Archive | January 2012

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Cisco Builds Upon Smart Grid Portfolio to Help Modernize the Electric Grid

Delivers Utility Industry’s First Multiservice Communications Platform With New Field Area Network Solution, Professional Services, Enhanced Substation Offerings, and Architecture

MarketwirePress Release: Cisco – 34 minutes ago

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  • The new Cisco Connected Grid 1000 Series Router is ruggedized for the utility environment.  (Image: Cisco)The new Cisco Connected Grid 1000 Series Router is ruggedized for the utility environment.  (Image: Cisco)

SAN JOSE, CA–(Marketwire -01/17/12)- Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCONews) today announced additional solutions and services to its Connected Grid portfolio that will help utilities modernize the electric grid with built-in flexibility, security and interoperability enabled by the power of the network. Cisco’s new technology architecture, solutions and related services address key utility concerns around cost, reliability and scalability in their communications infrastructures.

As the electric grid becomes more intelligent and complex, utilities around the world want technology that can grow to address multiple operational needs over time, supports their unique market and organizational structures, and is designed so that different vendor systems can work together. They also need solutions that provide a high degree of security and allow them to utilize their existing installed base of technology as they modernize their electric grids.

Given these requirements, Cisco offers utilities and partners a comprehensive blueprint for smart grid deployments known as the Cisco GridBlocks™ Architecture. This provides a forward-looking view of integrating digital communications and the electrical grid, as well as specific deployment guidance for the various grid communications networks that exist today. It also provides a framework for utilities to design and deploy comprehensive management and security solutions across the entire grid.

The new Cisco offerings — which include a complete field area network (FAN) solution delivered in conjunction with Itron, as well as expanded transmission and substation products — are based on this architectural model and are designed to address key utility concerns around cost, reliability and scalability in their communications infrastructures. By delivering multiple applications over a single, intelligent and highly secure platform, electric utilities will benefit from lower total cost of ownership as well as derive value from new services and functional integration of networks.

The new Cisco Connected Grid services and integrated solutions help electric utilities in the planning, design and optimization phases of their grid modernization initiatives.

Key Highlights

Cisco GridBlocks Architecture

  • Cisco’s GridBlocks Architecture provides utility operators with a communications view of the entire power delivery chain with security woven throughout the design.
  • The modular approach allows utilities to focus on particular elements of their network at any given time and is adaptable to differing market structures and regions.
  • The Cisco GridBlocks Architecture provides a framework in which communications requirements can be specified at each level.
  • It allows customers to take a holistic view of how to evolve their electric grid and design phases of technology implementation.

Field Area Network Solution

  • Cisco’s Connected Grid FAN solution simplifies utility operations by enablingapplications such as advanced meter infrastructure, distribution automation, and protection and control to be delivered over a common network platform. The solution has a layered architecture that supports both wired and wireless communications.
  • Cisco and Itron deliver on their strategic alliance announced in 2010 by providing a complete FAN solution that integrates Itron’s smart grid solution onto the Cisco IPv6-based network. This provides a validated, interoperable solution for utilities that allows affordable and accessible upgrades as time goes by.
  • As part of the new FAN solution, Cisco is introducing the 1000 series Connected Grid Router. The router comes in models for outdoor pole-top mount (CGR 1240) and indoor din-rail mount (CGR 1120). Each supports 2G/3G, WiMax and RF mesh connectivity.
  • These ruggedized routers are specifically built to comply with electrical substation standards and designed for outdoor environments. The router has no moving parts (e.g., fans) and is built with industrial-grade components to support an extended temperature range.
  • The FAN solution also includes new endpoints, device management and network management systems that are open and flexible across diverse energy markets, providing a modular solution that can be reassembled as market structures change.
  • The Cisco Connected Grid Network Management System (NMS) provides network operators with end-to-end monitoring and control of the network communications, delivering enterprise-class visibility that can currently scale to manage up to 10 million endpoints.

Transmission and Substation Solutions

  • Cisco is expanding its transmission and substation solution to help utilities extend the useful life of their installed base of technology as part of a phased migration to standards-based networks. With this launch, Cisco offers a full set of communication modules for its 2000 Series Connected Grid Routers. These include the smart grid industry’s first wireless 4G/LTE module, WAN modules to support ISDN, and DSL networks.
  • Cisco has also enhanced security capabilities on the 2000 Series Connected Grid Routers and Switches. This includes the most advanced portfolio of VPN, encryption, access control, and threat detection in the industry. Features include intrusion prevention system (IPS) / intrusion detection system (IDS) and support for SCADA signatures. In addition, the Cisco 2000 Series Connected Grid Routers support synchrophasor deployments with source-specific multicast for efficient transfer and sharing of phasor management unit data across utility boundaries.

