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Moxa Ensures Power Substation Reliability

Ensuring Power Substation Reliability at the Highest Level
Moxa embedded computers take the smart grid to power substations

Engineers at Moxa have been designing communication network solutions that satisfy the strict, many-fold requirements of industrial automation for more than twenty years. Their equipment enables power utilities to offer uninterrupted and reliable electric power to the public, even under harsh environmental conditions. But Moxa’s latest power substation automation system—an IEC 61850-3-certified, 18-port, embedded computer—presented some new challenges for the company’s designers.

Moxa wanted to build a platform for substation automation that could handle a large number of LAN and serial ports while withstanding high temperatures in a fanless, 1U standard rack-mount form factor. “We also had to meet rigorous electromagnetic interference (EMI) testing requirements for IEC 61850-3, a specification governing communication networks and systems in substations,” says Moxa European Business Development Manager Hermann Berg. “Our EMC/RFI shielding technology and purpose-built L-type heat sink that takes heat to the side rather than the top or bottom, combined with our prior experience with Intel® architecture processors enabled us to develop this stackable computer.”

The new DA-681* Series rack-mount embedded computer is designed to service the communications traffic generated by as many as six Ethernet ports and a mix of twelve RS-232/RS-485 ports. This high level of I/O capacity and flexibility is needed as power substations transition from analog to digital, which requires integrated communications and control systems for managing various equipment inside a power substation. Moxa is a leader in industrial serial communication, using its own serial technology to serve the most diverse and demanding requirements. Using Intel’s leading CPU technology, Moxa was able to build an “industrial off-the-shelf” computer system that stands up to the extreme environmental conditions of the power substation.

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