Tag Archives: IEC 61850

Where do you implement IIOT for Power Industry?

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Many industries such as Building Automation (analysing of building operating parameters across various premises), Automotive (predictive warning for luxury vehicles), Land Transportation (think ERP 2.0 in Singapore!) has/will be implementing Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) in its’ various forms for the different benefits and uses cases it provides.

If you are still confused about IIOT vs IOT vs Industrie 4.0 and other terms? Check out this link here.

The results have been intriguing and allowed those who have implemented such systems to stand out from their competitors amidst increasing competitiveness of their market.

In critical infrastructure (such as power industry), such a movement has been much slower. This is because a failure in critical infrastructure systems will have far reaching consequences unlike other industries. For example, an unnecessary power trip caused by a data packet not being received in time can affect hundreds or even thousands of residents in a large neighbourhood. Compare this to having a car breakdown in the middle of the road because the predictive warning for car servicing was not triggered!

IEC 61850 – What data can we track?

For Power Industry (Power generation, power grid operations, contestable energy market consumers etc.), we are in the infancy of a huge change, led by IEC61850 to achieve internet of things for power industry (commonly known as Virtual Heat & Power plant (VHP), Smart Grid or other variants).

IEC 61850 allows for

  1. Interoperability: with systems and products from different manufacturer designed and
    communicating in the same way, Power grid operators, Power Generators, Power Consumers can their own systems to communicate with other systems easily.
  2. Industrial hardening of equipment: Components of systems needs to comply with IEC61850-3 which require hardening of industrial components, able to withstand the harsh condition of power industry, such as high Electromagnetic Interferences.
  3. Common system architecture and easy naming nomenclature of data points, allowing for integration into one BIG virtual network to be much simpler.

And these in terms allows for some pretty cool things in line with IIOT:

Predictive maintenance

Imagine knowing exactly when to replace the switchgear/transformer parts and knowing when it will fail! Switchgear/transformer spare parts usually require lead time. Knowing in advance before the electrical assets needs replacements allows power grid operators/ power generators to prepare for the spare parts in advance, minimizing risk for downtime.

Proactive maintenance

Instead of waiting for something to happen before we fix it, there is an increasing trend that engineers worldwide are always studying and trying to understand their system better!

Increased productivity

At present, checks on health of systems and electrical assets are periodically conducted. Unfortunately, there is no real good reason why a monthly period is chosen over a bi-annual check. This is a waste of precious resources as manpower is conducted to do meaningless checks.  This time can definitely be better spent implementing a strong IIOT system that cuts down on these wastages and allows for a more advanced form of maintenance!

With these building blocks in place and obvious advantages, the last remaining challenge will be to adopt IIOT for Power Industry, i.e. where should we start to monitor and collect data from?

IIOT for Power Industry

For this, IEC is in the midst of a technical review for IEC 61850:

Part 90-3: Using IEC 61850 for Condition Monitoring Diagnosis and Analysis

This part of the standard will provide standardization for information modelling, exchange and configuration techniques for Condition Monitoring & Diagnosis for Power Utility Automation. What this mean is that in this part of the standard, there will be explicit description of how you can use IEC61850 to achieve predictive/proactive maintenance and increase productivity! There will be guides on which part of the switchgear/transformer/cables you should monitor and how exactly you should be monitoring them.

At Phoenix Contact, we have summarised IEC 61850 with regards to the portions it recommends condition monitoring and we are glad to share the summary below:

IEC 61850-90-3: Using IEC 61850 for Condition Monitoring

At Phoenix Contact, we also have a wide range of reliable IEC61850-3 industrial hardened components necessary for implementing of IEC61850 systems. Products include Network Switches, Ethernet to Fibre Media Converter, Parallel Redundancy Modules, Bus Couplers/IOs and Power Supply (AC to DC or DC to DC).

Products for IEC 61850

Do you want to know more about IEC61850/IIOT or how exactly condition monitoring can be done to stay ahead of IEC standards? Leave us your contact and we will be inb touch with you shortly.

To download our IIOT Informational Booklet (which contains our IIOT starter guide via PDF) submit your email below and we'll send you a copy via email, absolutely FREE!

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You will also be given the opportunity to join our invitation-only seminars on IIOT, onsite demonstrations, and a sample of our PICs (Phoenix Contact IIOT Connectivity Solution) box for a limited period.

IIOT systems

Don't worry about cost no more!
Try out our IIOT systems before making a decision.

Introducing IIOT to your Clients – The PT Functional Terminal Blocks

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When you introduce IIOT to your client, one of the first questions your client will ask you is “What is IIOT?” (Yes, we get that a lot).

Confusion in IIOT

The typical look our clients are giving us when we talk about IIOT

Many manufacturers are baffled when they were asked to implement IIOT in their plant.

Well IIOT is not as complex. Here’s a sentence to explain what IIOT is:

“Using smart machines to consistently capture data in order to improve inefficiencies.”