Connected Grid Services

  • Cisco has developed a set of tools and professional services to help utilities prioritize their communication investments by performing portfolio-level analysis of solutions on a shared multilayer infrastructure. This helps deliver an optimal design for technology deployment based on proven use cases and business requirements.
  • Cisco has developed the Connected Grid Visualization and Design tool to address the complexity of automating substation communications. The tool allows engineers to visualize in a single interface the energy delivery network CIM diagrams, IEC 61850 protection schema for intelligent electronic devices (IEDs), and the communications network. This helps enable engineers to design, model, and simulate all three networks dynamically, reducing design and deployment time and enabling engineers to standardize designs across hundreds or thousands of substations.

Supporting Quotes:

Laura Ipsen, senior vice president of Connected Energy Networks, Cisco: “The expansion of Cisco’s smart grid offerings will enable utility customers to more effectively and efficiently transition to a highly intelligent energy infrastructure for the 21st century. Cisco has developed solutions that will help utilities save costs and derive more value out of their existing technology networks as they transition to more robust and scalable standards-based networks. This architectural approach to smart grid, enabled by industry alliances like the one between Cisco and Itron, can help utilities achieve long-term, strategic objectives while reducing operational expenses.”

Philip Mezey, president & chief operating officer of Energy, Itron: “Together, Itron and Cisco are setting the stage for grid modernization. We have delivered on our joint vision to create a truly open, interoperable communications architecture to drive Smart Grid success for our utility customers and consumers. Through our extensive collaboration, we are helping utilities accelerate adoption and simplify deployment of smart grid solutions, reduce the total cost of ownership of these systems, and unleash innovation for smart grid applications and technologies in the marketplace.”

Customer Quotes:

Adrian Clark, chief technology officer, Ausgrid: “Cisco Services has recently worked with Ausgrid to understand the requirements for electricity substations today and as we move towards a more complex and integrated future environment. Their work is assisting us to transform the electricity network into a smarter grid. We highly value their ongoing partnership and commitment to our company and the industry.”

Gary Murphy, chief project officer, Smart Metering Program, BC Hydro: “The Smart Metering Program will help keep rates in British Columbia low by delivering $1.6 billion in savings to our customers over the 20 years. The Cisco-Itron alliance was a game changer for the industry. The ability to leverage our infrastructure with Itron’s smart grid solution and Cisco’s Connected Grid networking and security capabilities is a great stepping stone into smart grid. We will be able to leverage it for years to come.”

Miss Lu Hong, director of automation department, State Grid Corporation of China: “State Grid Corporation of China is leading the world by deploying full IEC 61850 Digital Substation architectures. For such large scale implementation the management of IED configuration and its communication network is very complex and time consuming. Cisco’s Visualization and Design tool enables our engineers to streamline substation network discovery, design, modeling and testing processes. It also helps validate and keep track of configuration changes, which meet our operational needs very well.”

Supporting Resources:

Tags / Keywords: Cisco, Smart Grid, Sustainability, Environment, Connected Grid, Substation Automation, Utilities RSS Feed for Cisco: http://newsroom.cisco.com/rss-feeds

About Cisco Systems Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCONews) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.

Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco’s trademarks can be found at www.cisco.com/go/trademarks. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.

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Contact:
Press Jennifer Greeson Dunn Cisco 202-354-2968 jegreeso@cisco.com

Manufacturing Technology Demand Was Strong in 2011

Although 2011 was marked by a mixed bag of economic strengths and weaknesses, demand for manufacturing technology was strong with the forecast for 2012 calling for continued but slow growth.

By Gary Mintchell, Co-Founder and Editor in Chief

The resurgence of manufacturing following the crash of 2008 is unprecedented according to a release from  AMT—The Association for Manufacturing Technology ( www.amtonline.org). The most current U.S. manufacturing technology orders put the year-to-date total at $4,529.11 million, which is up 80.5 percent compared with 2010 and are the second highest dollar amount in the last 15 years. As of October, manufacturing technology orders had already surpassed the total value accumulated in 2007.

