Monthly Archives: December 2023

Extension of the legal requirements for implementing cyber security

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Urgent need for action for all stakeholders

The EU Cybersecurity Strategy, published in December 2020, focuses on resilience and attack blocking for major manufacturing companies. The strategy aims to implement security by design in products and systems, addressing the increasing attack area for cyberattacks and the increasing professionalism of attackers. Cyber security focuses on securing a company’s value creation and individual security objectives, including protecting know-how and complying with legal regulations. Significantly, the EU is now extending legal requirements for cybersecurity to include more companies.

cyber security

Implementation in the automation sector

Based on ISO 27001/2, the information security management system (ISMS) in IT is being extended to operational technology (OT). Measures in the IACS environment can be applied by incorporating organizational and technical criteria, as part of this expansion. These measures include network configuration, data protection, user authentication, monitoring, device security hardening, and system management. The IEC 62443 series of standards addresses specific measures for the IACS environment, covering components, systems, operators, and service providers. The comprehensive security-by-design approach, known as the “defense-in-depth” concept, makes access more difficult for attackers.

Implementation in the automation sector

Upvaluation of regulations through NIS 2

The EU’s NIS 2 directive, mandating cybersecurity measures for public and private entities, is changing the landscape. Specifically, it applies to companies with over 50 employees and more than 10 million euros in sales, focusing on essential and important facilities. Commencing from January 16, 2023, this directive must be transferred into national law by October 18, 2024. However, implementing security-by-design in products is challenging, and the EU has introduced the Cyber Resilience Act (CRA) to address this issue.

Development of security-by-design products in accordance with the Cyber Resilience Act

The Cyber Resilience Act (CRA) mandates manufacturers to create security-by-design products, ensuring they receive a CE mark if they comply with regulations. Minimum security measures must be demonstrated through conformity tests or manufacturers themselves using a harmonized standard. The CRA includes access protection, confidentiality protection, integrity, availability, and a secure delivery state. It also includes vulnerability management and regulations for manufacturers to provide security updates. The draft text of the CRA is in trialogue, expected to become EU law in 2024. To meet vulnerability management requirements, products must have a standardized Software Bill of Material and known vulnerabilities must be available in a standardized digital format.

Consideration of security in the new Machinery Directive

The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC mandates machines to be equipped with functional safety technology, ensuring the protection of people and the environment from injuries or contamination. However, this standard requires updates due to new technologies and product safety regulations. Looking ahead, the Machinery Directive 2023/1230, set to be published by mid-2023, combines functional safety with cybersecurity.

360-degree security based on IEC 62443

Phoenix Contact, a German company, has implemented IEC 62443 since 2017. In this time frame, it has focused on a 360-degree security concept throughout its products and solutions. The company follows a secure development process, ensuring security-by-design and defense-in-depth. Additionally, It actively monitors vulnerabilities and provides regular security updates. Moreover, the company’s secure products comply with IEC 62443-4-1 and IEC 62443-4-2, including denial-of-service protection, user management, and data confidentiality. Furthermore, the company’s security services are certified by IEC 62443-2-4. The Phoenix Contact Security Team has developed templates for various solutions and markets, and the Product Security Incidence Response Team (PSIRT) manages security issues. Importantly, all certifications are monitored by TÜV Süd through annual audits.

360-degree security based on IEC 62443

Learn more about Industrial security.

Experience the All Electric Society in a large park

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Who still needs fossil fuels?!

All Electric Society

Phoenix Contact aims to support national and international users in implementing an All Electric Society (AES) by 2030. The All Electric Society Park in Germany demonstrates this by demonstrating the path from renewable energy production to distribution and consumption. The park covers over 7,800 square meters and uses advanced battery and hydrogen synthesis systems to store energy for future use. Visitors can see the efficient use of energy at charging stations, production facilities, and transportation infrastructure. The park’s interactive glass cubes provide a self-explanatory view of energy availability and demand.

Solar panels on trackers and roofs, on the facade, and on the sidewalks

The All Electric Society Park utilizes 550 solar panels, solar trackers, and automation technology to generate 155,000 kilowatt hours of green electricity annually. Furthermore, Solar pavers and wind turbines are integrated into the park, ensuring renewable energy from the sun and wind.

Storage system as a battery booster for e-vehicle fast charging

The All Electric Society Park has two battery storage systems, one with a 1.2 megawatt-hour capacity and the other 281 kilowatt-hour capacity. The smaller system, located in the charging park, functions as a booster battery for electric vehicle charging.

Energy management system for evaluating energy flows

The transformer station is the central electrical hub of the All Electric Society Park. Distributing energy generated by solar systems and wind trees to loads like charging stations, cubes, pavilion, outdoor lighting, and irrigation. IoT-capable EMpro energy measuring devices record outgoing flows, allowing efficient park control. The park connects to the Phoenix Contact corporate grid via a smartRTU, a modular wireless solution designed for monitoring distribution grids and decentral power generation systems.

Sustainability even with the construction and cooling materials

The transformer station houses medium and low-voltage switchgear with transformers, disconnectors, and fuses. Sustainability was prioritized, using air instead of SF6 as an insulating medium and biodegradable ester fluid for cooling. Notably, carbon concrete was used instead of reinforced concrete. which led to a reduction in wall thickness by around one-third. Greenery on the facades and roof contributes to microclimate and small animal habitats. Looking ahead, future transformer stations will be located in cities for better air quality and cooling.