See. It’s not that hard, is it?

When we further explain the sentence above, “smart machines” are simply referring to intelligent products like PLC or sensors that are able to help you in generating or gathering data.


Smart Machines

Smart Machines are getting smarter by the day

Smart machines allow data to be aggregated and analyzed in real time. With more accountability and control over equipment, workers can better predict maintenance issues and make faster decisions.

Not forgetting the ultimate motive “to save cost”.


Rain Money

Feel like a million bucks when you automated your business, and save half the installation cost. (Courtesy: Red Granite Pictures)

If you’re wondering how we can save you the effort and cost in installing IIOT systems, read on

What is Industrial Automation: How IIOT & Automation are related(Part 3)

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In the last two articles, we discuss the basic definition of automation as well as the advantages of running an automated system.

For this final article, we will be looking at the different types of Automation Systems and also case studies of the clients who have automated their manufacturing and production plants with great success.

Through this final part on automation, we hope that if you will consider automating your business and if you require assistance, help is on your side!

Read more on the Types of Automation System and Actual Case Studies here

What is Industrial Automation: How IIOT & Automation are related(Part 2)

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In the last post, we explained the basics of Industrial Automation and why industries are shifting towards this new concept.

This week, we will be diving on the advantages of Automation and the hierarchies of an automation system, to provide fundamental knowledge regarding this concept that is taking over at a fast pace.

Why are industries turning towards Automation? (Advantages of Automation System)

Because of the evident benefits that businesses have seen when they migrated towards automation, there is no reason not to adopt these technologies.

Curious to know how automation can help your business like the countless of other businesses? Read on

Putting the Power in Power Industry – IIOT and its impact

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*A first of a series of technical articles for IIOT in Power Engineering industry. Join our mailing list to find out more as we explore specific applications!

More Data, Better Decisions

Soon, the cities of tomorrow will be turning towards smart grid

The Advent of Smart Grid:

With the rise in electrical costs and the stringent regulations/deregulation of energy markets, there has been an increased in the advocacy of turning towards the Smart Grid to overcome the challenges of today’s energy markets.

Evidently, the building blocks of implementing the Smart Grid are already underway in various countries.

Initiatives such as:

  • Relying on renewable energy
  • The erecting of small micro-grids to provide power to smaller residential areas
  • Limitless choices for consumers to choose their energy suppliers
  • The different ways of how energy is being manufactured (whether its solar, wind or coal)

To harmonize this plethora of choices requires sturdy flow of information to ensure grid reliability.

Therefore, for the full potential of the Smart Grid to be realized, Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution needs to be equipped with digital control and monitoring, and the capability of telecommunications.

With these, all stakeholders in the smart grid will gain access to valuable information needed to ensure optimization of Smart Grid.

Empowering the cities of tomorrow

An example of a city powered by data and electricity – The Smart Grid

Courtesy: Fluke Corporation

IOT and Smart Grid:

As such, IOT has been proven to be useful. IOT is about integrating connectivity to all kinds of items.

This is essentially needed to achieve what has been discussed earlier.

In addition, IOT focuses on the potential of big data analysis. When utilized in the Power Industry, there will be the prospect of predictive analytics and allowing for proactive instead of reactive operations.

Empowering companies with data.

Understand data. Manage cost and electricity outputs. See breakdowns occurring real time

This allows for:

  • Capital expenditure and maintenance costs to be decreased.
  • Energy demand to be managed more effectively.
  • More robust energy mix among other benefits.

However, the issue here is that implementing IOT to the commercial or common industrial sphere is much easier compared to implementing IOT to critical infrastructures such as the power grid.

The market realizes this and has aptly come up with the term, Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), focusing on implementing IOT in critical infrastructures.

Some additional focus of IIOT includes:
1) Cyber security

2) Easy retrofitting

3) Reliable industrial telecommunications

4) And in Power Industry: IEC61850

IIOT empowering data to cities

The power industry of tomorrow. Powered by IIOT

IIOT in power industry and its primary application?

Power Generation: Predictive maintenance of equipment, planning for optimal power generation
Power Transmission: Minimizing operational loss
Power Distribution: Visibility of last mile (LV) data

Distributed Energy Resources: Establishment of Virtual Power Plants (VPP)
Customer Premises: Dynamic Pricing, automated demand-response energy

At Phoenix Contact, we have products that cater to IEC61850 International Standards, perfect to facilitate IIOT.

We also specialize in cyber-security and Industrial Communications.

All of these are supplied in enclosures that can be easily retrofitted on existing assets like switchgears and transformers. Who says IIOT means forking out on new hardware?

Our products are built to ensure that your current business is given a boost.

Future-proof your business. Sign up to our newsletter to receive regular updates on IIOT and automation, as well as exclusive product demo on site.

What are you waiting for?

To download our IIOT Informational Booklet (which contains our IIOT starter guide via PDF) submit your email below and we'll send you a copy via email, absolutely FREE!