“It’s long been recognized that analysis of manufacturing technology orders provides a reliable leading economic indicator, as it is an indicator that manufacturing firms are investing in capital equipment to increase their capacity and improve productivity. Manufacturing technology provides a foundation for all other manufacturing,” said Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “These machines and devices are the equipment that turn raw materials such as steel, iron, plastic, ceramics, composites, and alloys from their original state as stock materials into what will become durable goods such as airplanes, cars, and appliances, as well as consumer and other goods that are used every day.”
The Midwest and Central regions of the U.S. have seen the greatest surge in manufacturing technology orders. The Midwest’s manufacturing technology orders in 2011 are 105 percent more than the comparable figure for 2010. This large increase is the result of the region’s large traditional customer base.
It is also where the oldest equipment resides and the industries impacted most by the weak dollar and reshoring trend are located. The Central region pick-up — 85 percent higher compared to 2010 — was powered by the growth in the energy business and secondly by the automotive industry.
Overall manufacturing robust
Beyond manufacturing technology, overall U.S. manufacturing is robust. Despite the past several years trend of offshoring, the value of U.S. manufacturing output increased by one-third to $1.65 trillion between 1972 and the 2008 recession. Even though China accounted for 19.8 percent of global manufacturing value in 2010, the United States was strong with a share of 19.4 percent.
“The factors that are fueling this tremendous surge are the traditional reasons that drive growth in investment, but what is unusual about the current rebound is that all factors have come together at one time. This is something that’s never been seen before and as a result we are seeing a true renaissance for manufacturing in the U.S.,” Woods noted.
“American manufacturers rushed to beat the end-of-year bonus depreciation deadline. Inventories were low – something we’ve never experienced going into a recession – and that accounts for the quick rebound,” he explained. Exports are rising as American manufacturers meet overseas demand. Manufacturing technology from the U.S. is less expensive than foreign equipment, and U.S.-made goods are more price competitive than many imports due to the weak dollar.
Replace aging equipment
The average age of machinery currently in use at U.S. manufacturing facilities crept up from nine years in 2007 to 13.5 years, and as demand started to increase the need for investment to replace the aging equipment became apparent. Those investments are being made in completely new technology. Multi-operation machines are profoundly impacting productivity.  Water jet cutting and hydroforming are experiencing massive growth because they offer all the benefits of traditional processes but eliminate distortion and deformation. Additive manufacturing is growing, nano machining has become commercially affordable, and the availability of new materials, such as compact powdered metals, is having a tremendous impact. Plus, the emergence of cloud manufacturing, which promotes collaborative efforts across organizations, is opening new doors to manufacturers.
Expanding markets worldwide are playing an important role as manufacturing grows. China seems insatiable and accounts for almost one half of the world’s total consumption of manufacturing technology. India’s economy is growing at double the Western economy’s rate, with expectations for more China-like development soon. As it prepares for major world events including the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup competition, South America faces the challenge of building infrastructure that can support the events. Russia, South Africa, the Middle East and South Asia are on the fringe, but nevertheless contribute to growth in the global manufacturing economy.
Reshoring helps
Another factor boosting U.S. manufacturing is the reshoring phenomenon. More work is coming back to the U.S. from foreign shores and there is greater foreign direct investment in U.S. facilities. The quality of work in the U.S. is proving to be more valuable than originally thought in the off-shoring investment calculation. Companies face increasing

costs in logistics issues with the delivery of components and the exporting of completed products to North America. Add to that the rapidly increasing labor costs in traditionally “low-cost” labor markets, and the continued decline of labor in the overall share of total production cost, and the reshoring picture becomes clear. “When the the total cost of manufacturing is calculated, the U.S. is a very favorable environment,” Woods notes.
“In fact, new research from the Boston Consulting Group shows that transportation goods such as vehicles and auto parts, construction equipment, appliances, electrical equipment and furniture are among the sectors that could create up to 3 million job as a result of manufacturing returning to the U.S.,” Woods says.
The outlook for 2012 remains positive. The weak dollar is making exports strong. Reshoring is in full bloom. The manufacturing base is reinvesting in the latest tools. Energy will continue to be a large investor in manufacturing technology. The automotive industry is making major changes to address green issues, which will lead to significant investments in production technology, as well as spending to support the shift of the industry’s center from Detroit to the South/Southwest. Aerospace green field investments will continue in the Southeast and West.
Help still needed
Woods says, “This all said, manufacturing in America still needs help. Jobs are an unresolved issue. Despite the high number of Americans out of work, manufacturing jobs continue to go unfilled. That is because the factory floor today is very different from what it used to be. It is awash with new technologies and processes that require advanced training and adaptable skills.  We need a “smartforce” of workers who are up to the job.
“Until we take steps to level the playing field for U.S. companies in the global marketplace by eliminating trade barriers, reining in regulations, and lowering taxes for manufacturers, we risk losing ground to our foreign competitors in new markets and industries. We must keep the pressure on our elected officials to come up with a focused plan for moving forward. AMT is poised to work with the Federal Government to implement a national manufacturing strategy – a Manufacturing Mandate that will establish America as the worldwide leader in next-generation manufacturing technologies and the world-class products and services they provide. Continued growth in our manufacturing sector is a necessary step on the path to sustainable economic prosperity and worldwide leadership and only achievable through the concerted, collaborative efforts of the stakeholders.”

