REFERENCE CASE STUDY
Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern provides electricity, gas, water and district heating. The company started in 1858 delivering gas, adding electricity 1894, water and district heat. In 2012 the utility decided the time had come to upgrade its integrated management platform in the form of Hitachi Energy's MicroSCADA Pro.
An upgrade to the latest version of MicroSCADA Pro offered an opportunity for the customer to design a completely-new user interface, based around their unique combination of services. Hitachi Energy's software platform allowed Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern to create its own user experience; from process flow to icon design, creating a custom installation integrated with protection equipment from HItachi Energy's Relion® series, Remote Terminal Units (RTU) and FOX communication products.
Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern operating as a multi-utility company, and that means supporting multiple protocols to connect diverse equipment. For this installation Hitachi Energy had to use a mix of communication protocols and interfaces as well as narrowband radio modems for locations beyond the reach of wires and fibers.
Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern initially installed MicroSCADA Pro at the end of last century, to mitigate any potential issues around the centennial date change – the so-called Y2K bug. Since then it has expanded the utilities on offer, and extended the distribution network, prompting the decision to upgrade the software.
A key requirement was the ability to create a customer-specific man-machine interface, designing custom icons and visualizations of the network. MicroSCADA Pro was able to deliver this flexibility, with Hitachi Energy providing only the software platform, and suitable support for Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern’s own engineers who created the customized user experience. The software now controls hundreds of devices managing the new heating-delivery services, along with hundreds of secondary substations many of which have also benefited from migration to the RTU511.
Hitachi Energy Solution
Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern is an old customer of Hitachi Energy, having used MicroSCADA Pro for more than a decade, but Hitachi Energy's commitment to interoperability and long-term support means that even loyal customers are never locked in. The decision to upgrade MicroSCADA Pro was carefully taken, and the result of the product’s utility and adaptability.
Over 200 of Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern’s 360 substations have also benefited from migration to the RTU511 (Remote Terminal Unit) replacing the earlier RTU211. This upgrade brings the benefit of improved cyber security, support for Ethernet protocols, and better fault diagnosis.
The service contract offered by Hitachi Energy, and taken up Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern, not only ensures that spare parts are always available, but that skilled engineers are always available to fit them, and maintain the rest of the system as necessary.
Integrating multiple utilities into a single user experience isn’t something every Hitachi Energy customer needs to do, but for Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern it provides an instant view to earth faults and short-circuits monitoring, with alarms overlaid onto a map of the entire medium-voltage grid. So faults can be immediately identified, and quickly remedied. Integrating multiple services, electricity, gas, and district heating, into a single interface, is essential for a utility delivering such a range of services, and something MicroSCADA Pro’s flexibility provides.
The use of MicroSCADA Pro simplifies the management of a complex multi-utility as it enables the integration of the different utilities into a single control interface. For example the delivery of heated water to homes adds another level of complexity to the Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern system, but is a very efficient way to supply both heating and hot water within a district. The extension of that service into the nearby US Military Community (home to more than 50,000 Americans) has further increased the efficiency, which gains from scale, but leaves Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern with hundreds of controlling devices to manage. MicroSCADA Pro can deliver such flexibility and utility. Stadtwerke might have installed the software to avoid the millennium bug, but a decade and a half later the software continues to expand and extend, just like the customers using this integrated device.