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The Ovation Ethernet Link Controller I/O Module from Emerson is suitable for protocol handling applications, such as interfaces with turbine vibration systems, electrical relays and process analysers.

The flexible, redundant module, which is also said to be ideal for burner management and safety systems and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, offers an I/O-level Ethernet interface capability that is coupled with the Ovation expert control system.

This translates into a number of integration, decision support and security benefits for power and water utilities that utilise Ovation technology in their plants.

The module’s dedicated processor expands the number and types of third-party devices and systems that can be supported by an Ovation controller, as well as the sophisticated data they provide.

The module, which offloads all communications protocol processing previously handled by the controller, also offers faster access to the data from these devices and more efficiently integrates the information into the Ovation system.

‘The expanded capabilities of the Ovation Ethernet Link Controller I/O Module give plant operators additional insight into their facilities – insight they can use to make informed decisions that will optimise the availability, efficiency and reliability of their plants,’ said Steve Schilling, vice-president of product development for the Power and Water Solutions division of Emerson.

Once the Ethernet Link Controller is installed, organisations are able to add new communications protocols at any time without having to upgrade their Ovation system, he added.

When adding protocols, users receive communications software as well as protocol-specific configuration tools that reside within Ovation’s standard suite of engineering tools.

‘With the tools resident in this plug-in environment, it’s significantly easier and faster for customers to configure links,’ said Schilling.

A protocol can be deployed on diverse Ovation platforms – in either the Ethernet Link Controller I/O Module itself or, for example, the Ovation SCADA server, which supports a range of protocols and physical communications layers, including dial-up, leased lines and wireless.

With the module, data exchanged with other devices can be applied to Ovation control schemes and displayed in graphics.

Applications protocol packages can be loaded onto the Ethernet Link Controller I/O Module, enabling Emerson to extend its Plantweb digital architecture and Ovation system beyond traditional plant boundaries.

One such protocol package is International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61850, which has emerged as a global standard for substation automation (SA).

Integrating data from electrical devices used in generators, switchgear, transmission lines, transformers and substations leads to more informed decision making throughout the organisation, according to Emerson.

The company claims that the Ethernet Link I/O Controller Module also has important cyber-security implications for users.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC’s) standards CIP-002 through CIP-009 provide a cyber-security framework for the identification and protection of critical cyber assets to support the operation of the Bulk Electric System.

As part of complying with these standards, power generators need to define their security perimeters.

The Ovation controller communicates with the Ethernet Link Controller I/O Module over the Ovation I/O bus, which is not a routable protocol.

Therefore, the security perimeter stops at the controller and does not extend to workstations or beyond, thereby providing an extra measure of information isolation and security for power generators.

Emerson Process Management

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