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Rockwell Automation - Wind park management solution

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Wind Park Management solution can help turn saved milliseconds into millions of saved of Euro

Rockwell Automation's EtherNet/IP-based Wind Park Management solution offers a speed of response so fast that not only does it remove the need for millions of euro's worth of capacitor banks, but it also surpasses the requirements of proposed 2013 utility-end-user requirements.

60milliseconds may not sound like a lot, but it makes a huge difference to many wind farms, as it can mean a €20m+ investment in capacitor banks in order to meet the 140ms reaction-time requirements of many utility end users.
With many wind farm management systems struggling to reach a 200ms reaction time, the news that the utility end users want to introduce a global standard for grid code compliance that will reduce it even further – to 50ms – is not good. However, using industry-proven, unmodified, off-the-shelf hardware, running on an open-standard EtherNet/IP network, Rockwell Automation offers a Wind Park Management solution that is capable of delivering reaction speeds of 10ms... five times faster than the 2013 proposals!

Historically, many Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) engineers are from an IT background and their internally developed communications tend to be bespoke; as such, the communication protocols they use are not designed for external control and have low priority, which causes bottlenecks in the turbine controllers. Instead of "daisy chaining" the control signals along a long control loop, EtherNet/IP allows users to employ a produce/consume star network topology.

The speed gains are due, in part, to the fact that independent signals can be sent to each turbine simultaneously thanks to the deterministic nature of the network. In addition, as the network is based unmodified IEEE 802.3 Ethernet, users will also have access to all the benefits of Ethernet such as enterprise-level communication, infrastructure, broadcast and multicast messaging.

To give an idea of the speed gains, an architecture that relies on communication from the wind farm controller to a standard (non Rockwell Automation) Ethernet controller using standard TCP/IP open socket communications will send and receive a message string in 27ms. In comparison, communication from a wind farm controller to a Rockwell Automation controller – or device that supports the CIP protocol over Ethernet/IP – can be communicated to all wind turbine generators in the wind park in less than 10ms!

At this year's EWEC event Rockwell Automation also addressed another of the industry's major concerns – safety. To help wind OEMs address the EN13849 & EN62061 machinery safety standards, the company exhibited its scalable GuardLogix® - and component-based safety solutions, which also address overly complex installations by residing on the same EtherNet/IP network as the control solution. Safety specialists were on hand at the show to discuss specific requirements.

Finally, as well as exhibiting a wide selection from its extensive portfolio of industrial components, Rockwell Automation also promoted the huge array of benefits available through the use of its Integrated Architecture™ approach.
Already massively popular in the industrial arena, the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system supports multiple disciplines in a scalable and information-enabled architecture that leverages the standard EtherNet/IP
network and provides premier integration to a broad portfolio of world-class products and services. It allows users to optimise productivity thanks to a common control engine and common development environment.

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