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OPC Foundation Announces IEC 61850 Companion Spec Release

    The OPC UA for IEC61850 Companion Specification was created to support the integration of electrical aspects into an industrial plant. It defines an OPC UA Information Model to represent electrical substation automation systems. The focus is on data exchange between a gateway to devices used to control electrical networks.

    Supervision and Control Systems act in various fields of industrial activity, but in almost all cases an important part is dedicated to the distribution of energy throught a plant or an industrial process. Most of the time, energy in the form of electricity is generated and then supplied via an electrical distribution network before being consumed by electrical consumers.

    Interoperable Electric Network/Asset Management Systems (ENAMS) are frequently required as electrical network components may be supplied by a large set of vendors. One of the main standards for electrical processes is IEC 61850. As described later in this document, IEC 61850 not only defines communication protocols; it defines, among other important features, a standardized data model with strong and unambiguous data semantics. The data model by itself conveys a large amount of information about the electrical aspect of an industrial plant.

    To achieve coordinated control over devices of many technological generations and designs within an industrial plant, gateways are often needed. A major challenge for these gateways is the ability to transfer information fully and acurately.

    While IEC 61850 is focused on electricity generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption, OPC UA is more and more used in non-electrical industrial process activities. It is clear that users require integration of the electrical aspects of a plant with non-electrical aspects. This document is focused on defining what and how data is exchanged between these parts of an industrial plant.

    OPC UA’s modelling capabilities make it possible to transfer data between different systems without losing the semantics of data. Thus, this companion specification document describes how IEC 61850 data can exchanged using OPC UA data modelling and services.

    The specification has been reviewed and approved by the OPC Technical Advisory Council. It is listed as Release Candidate until validated by a prototype or product.

    Download Companion Specification Release Candidate: