Continually Reducing Costs with Substation Automation at Lincoln Electric System

PUBLISHED ON Dec 11, 2007

In the mid-90’s, Lincoln Electric Systems (LES) made the decision to go with a turnkey substation automation system from NovaTech Automation. That system, shown in Figure 1, was considered state-of-the-art at the time and included protocol converters, substation HMI and PLC all connected on a Modbus Plus LAN (Ethernet had not yet arrived in substations!). Equipment, wiring, panel, and commissioning costs were all reduced compared to traditional designs by eliminating costly analog transducers, panel control switches and lights (HMI), and timers and counters (PLC). That same design was duplicated in half a dozen other substations, leading to savings in design and engineering.

In a typical 2007 substation, the multi-function Orion Automation Platform, serves as a Smart RTU and communications processor, has replaced multiple protocol converters, including two formerly required to interface to primary and back-up SCADA Masters. The substation HMI, costly to design and maintain due to patches and O/S changes has been replaced with web pages being served from Orion. The PLC, increasingly expensive and specialized, has also been replaced with Distributed Discrete I/O (DDIO) modules and simple, single-purpose tap changer controllers. Savings include further reduction in equipment, wiring, and design costs.

Future substation automation plans at LES include retrofit of older stations with the latest automation design, expanded application of web-based HMI and incorporation of mandated cyber-security measures.

A complete technical paper on substation automation projects at LES is available from your NovaTech Automation Account Manager.