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Welcome to Macs Are Great. Nowadays, computing equipment plays a key role in power generation facilities. The range of applications for computers in substations has expanded from the usual provision of computing power to critical tasks such as analytics, process monitoring and control.

Currently, in accordance with the protocol IEC 61850, computer equipment is widely used at the level of connection and substation level.

Its main tasks include monitoring and control of intelligent electronic devices such as protection relays, PMUs (vector measurement units), interface devices, digital oscilloscopes (recorders) and GOOSE/SMV analysis devices.

In addition, computers on the CPU are used for environmental monitoring and surveillance systems.

Any problems in the operation of computer equipment, not to mention its failure, can directly affect the operation of a single substation and the power system as a whole.

Consequently, the reliability and operability of the substation computers is a key factor in the efficient operation of the substation, and the management of the entire set of computing equipment becomes particularly important along with other responsible substation equipment.

Why is it necessary to maintain the computer equipment of the central office?

Three typical approaches to operation and maintenance of equipment (including computers) are implemented at electric substations:

Post-emergency maintenance (in case of equipment breakage or failure)

With this approach, the equipment remains in operation until it breaks down. Repair or replacement of damaged equipment only occurs after the problem has already arisen.

Although this approach is used in some substations, it is not recommended for use with responsible substation equipment, including computing equipment.

Planned maintenance

Maintenance measures are carried out at predetermined intervals. Computer equipment is much more likely to perform routine maintenance than post-accident maintenance.

According to the results of a number of studies, the transition from post-accident to scheduled maintenance allows users to save from 12% to 18% of the allocated funds.

However, scheduled maintenance has its disadvantages:

  • If the equipment malfunctions occur before the planned maintenance time, this situation is reduced to a post-emergency maintenance.
  • Occasionally, scheduled maintenance may result in an excessive (in excess of the required) amount of maintenance.
  • Planned maintenance can be very time consuming.

Preventive maintenance (current maintenance)

Such maintenance is carried out when periodic monitoring of the equipment shows a clear trend towards deterioration. As a result, faulty equipment is replaced before obvious problems arise. Preventive maintenance allows to achieve savings within 8-12% compared to the cost of planned maintenance.

For you surely will not become news that today maintenance of the computer equipment of the central office of the Central Office is increasingly built on the last of the approaches listed above. Substation computers are now classified as “critical equipment” and are included in the preventive maintenance program.

Many substation operators and system integrators also include the technical requirements for computing equipment in their tender specifications.

For example, an important part of the tender requirements is to support the required CPU loading values and memory usage by computers involved in data processing and substation communication processes.

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