Fossil fuels, gas, oil, and coal are still the dominant players in the global energy mix. And as new and innovative technologies lead to cleaner and more flexible energy solutions, we’re beginning to enter a new era of intelligent fossil fuel power generation plants.
Conventional thermal power generation comprises power plants like coal fired, combined cycle, and coal gasification power plants. They all require ongoing communications to stay in operation and remain safe. While industrial Ethernet on the plant floor was once a rarity, today’s power plant operators are turning to industrial Ethernet communications to create a real-time, seamless flow of information.
Industrial Ethernet networks are also an integral part of real-time control systems for power plants. All major manufacturers of DCS (Distributed Control Systems) and PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) support Ethernet communications on their devices and have made support for Industrial Ethernet networking and Ethernet based protocols (like Ethernet/IP, Profinet, Modbus TCP) a major feature of their product and system offerings.
Today’s utility grade communications systems have been designed to perform all power plant automation tasks including:
Boiler control including boiler protection
Balance of plant (BOP)
Integration of third party systems, like camera systems for video surveillance
We also outfit our smart grid devices with redundant network technology to provide high availability Ethernet within power plants. New redundancy concepts based on PRP / HSR (IEC 62439 standard) offer always-on communications through parallel data transmission. That means no packet loss and zero-second network recovery times. And that means much more peace of mind.
Built to stop attacks in their tracks
It’s not just about controlling what’s inside. It’s also about controlling cyber attacks that occur through the network. To protect your critical plant infrastructure from malicious cyber-attacks and tampering, you need secure, utility grade communications technology from the corporate network to the plant floor.
Remember, these attacks can occur from within the plant or from the corporate network side. And they can bring down the entire network—unless protection and segregation are provided. The type of rugged communications security products you install can make a world of difference. Siemens RUGGEDCOM routers provide integrated firewall and VPN (Virtual Private Network) protection against cyber-attacks to your plant floor network. Siemens RUGGEDCOM switches and routers provide integrated user and port access authentication and control to ensure network access is granted only to authorized users or devices.
Layer-3 solutions with high data rates
High performance of the communication network
Consistent, end-to-end diagnostic options