4-page Case Study - Posted 7/2/2010
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ABB

ABB Uses Windows Embedded Server to Deliver Compact, Robust Power Automation Solution

ABB Group, a Fortune Global 500 Company, is a worldwide leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industrial customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. One of ABB’s most important customers is State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the largest electric power transmission and distribution company in the world. SGCC wanted a monitoring and control system for power transmission and distribution equipment located in harsh, demanding environments. Using Windows Server 2003 R2 For Embedded Systems as the operating system, ABB developed the MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C, a compact and rugged data acquisition and supervisory control system for production process control and scheduling automation. The Windows Embedded server appliance monitors and controls on-site equipment, including measurement, parameter adjustment, and signal alarms. The system improves network reliability, security, and efficiency, to achieve power transmission and distribution automation and modernization.

Situation

As the world’s leading supplier of electrical substation equipment, ABB has delivered key advances that have improved the reliability and flexibility of transmission and distribution systems in the most demanding environments, from deserts and mountains to offshore rigs and city centers.

Based in Switzerland and founded over a century ago, ABB has renowned expertise in power automation protection, including telemetry, remote sensing, and signal control of electrical transmission lines and front-end distribution equipment.

ABB’s biggest customer is State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the largest electric power transmission and distribution company in China and in the world. SGCC's core business is to build and operate power grids and provide secure and reliable power supply for the development of China. The state-owned enterprise has registered capital of 200 billion yuan, and a service area covering 26 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the jurisdiction of the Central Government, which is equal to 88 percent of the national territory.

SGCC recently asked ABB to develop a power automation protection system for easy deployment in the various power centers, to ensure maximum safety and stability. ABB faced three main challenges with regard to system architecture and development, namely: the need for stability and reliability, ease of use and cost management.

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* Our goal was to develop a monitoring and control server that can easily integrate with current transformer substations and operate flexibly and reliably. Only Windows Embedded Server could do it so perfectly. Equally as important, Windows Embedded Server allows us new opportunities in the power market. *

Wu Xun
Leader of ABB China Substation Automation System

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System stability is a top priority in the power industry. The system needed to comply with power system operating procedures and needed to be optimized and debugged as a whole.

To make the device convenient and easy to use for power system engineers, ABB needed to improve the operability of the product, while protecting stability. This required a simple self-service system with a rich visual interface that feels familiar, so that it conforms to user expectations set by past experiences with computer systems.

Because the power system has a significant number of nodes (i.e., substations), and the

product will likely be deployed in many nodes, keeping costs low was another major challenge ABB had to address.

Solution

After completing a detailed analysis of the business and technical requirement of State Grid Corporation of China, ABB designed a compact server appliance that monitors and controls on-site working equipment and performs data acquisition, equipment control, measurement, parameter adjustment, and signal alarms.

ABB’s development team conducted a thorough evaluation of all available embedded operating systems. They took into account the design features and functional requirements, as well as the special stability requirements of the power industry.

Following weeks of investigation, the team selected Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems as the embedded operating system (OS) for the compact server appliance. The engineers also developed a wide range of user applications based on the Windows system.

ABB’s hardware and software engineers believed that Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems would be the most supportive and suitable OS platform for the development of devices, not only because they were very familiar with Windows-based development but also because of the operating system’s flexibility.

ABB’s compact MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C, based on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems, can carry out monitoring of preliminary/ secondary equipment in substations. It is powerful in function and compact in structure, and can be deployed in both large hub transmission substation and general distribution substations.

The system has no moving or fragile parts, which increases reliability, and it can be easily expanded to serve as a communication gateway or server or as a Human Machine Interface (HMI) in the control center.

The compact MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C has also gained praise from engineers for ease of use and operation. Power system engineers can easily configure the product, as well as log on and access information remotely.

Based on the many innovations found in the MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C, ABB has filed multiple patent applications for the product.

Successful deployments

The MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C effectively fills gaps in China’s domestic power monitoring system, and has therefore generated high levels of customer interest and sales.

Since the start of official production of the MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C in July 2009, ABB has signed procurement intention agreements with five manufacturers in China for more than more than 80 units.

For example, ABB successfully entered into a purchase agreement with a large paper group in China. The group initially purchased 20 units of the compact server in order to support increased monitoring demands due to an electrical grid upgrade.

Benefits

Windows Embedded technology delivers the multiple benefits for customers of the MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C.