IIOT Informational Pack

By signing up, you'll be the first to receive exclusive updates and articles regarding IIOT technology from Phoenix Contact.





I wish to be contacted by your salesperson for a free demo

You will also be given the opportunity to join our invitation-only seminars on IIOT, onsite demonstrations, and a sample of our PICs (Phoenix Contact IIOT Connectivity Solution) box for a limited period.

IIOT systems

Don't worry about cost no more!
Try out our IIOT systems before making a decision.

Cybersecurity for Industrial Processes

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Cybersecurity for Industrial Processes

Cybersecurity has become an increasingly prevalent subject in the last decades. While the focus has been largely on IT infrastructure and online safety, more attention has now been placed on Cybersecurity for industrial processes such as factory automation, water/wastewater plants, power generation and power T&D. This can be attributed to the increased awareness that cybersecurity required for IT is very different from cybersecurity efforts needed for industrial processes.

The main difference is the priority for these two information infrastructure. In IT, it is possible to focus heavily on cybersecurity, such that emails, applications, documents can be blocked with minimal impact on a companies’ P&L. On the other hand, downtime can result if files are stopped from being passed from one device to the other for Industrial processes. Downtime for Industrial processes is very costly as one can observe below.

downtime by industry
The are explicit costs due to downtime. In the case of concerted attack on Nuclear Power Plans (stuxnet incident)  or Power T&D systems (recent Ukraine cyberattack, causing mass blackout affecting at least 200,000 citizens), prolong system downtime can lead to life being lost, severe inconveniences amongst other non-monetary, immeasurable outcomes.

With such different requirements, it is then common sense that plant owners should look beyond IT cybersecurity devices for protection of industrial processes. While firewalls, VPNs, VLans, subnet etc. works for both IT and Industrial processes; IDS/IPS (Intrusion detection system/Intrusion protection system) is not ideal for Industrial processes because they are actively monitoring the data passing through. This not only slows down data transfer and cause delays (again, not damaging in IT network) but often results in false alarms: There can be unusual data passing through which might not be malicious but are essential to operations. IPS/IDS will stop these data and can potentially lead to down time.

In particular, IPS/IDS are used to protect against zero-day attacks/advanced persistent threats where an external party remains in contact with malicious code after they infiltrate systems. These external parties then manipulate these codes further to target specific loopholes. As such, anti-virus cannot detect these codes (no known signature) and firewalls/VPNs are bypassed.

At Phoenix Contact, we recommend MGuard with CIFS Integrity Monitoring that is tailored for Industrial Processes Protection against Zero-day attacks and advanced persistent threats:

Discover Malware on Day Zero: Integrity Monitoring

Due to the general problems with the deployment of antivirus software on industrial PCs and the timely provision of malware signatures, alternative techniques of integrity assurance are gaining relevance for the protection of industrial systems.
One solution is the CIFS Integrity Monitoring feature offered on Phoenix Contact’s FL mGuard security devices. CIFS, or Common Internet File System, is a file-sharing protocol used by Windows and other operating systems. Viewing files on network file servers and using shared network drives are common activities that utilize CIFS. With Integrity Monitoring, the user can monitor configurable sets of files for unexpected modifications of executable code. When initialized, Integrity Monitoring computes a baseline of signatures for all monitored objects and then periodically checks them for any deviations. This process works without any external supply of virus signatures, without the risk of disrupting operations through “false positives,” without installation of software, and with only a moderate load on the monitored PCs, while primarily utilizing the resources of an mGuard security appliance. The mGuard thus discovers suspect file modifications promptly, and reports them via SNMP and e-mail to network
management systems or responsible administrators.

In a test study performed at the University of Ostwestfalen-Lippe in Lemgo, Germany, researchers from the independent inIT institute for industrial IT (www.hs-owl.de/init/en/) have been able to verify that mGuard CIFS Integrity Monitoring would have recognized infections with Stuxnet on day zero as unexpected manipulations and warned asset operators against it long before any antivirus product. The device drivers installed by Stuxnet, as well as the modifications performed by the worm on the pivotal SIMATIC Manager DLL,
would have been discovered in the process.

Some other features that makes mGuard ideal:

  • Stealth mode – fast retrofitting without the need to configure/reconfigure IP addresses
  • OPC Inspectors – ability to track random ports opened by OPC Classic, which render firewall useless
  • 3G remote access
    1. If there are deviations detected with CIFS integrity monitoring, SMS alarm can be sent to system engineers.
    2. Although regular CIFS scan can be scheduled, in the event of known cyberattacks, engineers can simply SMS into mGuard to start an adhoc scan
    3. With 3G, mGuard or devices connected to mGuard can be remotely accessed from anywhere around the world

To find out more about how mGuard can help to secure your industrial systems:

Click here to download a white paper on Post-stuxnet Industrial Security

or contact us for a demo on MGuard configuration

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