Mobile SCADA Benefits

Make Timely Decisions Anytime, Anywhere
SCADA access on mobile devices empowers manufacturing managers and supervisors to make timely decisions anywhere. Remote access can be enabled through a secure VPN or external router. The Ignition Mobile Module can read and write to the control system, so you can manage operations just as if you were physically on the plant floor.

 

Fast, Easy Plant Floor Management
Manage your process system quickly and easily while walking around the plant floor. Go anywhere on the machine floor and manage the entire facility in the palm of your hand. With Ignition available on your cell phone, you can quickly implement changes or make notations.
Convenient Alarm Supervision
Receive and view automatic alerts on your phone, tablet or PDA. Respond immediately to SCADA alarms through mobile interaction with real-time data. Save a trip to the office and reduce the time it takes to resolve an issue that slows production.

3 Reasons Linux Is Preferred for Control Systems

By Krista Duty, Inductive Automation
Linux has long been on the “wishlist” for control systems. Until now, most systems have been locked-in to the Windows operating system due to reliance on classic OPC—a ubiquitous communication standard based on Microsoft’s Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM). The name of the game is changing, however, with the arrival of the next-generation OPC standard, the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC-UA). The new standard was designed for cross-platform compatibility, which makes room for Linux to gain popularity in the automated control industry.
Jonathan Gross, vice president of Pemeco , a 32-year-old IT consulting firm, explained why Linux will be a big player as the industry moves ahead. “The stars are aligned for Linux-powered servers to gain significant market-share in industrial automation environments,” Gross said. “Currently, security, stability and reliability make Linux the operating system of choice to support many web-server applications. With the increasing tendency to develop SCADA and control systems in web-based environments, it only makes sense that end-users will strongly consider Linux-based operating platforms. As icing-on-the-cake, Linux generally has a much lower total cost of ownership than Windows.”
Gross is not alone in his analysis. Others in the industry, such as Paresh Dalwalla, are also predicting a growing trend toward Linux. Dalwalla is president of OpteBiz Inc. , which focuses on providing real-time operational intelligence solutions to control system users in both the United States and India.
Dalwalla’s explanation closely mirrors that of Gross. “End users are looking for improved security, stability, and reduced total cost of ownership,” Dalwalla said. “More and more end users will see the benefits once they cross the learning curve of an open source operating system. This change will require some time and commitment, but it will be well worth the effort.”
Let’s look at why security, stability, and cost top the list of reasons why Linux is a great choice for control systems.
Reason #1: Security
If a computer system’s integrity is compromised by a virus or a malicious attacker exploiting a security vulnerability, it can cause downtime and equipment damage. Just this week, Managing Automation magazine published a story  regarding a virus that attacks the Siemens’ SIMATIC WinCC and PCS7 software through a vulnerability in Windows. The article also states that these types of attacks for process control systems have been on the rise during the past few years. (Editor’s note: Update from Siemens on Virus affecting Simatic WinCC SCADA systems)
Until recently, companies were tied to Windows as the base for their control system—and they were more likely to be a victim of system hacking than if they were using Linux.
“Compared to Linux, Windows is a bigger attack target,” Gross said. “On average, Windows operating systems are roughly twice as susceptible to hacks and cyber-attacks.  Also, an attack event on a Windows operating system has the potential to cause more widespread damage than a similar attack on a Linux system.”
 
