintenance personnel
  • Experts responsible for network infrastructure
Click HERE for program and registration information.
Click HERE for other training opportunities.

Monday, April 17, 2017

What is a Function in IEC 61850?

The term "Function" is used in a variety of flavors throughout the standard series IEC 61850. If you ask five experts, you may get six answers.
IEC TC 57 has proposed (57/1863/DC) to develop a new Technical report IEC 61850-6-100: "SCL Function Modelling for Substation Automation"
A "function" is more or less a synonym for operation or action ... as described in Wikipedia:
"A function model or functional model in systems engineering and software engineering is a structured representation of the functions (activities, actions, processes, operations) within the modeled system or subject area."
In my seminars I compare IEC 61850 with Logistics:

IEC 61850 defines simple and more and more complex functions. A schedule according to IEC 61850-90-10 defines a set of quite complex (or comprehensive) functions. In most cases the functions defined by IEC 61850 are just functional components that are used as bricks to build a comprehensive application function.
The brick-concept of IEEE 1550 (UCA 2.0) indicated the use of the standard models: the Bricks (which are now the Logical Nodes in IEC 61850).
IEC 61850-7-2 Services define functions (called services) that provide information logistics, e.g., for accessing the device information model, allow exchange of any value made available by a device based on events for real-time and non-real-time applications, or services for controlling a controllable item like a circuit breaker or a fan.
Functions may be composed using the standard IEC 61499 (Function blocks) as described in the following papers:
V. Vyatkin, G. Zhabelova, N. Higgins, K. Schwarz, and N.-K. C. Nair, Towards intelligent smart grid devices with IEC 61850 interoperability and IEC 61499 open control architecture, IEEE Conference on Transmission and Distribution, New Orleans, April, 2010
 N. Higgins, V. Vyatkin, N. Nair and K. Schwarz, “Intelligent Decentralised Power Distribution Automation with IEC 61850, IEC 61499 and Holonic Control“,IEEE Transactions on Systems, Machine and Cybernetics, Part C, 40(3), 2010,
J. Xu, C.-W.Yang, V. Vyatkin, S. Berber, Towards Implementation of IEC61850 GOOSE Messaging in IEC61499 Environment, IEEE Conference on Industrial Informatics (INDIN’13), Bochum, July 29-31, 2013
Click HERE for more papers.
More to come ... stay tuned to this blog!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

HMS Smart Grid Gateways Are Now IXXAT SG Gateways

The HMS Smart Grid Gateways (supporting a wide range of standards like IEC 60870-5-104, IEC 61850, Modbus TCp/IP, ...) are now marketed by HMS under the HMS brand IXXAT Energy SG Gateways.
IXXAT SG-gateways... 

  • enable easy remote control and management of electrical systems
  • allow to log and display application data and energy consumption
  • provide IEC61850 client/server (publisher/subscriber) and IEC60870-5-104 client/server support
  • have in-built Modbus TCP client and Modbus RTU Master interfaces
  • provide connectivity for I/O, M-Bus, PROFIBUS, PROFINET and EtherNet/IP based devices

Click HERE for more details [EN]
Click HERE for more details [DE]

Friday, April 7, 2017

FDIS for IEC 62351-7 published - Network and System Management (NSM) data object models

IEC TC 57 has just published the 232 page FDIS (57/1857/FDIS) of the part IEC 62351-7 for final vote:

Power systems management and associated information exchange –
Data and communications security –
Part 7: Network and System Management (NSM) data object models

The vote closes 2017-05-12.

"This part of IEC 62351 defines network and system management (NSM) data object models
that are specific to power system operations. These NSM data objects will be used to monitor
the health of networks and systems, to detect possible security intrusions, and to manage the
performance and reliability of the information infrastructure. The goal is to define a set of
abstract objects that will allow the remote monitoring of the health and condition of IEDs
(Intelligent Electronic Devices), RTUs (Remote Terminal Units), DERs (Distributed Energy
Resources) systems and other systems that are important to power system operations. ...
The NSM objects provide monitoring data for IEC protocols used for power systems
(IEC 61850, IEC 60870-5-104) and device specific environmental and security status. As a
derivative of IEC 60870-5-104, IEEE 1815 DNP3 is also included in the list of monitored
protocols. The NSM data objects use the naming conventions developed for IEC 61850,
expanded to address NSM issues. For the sake of generality these data objects, and the data
types of which they are comprised, are defined as abstract models of data objects."

