OMICRON Magazine

PROTECTION SYSTEM VALIDATION WITH DIGITAL TWINS Iterative Closed Loop Testing for virtual IEDs The emergence of virtual devices, or Digital Twins, continues to change processes in more and more industries. Digital Twins mimic a physical device as closely as possible. There are significant benefits to using virtual devices during the life-cycle stages of a system. Using Digital Twins enables early engineering tests and can simplify troubleshooting in later lifecycle phases. Even system relevant industries such as the electric power industry are now embracing this new technology. In the protection systems of electric power systems, Digital Twins from Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) allow the performance of protection systems to be tested during early engineering stages or before rolling out new settings or firmware versions for the physical IEDs. RelaySimTest is the first tool to use such virtual systems efficiently. Virtual IEDs contain all the protection functions, algorithms, and interfaces of the physical IEDs that they represent. Testing protection systems using virtual IEDs allows the design and logic of the protection system to be validated before the physical IEDs are installed. These early tests can help increase protection design and testing quality and thus shorten commissioning and testing time in the field. Testing such a virtual system does not require hardware, as neither physical IEDs nor physical test sets are necessary. Test cases can be created and replayed on virtual IEDs that form a virtual replica of the future protection system. This enables engineers and technicians to find design and logic errors early. In addition, they can also uncover errors in the protection system test plan. Afterward, the corrected test plan can be re-used to efficiently test the physical protection system. 6

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