Using Linux means less vulnerability, less downtime, and fewer headaches for companies.
Reason #2: Stability and Reliability
Linux is widely considered to crash less than Windows. It’s also easier to update the system without having to reset the system, as is needed in a Windows environment. This means that systems have more uptime and increased productivity levels.
“Operating system or server downtime introduces risks associated with a temporary inability to monitor and control the systems,” explains Gross. “Though today’s Windows systems are much more stable than they have historically been, they still experience more downtime than Linux systems. One reason for downtime is that Windows systems need to be rebooted to install updates. In contrast, Linux systems can generally be updated without a hardware reset.”
Reason #3: Less Cost
Last but definitely not least is the fact that Linux is more cost effective in the long run. Not only is it available free of cost because it’s open source, but it’s also easier to maintain by IT staff—which means substantial savings in ongoing administrative costs.
“The open source market has expanded tremendously in recent times due to the backing of large companies such as Sun and Google,” Dalwalla said. “Linux is an open source operating system that is considered more stable and comes with very little capital costs. There are ongoing support costs that are to be considered for both options, but Linux can definitely help keep it down.”
Bottom line, companies don’t have to spend money on licenses for Windows servers, nor spend as much time maintaining the system.
OPC-UA and Linux in Action
Now that OPC-UA is available, the next step to take is to find products that use the new standard. Integrator Kyle Chase described his story. Chase is a systems integration specialist for Surefire SCADA Inc. , located in Canada, who has always been a fan of Linux. Naturally, he was very excited about OPC-UA and being able to build systems on Linux.
Earlier this year, Chase found Ignition by Inductive Automation , which included an OPC-UA server, making the entire software system Linux compatible. Having used Inductive Automation software for the past three years with much success, he was confident in trying out the company’s newest release.
He gave an example of a project he implemented for a customer using Ignition. The customer’s distillation refinery has a single controller with 14 racks of remote IO. The facility needed both fast update performance, as well as reliability. Previous solutions from industry-leaders couldn’t deliver both. For example, one product gave them the reliability, but it could only give updates once every eight seconds—but the customer needed updates every second. Another product they tried provided the performance needed, but it would shut down every day.
Enter Ignition, OPC-UA, and access to Linux. Chase began testing to see how well it performed, and after going through dry runs, he has been very pleased.
“The performance is absolutely crazy!” Chase said. “Ignition is actively subscribed to 30,000 tags with updates every second. We can finally monitor all of our tags, at the speed we want with the reliability we need.”
Chase is sold on OPC-UA. “To me, the move to a true cross platform environment is important,” he stated. “This holds many advantages, especially when it comes to system flexibility and security. It helps keep costs down as well. Inductive Automation is the first to provide the software required to do this.”
Krista Duty is the marketing director for Inductive Automation. Since 2003, Inductive Automation has been producing software that reduces frustration and increases efficiency in the industrial automation market. Their software facilitates the instant accessibility of meaningful information throughout the enterprise.

Inductive Automation: Integrator uses software to deliver performance and reliability

Written by  Mary Del CiancioAugust 25, 2010
THE COMPANY: Backed by 40 years of experience, Drayton Valley, Alta.-based Surefire SCADA Inc. creates web-based hosted SCADA systems that encompass all aspects of industrial automation. The company designs and implements industrial control systems and maintains information technology.

THE CHALLENGE: One of Surefire SCADA’s customers was looking for a solution to get a fast, reliable update performance. Previous solutions from industry leaders couldn’t deliver both. Kyle Chase, a systems integration specialist for Surefire SCADA, describes the dilemma: “One product gave them the reliability, but it could only give updates once every eight seconds, and the customer needed updates every second. Another product they tried provided the performance needed, but it would shut down every day.”

THE STRATEGY: Earlier this year, Chase found Ignition by Inductive Automation , which included an OPC-UA server, making the entire software system Linux compatible. Having used Inductive Automation software for the past three years with much success, he was confident in trying out the company’s newest release for the distillation refinery project.

THE RESULTS: After conducting dry runs with the system, Chase has been more than pleased with the results. “The performance is absolutely crazy,” he says. “Ignition is actively subscribed to 30,000 tags with updates every second. We can finally monitor all of our tags at the speed we want, with the reliability we need.”

Chase is sold on OPC-UA and being able to use Linux for control systems. “To me, the move to a true cross platform environment is important,” he explains. “This holds many advantages, especially when it comes to system flexibility and security. It helps keep costs down as well.”

For more information about Ignition by Inductive Automation, visitwww.inductiveautomation.com .