The document comprises many useful information objects related to devices and communication security issues like:

Intrusion detection systems (IDS) 
Passive observation techniques
Active security monitoring architecture with NSM data objects

End-to-end security
End-to-end security concepts
Role of NSM in end-to-end security

NSM requirements
Detecting unauthorized access
Detecting resource exhaustion as a denial of service (DoS) attack
Detecting invalid buffer access DoS attacks
Detecting tampered/malformed PDUs
Detecting physical access disruption
Detecting invalid network access
Detecting coordinated attacks

Saturday, April 1, 2017

IEC SC 65C Published 5,000+ Pages of New Fieldbus Editions (IEC 61158)

IEC SC 65C (subcommittee 65C: Industrial networks, of IEC technical committee 65: Industrial-process measurement, control and automation) has published 5,000+ pages with the following documents available for PUBLIC comments (
  1. 65C/864A/CDV (77 pages)
    IEC 61158-1 ED2: Industrial communication networks - Fieldbus specifications - Part 1: Overview and guidance for the IEC 61158 and IEC 61784 series
  2. 65C/865A/CDV (219 pages)
    IEC 61158-3-X ED4: Industrial communication networks - Fieldbus specifications - Part 3 - X: Data-link layer service definition - Type X elements
  3. 65C/866A/CDV (1,445 pages)
    IEC 61158-4-X ED4: Industrial communication networks - Fieldbus specifications - Part 4 - X: Data-link layer protocol specification - Type x elements
  4. 65C/867A/CDV (1,721 pages)
    IEC 61158-5-X ED4: Industrial communication networks - Fieldbus specifications - Part 5-X: Application layer service definition - Type X elements
  5. 65C/868A/CDV (2,205 pages)
    IEC 61158-6-X ED4: Industrial communication networks - Fieldbus specifications - Part 6-X: Application layer protocol specification - Type X elements
  6. 65C/869/CDV
    IEC 61918 ED4: Industrial communication networks - Installation of communication networks in industrial premises 
There are many other documents that are part of this standard series.
Take your time to comment on these documents.

What's about interoperability? Read what part 1 says in clause 4.2:

"Most of the fieldbus types specified in the IEC 61158 series include a range of selectable and configurable options within their detailed specifications. In general, only certain restricted combinations of options will interwork or interoperate correctly."

It seems like an April fool' s joke - BUT, NO, IT IS REALLY TRUE.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

ASCII Text, XML, SCL, Models, and Errors All Over

IEC 61850 makes use of ASCII text, XML, SCL, and comprehensive Information Models. At any level you may find errors. How to figure out, e.g., if a DataSet member references a FCDA that is not available in any Logical Node model?

I run through the following inconsistency:
There is a DOType "SPG_0" defined that contains a fc="SP"(bottom).
The DO "SetPt19" uses this DOType with fc="SP" (above)
The marked DataSet member FCDA refers to DO "SetPt19" with fc="ST".

This reference is not correct - there is no DO "SetPt19" with fc="ST" !! How does a stack react when it has to parse such a wrong model? Hmm!

It took me some time to figure out what the issue was when I loaded the file onto a HMS Gateway with WEB-PLC:

In the meantime I have checked the wrong file with six (well known) IEC 61850 tools - NONE of them complained about this inconsistency.
The SystemCorp stack complained, because it was not able to find the referenced object to implement the model! WOW!

This example confirms what I always tell people in my courses: Develop your own simple tools for finding errors in the "ASCII Text" - it is just a simple search you need ... I am not saying that the many tools on the market are useless!! No way! But many simple checks could be done with simple tools. Even tool developer may not have a clue what kind of checks would be helpful.
In this case it would have been quite easy to check (ASCII search and comparison) all members of all DataSets and check in the Logical Node models if there is a DataObject that matches with the reference in the DataSet. Such a ASCII text search would have resulted in something like: Did not find an fc="ST" for the object "SetPt19".