Creating awareness of the technical possibilities

Phoenix Contact is implementing an electrical energy management system using PLCnext Technology control technology to ensure reliable power supply to park devices. The system integrates park devices like inverters, storage systems, and charging stations into the system. Allowing data and values to be accessible. With a broader perspective, All Electric Society Park aims to raise awareness about the company’s future vision and technical capabilities, showcasing real applications and educational presentations. The park opened to the public on September 1, 2023.

Learn more about All Electric Society.

When sparks shouldn’t fly

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Innovative inner workings ensure the safety of DC connectors.

DC connectors

Phoenix Contact offers the ArcZero series DC connector to address safety risks associated with DC power grids. Despite its efficiency improvements and simplified installation, direct current is prevalent in electronic devices and production machines. Despite the decline of DC technology, direct current is making a return in the form of intelligent DC grids in an electricity-led energy revolution.

Into the future with direct current

DC connectors

Countries worldwide are actively working to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by enhancing both renewable energy availability and energy efficiency. To achieve this, there is a concerted effort to modernize power stations, upgrade motors, optimize industrial processes, and renovate buildings. In parallel, the adoption of direct current loads is rising in diverse devices such as lighting, IT infrastructure, and electric motors. Notably, the transition to energy-efficient LED lighting is replacing traditional incandescent lamps, while inverters in intermediate circuits contribute to heightened efficiency. Direct current, pivotal in power generation and consumption, assumes a central role across various societal areas.

Requirements on DC connectors

DC connectors

Direct current displaces alternating current, changing component requirements and grid behavior. Protection concepts cannot be adopted one-to-one, and grid behavior varies significantly. The electric arc during switching and disconnecting operations is crucial in DC applications, as zero crossings occur 100 times per second. Phoenix Contact has conducted test programs to understand DC electric arcs, developing technologies and prototypes for safely connecting and disconnecting connectors in DC power grids. ArcZero is a new connector for DC power grids.

ArcZero tames the arc

DC connectors

The ArcZero connector features integrated electronics that actively quench the electric arc, providing the same level of safety as AC connectors. This reduces wear and increases connector longevity. It allows safe connection and disconnecting under load, ensuring high availability. The connector is designed for IP69 protection, high-impact strengths, and long-term outdoor suitability. It can connect end and distribution circuits up to 20 amps and 400 volts or 800 volts. It is user-friendly and cost-effective, with numerous insertion cycles.

Learn more about the DC connector.

High efficiency through combination

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The use of battery energy storage systems in power-to-X applications

The All Electric Society concept describes a future where renewable energy is the primary source of electricity worldwide, affordable, and abundant. Energy storage technologies, such as power-to-X and battery systems, are crucial for this vision, with the greatest potential in battery energy storage systems and green hydrogen production.

Hydrogen industry

Power-to-X as an energy storage technology

Hydrogen is stored in renewable energy through electrolysis, breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen. This gas is compressed and stored in tanks. When electrical energy is needed, hydrogen reacts with air in fuel cells to form water, We refer to this process chain as power-to-X technology.  The term generally refers to the conversion of surplus renewable energy into other energy carriers.

Battery energy storage systems

Battery storage efficiently stores electrical energy through chemical conversion in galvanic elements, allowing current to flow through electrodes connected via an electrical load.

Short and long-term storage

Battery storage differs significantly from power-to-X processes, as batteries require large, expensive batteries with precious materials. Unlike hydrogen storage, which is less expensive and has a higher energy density, power-to-X technologies have lower conversion efficiency due to waste heat generation. However, battery storage has over 90% efficiency, making it suitable for shorter storage periods, such as hours or days. This makes battery energy storage more economically viable for long-term storage.

power-to-X and hydrogen industry.

In combination lies strength

The hydrogen process and battery differ in inertia, with batteries storing energy quickly and electrolyzers and fuel cells requiring power proportional to reactor size. Both operate at maximum efficiency within a small process window, avoiding major fluctuations. Combining these technologies can provide hybrid solutions for stationary or quasi-stationary electricity generation, covering consumer base load and battery for short-term load fluctuations. Electrical connection technology ensures efficiency and reliability.

The role of electrical connection technology

Electrical connection technology is crucial for efficiency and reliability in batteries, electrolyzers, and fuel cells. It requires power, signal, and data connections, with analog signals controlling sensors and digital communication systems.

Examples of faults in the connection technology

Inconspicuous components like power wiring, signal connections, and data connections are crucial for system safety. Classic screw connections can loose in unfavorable conditions, leading to increased contact resistance and heat loss. Signal connections, such as sensor cables, can be soldered directly, resulting in cold solder points and incorrect temperature measurements being too low. Data connections, often created using patch cables, can also cause faults during transmission, leading to system malfunctions and hardware damage.

power-to-X and hydrogen industry.

Recommendations for selecting connection technology

To avoid financial losses, system operators should use plug-in connectors for power connections when installation conditions cannot be guaranteed. Innovative connection technologies like insulation displacement connections offer convenience and reliability. For data connections, ambient conditions dictate requirements, with IP-protected data connectors ideal for high pollution or humid environments and industrial-grade connectors for tough mechanical conditions.

The importance of modular automation systems in energy storage applications

Battery-based and hydrogen-based energy storage solutions are complex systems with functional safety, IT security, and explosion protection requirements. Automation systems aim for optimal control of subsystems, considering user objectives, minimum operating costs, service life, and availability. Compliance with grid connection conditions is also crucial. Simulating system design in advance is advantageous. A modular, scalable automation platform with relevant certifications reduces development times and costs for energy storage applications. Automation suppliers offer comprehensive services, including safety concept creation, IT security considerations, and programming.

power-to-X and hydrogen industry

Learn more about Solutions for electrification, networking, and automation in the power-to-X and hydrogen industry. and Connection technology for energy storage systems.