Burns & McDonnell dedicates new smart grid laboratory

Kansas City, Mo., January 31, 2012 — Burns & McDonnell has expanded and upgraded its Smart Grid Laboratory as a result of a move into a new larger testing and development facility equipped with more than $1 million in diagnostics and testing equipment.

The new facility was formally dedicated during a Jan. 27 open house for employee-owners and clients. The new testing facility is now open and available for the exclusive use of Burns & McDonnell clients.

Located in a 600-square-foot space within the Burns & McDonnell World Headquarters, the lab incorporates the technologies clients are using to modernize the power grid. These include:

* IEC 61850 - GOOSE, MMS, and Sampled Values messaging for both control and process bus implementations

* DNP 3.0

* Protective relaying over packet networks

* Network technologies including SONET, Ethernet, IP and MPLS

* Fiber and wireless communications technologies

* Substation automation logic controllers

* SCADA Remote Terminals

* Data Concentrators

* Fault Recorders

* Metering equipment measuring power quality and harmonics

* GPS and IEEE 1588 time synchronization.

The laboratory is intended to demonstrate how advanced information technologies can be integrated with power delivery equipment as the industry moves toward highly automated, "self-healing" distribution systems.

The lab allows Burns & McDonnell engineers to work with clients to configure and test solutions during design and installation, therefore improving project success and speed of deployment.

The Burns & McDonnell Smart Grid Laboratory was first built in 2007 as testing facility for select clients who were interested in demonstrating interoperability of software, two-way communications equipment and other automation equipment in preparation for deployments of smart grid projects.

In addition to the latest technologies and devices, the lab is capable of simulating two complete substations and varying power conditions. It has the equipment many utilities have been deploying, enabling testing of interoperability between multiple vendors and vintages of equipment.

Equipment and systems in the lab can test advanced substation and distribution feeder automation using IEC 61850 and DNP 3.0 testing applications between multiple vendors and relay types. It can also stage demonstrations of high speed tripping using GOOSE messaging, HMI interoperability, substation visualization and automation systems. Communications with deployment of Ethernet, IP, and MPLS technology can focus on a converged networking platform for security, automation, and protection.

Another issue facing smart grid deployment is interoperability of legacy and advanced equipment. By demonstrating how legacy and advanced equipment can be integrated together in a unified design, investments in IED relaying incorporating the latest technologies can be justified. The lab has successfully demonstrated solutions such as tying IEC-61850 to the power line carrier and integrating advanced protection and control systems with legacy equipment using RS-232 and DNP interfaces.

Additionally, security tests can be implemented through firewalls and gateway devices with card access and physical security sharing a converged network. These tests have been helpful in showing how to integrate security into substation design.

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