It is that easy! Believe me.

My experiences with this and many other issues are one of the core topics in my courses.
Click HERE for courses in German in Karlsruhe/Germany.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

GridEx: The Smart Tool to Test Your IEC 61850 Network

FMTP (From Minus to Plus, Sweden) has gained a lot of positive feedback from experts using the GridEx Tool around the globe. GridEx built-in intelligence based on 30 years combined field experience in Protection Control with IEC 61850.

The new Test Tool looks very ruggedized:

The standalone tool provides many very crucial functions for simplifying the test and operation of automation systems based on IEC 61850. Here is one example function:

Click HERE for more details on the GridEx.

CD published: Conformance Test Cases for the IEC 62351-5

IEC TC 57 just published a 110 page crucial document on security testing (57/1852/CD):

IEC TS 62351 - Data and communications security -
Part 100-1: Conformance test cases for the IEC 62351-5 and its companion standards for secure data exchange communication interfaces

Comments are welcome by 2017-06-09

The scope is to specify common available procedures and definitions for conformance and/or interoperability testing of the IEC/TS 62351-5 (Security for IEC 60870-5 and derivatives), the IEC/TS 60870-5-7 and also their recommendations over the IEC 62351-3 for profiles including TCP/IP. These are the security extensions for IEC 60870-5 and derivatives to enable unambiguous and standardised evaluation of IEC/TS 62351-5 and its companion standards protocol implementations.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

BIG Data, Smart Data, or Fake Data

Do you trust the process data you rely on for decisions to be made for many different applications? Hmm! It may be - I hope you could trust the data.

BBC just published a crucial paper with the title:
"How fake data could lead to failed crops and other woes"

Click HERE for the paper.

I guess this has been said many times - not yet by everybody.
What is most important: You have to do something to protect the data you (or your device) produce - so that the receiver can trust that the data are not FAKE data.

Maybe we extend the quality details defined in IEC 61850-7-3:
fake (extended)

I am kidding ... sure.

Do you know that IEC 61850 does not define any measure to protect the data while they are on rest or travel? It's true - no crucial definitions on security. This is intended.
The series IEC 62351 defines many very crucial measures and describes how to apply them to power systems and IEC 61850 refers to IEC 62351:
IEC/TS 62351 - Power systems management and associated information exchange - Data and communications security:
Part 1: Introduction to security issues
Part 2: Glossary of terms
Part 3: Profiles Including TCP/IP
Part 4: Security for profiles including MMS
Part 5: Security for IEC 60870-5 and derivatives
Part 6: Security for IEC 61850 profiles
Part 7: Objects for Network Management
Part 8: Role-Based Access Control
Part 9: Key Management
Part 10: Security Architecture
Part 11: Security for XML Files
Part 12: Resilience and Security Recommendations for Power Systems with DER
Part 13: Guidelines on what security topics should be covered in standards and specifications

Check an overview from part 13:

Click HERE for the source of published parts of IEC 62351.
An excellent source of hints in German can be found at GAI NetConsult (Berlin).

You should do more than buying and reading the various parts of IEC 62351 - You should implement many of the crucial measures defined in these documents,

Good luck!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Who can tell you what IEC 61850 really is?

Has ever someone learned what IEC 61850 really provides
from product presentations of vendors? Maybe to some extent?

How do people understand and learn what the standard series IEC 61850 really offers to the protection, automation and supervision of energy systems and what this all means for their application (as vendor, user, consultant, ...)?
A bit by reading power point presentations and papers ... and listen to presentations ... and to some extent by attending presentations and hands-on exercises conducted by equipment and tool vendors.
Is this enough?
If you are happy with the products - without understanding how far IEC 61850 is really implemented - then you could go and ... quite often at the end of the day you may learn that you got far to less

or far too much compared to what the standard would provide for your needs:

