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SCADA systems for distribution and substation automation

August 25, 2023 11:21 pm

SCADA systems for distribution and substation automation

In an interview with EPR Magazine, Sujay Kulkarni, COO of Ashida Electronics Pvt. Ltd. highlights the application benefits of their SCADA systems for distribution and substation automation, among other comprehensive offerings.

How do protection relays contribute to efficient and reliable electrical system operation?

Ashida Electronics specialises in power protection systems and automation systems. Our expertise includes designing and manufacturing protection relays for medium- to high-voltage substations and distribution automation systems. Protection relays are primarily used for fault protection. Upon the detection of faults, these relays assist in promptly clearing them, thereby reducing the occurrence of network tripping. This, in turn, ensures the faulty section is isolated and the rest of the network remains healthy, significantly contributing to the system’s overall stability. Additionally, these systems play a vital role in maximising power availability.

Furthermore, we offer automation systems, substation automation, and remote SCADA systems. These technologies enable efficient and remote handling of system faults and necessary maintenance tasks, ensuring optimal operational efficiency.

How do your systems facilitate industrial process monitoring control and real-time data acquisition?

Our advantage lies in being both a manufacturer of protection relay and automation systems. Consequently, our protection relay systems and SCADA systems are seamlessly integrated. Our SCADA systems are categorised into two main types. Firstly, we offer substation local monitoring, enabling comprehensive control of an entire substation from a single location. This feature provides precise data and diagnostic information with millisecond accuracy, allowing for the safe sequencing and diagnosis of operations.

Additionally, our remote SCADA systems facilitate the remote control of multiple substations from a central hub. We incorporate applications such as the energy management system to enhance functionality, which we have successfully implemented for Indian Railways. This system enables them to monitor power consumption across the state, utilising the data for advanced machine learning AI processes to predict future consumption trends. This predictive data aids in accurate

consumption forecasts, enabling informed decisions on purchasing to optimise revenue.

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What are the other key characteristics of your products that ensure accuracy, precision, safety, and control of electrical products and applications?

We offer a distinctive application tailored for railways to address faults swiftly. Through this system, we provide automatic fault localisation and normalisation procedures. This enables the system to autonomously identify the fault’s precise location, isolate the affected section, and restore functionality to the rest. These systems ensure a secure operational environment without manual intervention, ensuring swiftness, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. This exemplifies how such solutions can be implemented.

Furthermore, our fundamental unique selling proposition (USP) is our in-house system design capability. This empowers us to understand customer needs better and tailor our applications precisely to those requirements.

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What customisation and tailored options are available across your product portfolio that meet the specific customer’s demands?

We recently customised a product for a significant power utility company, streamlining their operations involving protection and RTU units. Our solution combined protection and automation communication functions into a single integrated unit, resulting in substantial cost savings by eliminating redundancy. Instead of producing separate units for distinct purposes, our unified approach efficiently fulfilled all requirements within one enclosure. This tailored customisation significantly impacted space utilisation and had implications for their commercial operations.

In collaboration with the power utility company, we observed their use of two separate equipment pieces for different functions, incurring duplicate expenses and space inefficiencies. Our consolidated unit optimised space usage and costs were reduced by 50 percent. This innovative approach enhances both efficiency and cost- effectiveness for the company.

Which measures are in place to avoid or lessen the impacts of security threats in electrical systems?

Cybersecurity’s paramount role in power applications is evident with global technological strides. Emerging standards, like the developing IEC standard 62443 & 62351 and IEEE norms, shape this landscape. Ashida remains engaged and primed for diverse applications, continually enhancing products. For instance, our FRTU automation undergoes CPRI testing for Cyber security, aligning with the latest power

ministry’s cyber compliance. We lead in this arena, and are perhaps first in India to comply with these standards. Our commitment to cutting-edge technology ensures fortified products, guarding against cyber threats, placing us at the innovation forefront, and safeguarding product integrity.

Can you discuss the designs and your manufacturing facility and shed some light on the standards you mentioned?

Electronic manufacturing’s essence is PCB assembly, often outsourced through EMS models. Yet, we stand apart, conducting our PCB assembly, via our SMT line. We emphasise human attention and strict standards like IPC610a. Our Bhiwandi facility spans 10,000 sq. ft., crafting products per national and international standards. As protection relay experts, we continually train our team, upholding top industry benchmarks. Our certifications align with global PCB assembly norms. Presently, we’re expanding this state-of-the-art facility to maintain excellence.

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What kind of safety specs have you been taking on behalf of Ashada Electronics to ensure an uninterrupted power supply?

In our hardware designs, a comprehensive analysis of components is integral. This involves assessing factors like reliability indexes, the mean time between failures (MTBF), and the mean time between repairs (MTBR). Stress tests on production devices help identify vulnerabilities. This iterative approach drives product improvement: weak links are replaced with more reliable alternatives. This continuous enhancement significantly boosts product lifespan and dependability. On the hardware side, our software development follows strict standards, like MISRA C, ensuring high reliability. Code coverage assessments and minimisation efforts align with international norms, proven across diverse industries, including nuclear power. This commitment led to our qualification as a critical application vendor for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. Our dedication to quality drives both hardware and software advancements.

What kinds of investments and R&D are happening at ASHIDA to bring new products to the electrical sector?

We’re strategically investing on both the production and electronic manufacturing fronts. A new manufacturing facility equipped with multiple SMT lines is being established, ensuring precision and a controlled environment. This constitutes one facet of our design-oriented approach. As a long-term commitment, we’re expanding our team with specialised professionals and fostering collaborations with academia, as exemplified by our projects at IIT Powai. Engaging with high-end technology providers is under consideration to secure our long-term position. We launched our modified FRTU last year and unveiled a tailored voltage protection solution, addressing a

previously overlooked niche. Our commitment to innovation remains unwavering as we continue to explore novel avenues.

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