You need more vendor-independent information and experience from long-term experts like Andrea Bonetti (FMTP) or Karlheinz Schwarz (SCC). Sure, any demonstration or hands-on exercise of any IEC 61850 feature requires products like the great IEDScout of Omicron or ... BUT: the products implement just a fraction of what IEC 61850 is all about.
If you want to learn the Philosophy of IEC 61850 and compare it with the many different other approaches like IEC 60870-5-104, or other products, then you need independent information and experience. And finally you need to understand how the product X of vendor A compares to the product Y from vendor B.
To meet two of the most experienced experts and discuss with them your needs, doubts and complains, ... please register for the next training courses in Stockholm next week or in Karlsruhe in May.
Click HERE for the details of seminars in German.
Click HERE for the courses in English.
See you soon.
After the education of more than 4,000 attendees I know what people need ... and what they get by vendor-driven "education".

Saturday, March 4, 2017

XMPP, XML, and MMS: Two New TC 57 CDVs available for Public Comments

IEC TC 57 has published the following two CDV documents and allows you access to them:

IEC 61850-8-1/AMD1 ED2: Amendment 1 - Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part 8-1: Specific communication service mapping (SCSM) -
Mappings to MMS (ISO 9506-1 and ISO 9506-2) and to ISO/IEC 8802-3

IEC 61850-8-2 ED1: Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part 8-2: Specific communication service mapping (SCSM) -
Mapping to Extensible Messaging Presence Protocol (XMPP) 
You can study these two documents and provide comments.
Click HERE for the access (need to register only).
XMPP is used here to transport the XML message payloads between IEC 61850 server and client. The main contents of the messages are MMS messages (defined in ASN.1) and encoded with ASN.1 XER (XML encoding rule) - instead of ASN.1 BER (basic encoding rule). 
Example (excerpt):
Quite interesting. Most of what you have understood of MMS (subset used in IEC 61850-8-1) is applicable for 8-2 as well.
Click HERE for an introduction to ASN.1 and a discussion of why we need encoding rules.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

IEC TC 57 and WG 10 in Figures

IEC TC 57 Working Group 10 "Power system IED communication and associated data models" met last week in Geneva (Switzerland) at the IEC central office.
Mr. Charles Jacquemart (IEC Technical Officer) presented some very interesting figures about the TC 57 and especially WG 10. The following slides are published here with the permission of Mr. Jacquemart.

TC 57 History:

Crucial Publications:

Various TC 57 Working Groups (250 members in WG 10!!):

IEC TC 57 WG 10 is the LARGEST WG in the whole IEC!!

Sales of IEC 61850 standards:

You are right, IEC 61850 is one of the most crucial standard series in IEC and also in the market of power systems!
More to come!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Read One of the Best Papers on IEC 61850 ever Published

Eric A. Udren (a friend of mine) from Quanta Technology, LLC of Raleigh, North Carolina has written one of the best papers on the application of IEC 61850 in general and in the USA I ever read:

What Drives the Business Case for IEC 61850?
published in the December 2016 issue of the PAC World magazine.
This paper summarizes the experience of more than 10 years with the application of the standard series IEC 61850. It is a very easy to read and understand summary of the content of my training courses. After more than 230 training courses I conducted globally since 2003 and more than 4,200 experts educated in these courses I fully agree with the crucial recommendations of the paper:
Eric states at the very beginning (3rd sentence!): " ... one must first understand that IEC 61850 is not just a communications protocol." Well said. He lists many crucial facets.
The main part of Eric's conclusion is [highlights are added by myself]:
"The following action items can help the utility to achieve technical success and lowest life cycle costs:
  • Develop requirements for and relationships with product vendors, who must commit to support interoperable and sustainable products and designs over the service life of the PAC design.
  • Apply the sustainable design principles of the previous sections. If some of these seem unfamiliar, get expert help from vendors and from vendor-independent industry experts with experience in PAC system design and integration.
  • Create strong, rigid design standards; develop broadly useable documentation for new PAC design features like network configuration, data flows, and GOOSE messaging connections of functional points.
  • Set up rigid documentation and configuration management systems. With IEC 61850, much of the PAC design is no longer evident in the physical installation – this managed design information is the only tool to maintain the system.
  • Create a development laboratory to validate the performance of the design. Keep the laboratory throughout the installation life to train personnel, to troubleshoot bugs that arise in the field, and to test new product or firmware insertions in the existing design before authorizing those for field use.
  • Develop and run training programs for field maintenance personnel, including hands-on participation and feedback during the design and laboratory test phases.
  • Develop and run training programs for other enterprise stakeholders, including system planning, capital planning, purchasing, and operations teams.
  • After the pilot or trial phase, plan a crisp organizational transition to the new design at the fastest sustainable rate."
Click HERE to access the paper for free.

There have been a lot of misleading and strange statements on the benefits of IEC 61850 communicated ... trust the real experts like Eric Udren ...

One of the real show-stoppers of a beneficial application is the lack of education of many engineers. We offer the right experience and knowledge for your people to harvest the benefits of the application of IEC 61850 and other standards:

Click HERE for the latest announcements of courses in German.
Click HERE for the latest announcements of courses in English.

I look forward meeting you in one of the public courses or in an inhouse seminar. Peopleware is one of the most crucial issues in future energy systems.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

IEC-61850-Seminare in Deutsch (Mai und Dezember 2017)

NettedAutomation GmbH bietet in 2017 zwei IEC-61850-Seminare zu unschlagbaren Preisen in Karlsruhe an:

09.-12. Mai 2017 
05.-08. Dezember 2017

Die drei (3) Blöcke (1 Tag + 2 Tage + 1 Tag) können einzeln oder in Kombination gebucht werden. Sie entscheiden selbst, ob Sie nur einen Tag von Ihrem Arbeitsplatz fern bleiben möchten oder zwei, drei oder vier. Je nachdem, wieviel Zeit Sie investieren wollen oder können und welchen Bedarf Sie haben.

Lernen Sie, wie über 4.000 Teilnehmer vor Ihnen, was IEC 61850 und andere Normen wie IEC 60870-5-10x oder IEC 62351 (Security) bedeuten. Gewinnen Sie einen Einblick in relevante Realisierungen wie die FNN-Steuerbox oder VHPready, die auf IEC 61850 aufbauen. Verstehen Sie, wie Feldbusse über lostengünstige Gateways in die Anlagen eingebunden werden können.

HIER klicken, um zur Beschreibung und den Anmeldeunterlagen zu gelangen [pdf, 430 KB].

Beachten Sie auch, dass die meisten Seminare als Inhouse-Kurse stattfinden! Falls Sie Interesse an einem Inhouse-Kurs (in deutsch, englisch, italienisch oder schwedisch) haben sollten kontaktieren Sie uns bitte!

IEC TC 57 has Published Several New Documents

IEC TC 57 has published several new documents related to IEC 61850 and IEC 62351 (Security):

IEC 61850-7-3: Amendment 1 - Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part 7-3: Basic communication structure - Common data classes
The amendment has been accepted with 100 % in favour

IEC 62351-9: Data and communications security –
Part 9: Cyber security key management for power system equipment
voting closes 2017-03-17

Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part XXX: System management for IEC 61850 (proposed IEC 61850-XXX TS)
The new work item proposal has been accepted with 100 % in favour

IEC 61850-7-7: Basic communication structure – Machine-processable format of IEC 61850-related data models for tools
The new work item proposal has been accepted with almost 100 % in favour

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Seminar on Protection and Control in Stockholm (13-17 March 2017)

FMTP, KTH, OPAL RT, and NettedAutomation offer a very comprehensive training course on IEC 61850 and related standards at the FMTP Office Vingvägen 4:

190 60 Stockholm-Arlanda (Airport)
13-17 March 2017

Note that the same seminar will be conducted in Karlsruhe (Germany) on 02-05 May 2017 !!

Click HERE for details.

Click HERE for details.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Wind Energy Generation Systems - About to Use and Extend SCL

IEC TC 88 (Wind energy generation systems) has just published a new work item proposal for the series IEC 61400-25 (Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants):

Part 25-7: Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants –
Configuration description language for communication in wind automation systems related to IEDs

The voting closes 2017-04-21.

The scope of this NWIP is to describe the adoption of the System Configuration description Language (SCL) defined in IEC 61850-6 to the wind domain.