Enhanced security and efficiency

Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems has powerful security features and is customizable. ABB is now able to make targeted reductions of system modules and improve the security of the embedded system through such techniques as memory protection, component streamlining, system protection, user operation, and peripheral access.

As a result, the MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C not only meets the full operational requirements of power system customers, but it also maximizes the service efficiency of the equipment by maintaining uninterrupted operation and system stability.

Rapid application development

Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems compatibility with Windows tools means that ABB developers can use the familiar Visual Studio integrated development environment to write applications and drivers for the MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C. This shortens the cycle of configuring, building, and deploying devices that are more secure, reliable, and manageable

Thanks to the powerful and familiar Windows Embedded development tools, ABB’s engineers were able to take the MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C from the research and development phase to mass production in less than one year.

Reliable operation

Based on a “Multi-node Server Architecture,” ABB’s MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C can effectively ensure the steady operation of the SGCC power grid.

SGCC’s requirements for data detection and management of the power grid are fully guaranteed through the deployment of the MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C in each nodal region. Moreover, through the optimization of remote access devices and with multiple devices being displayed on a screen simultaneously, the reliability, safety, and economic benefits of the power grid can be significantly improved as well as further support power dispatching automation and modernization.

The special compact system, customized with Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems, is especially suitable for the features of the power system server terminal. Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems also provides administrators Remote Access compliant with desktop system, Windows Update, and other relevant modules to safeguard the reliable operation of equipment from the system level to achieve low maintenance.

High performance-price ratio

High-end control centers used for monitoring power grids are generally expensive and have large physical footprints. Low-end controllers are small in size, but the amount of data and information available for query is limited.

Using an inexpensive x86 server, the MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C can perform virtually all of the required monitoring and management tasks, making it affordable, with a high performance-price ratio and market position.

Broad compatibility

The system is not only compatible with existing management software, but also various hardware and peripherals of x86 platforms, so it is easy to expand devices.

Easy maintenance

Many of SGCC’s electrical substations are located in remote places, and the manpower to maintain equipment is limited. MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C, based on Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems, has a full-featured Human-Machine Interface, which reduces the need for maintenance personnel.

If there is a system problem, the system can be restored by simply inserting the supplied OEM Preinstall Kit (OPK) recovery CD and restarting the computer. ABB engineers integrate the application software into customized images, and make them available through the OPK recovery CD. This can save customers a portion of the cost of maintenance and upgrades.

Customizability

The OPK provides ABB with powerful customization options; these include:

  • Through the OEM activation mechanism, users can activate the system by just booting the machine, without having to type in the product key.

  • User interface customization, e.g., with company logo, business branding, contact information, and more.

  • A variety of flexible pre-installation options, such as CD installation or network installation.

  • Preset driver installation. Driver pre-installation on the operating system is allowed for hardware devices not provided with built-in driver support.

  • Pre-installation of ABB-developed applications—such as data monitoring software—is available on CD-ROM.
Long Life Cycle

In general, Windows Embedded products have a guaranteed product availability of 15 years from release to manufacturing. Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems will continue to be available until March 2018, allowing ABB to extend the life-cycle of the MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C and make long-term plans and commitments to Windows Embedded technology.

Keywords: Server; Embedded Server

Windows Embedded

Windows Embedded is a high-performance and highly reliable platform used by innovative OEMs to deliver devices that stand out through rich user experiences and seamless connections to the world of Windows. The Windows Embedded family of products includes Windows Embedded CE, Windows Embedded Standard, Windows Embedded Enterprise, Windows Embedded POSReady, Windows Embedded Server and Windows Embedded Automotive.

For more information visit: www.microsoft.com/embedded

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: www.microsoft.com

For more information about ABB products and services, visit the Web site at: http://www.abb.com/  

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 120000 employees

Organization Profile

ABB Group, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, was founded more than 100 years ago. A global leader in power and automation technologies, the ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 120,000 people.


Business Situation

ABB started operating in China in 1907, and its annual sales in China were $US32 billion in 2009. ABB’s largest customer globally, State Grid Corporation of China, wanted a compact, rugged monitoring and control system for electrical substations.


Solution

The MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C, based on Windows Server 2003 R2 For Embedded Systems, provides proven functionality for monitoring and control of primary and secondary equipment. Robust and compact, it offers an ideal solution for harsh and demanding environments in both transmission and distribution substations.


Benefits

  • stable, reliable, and secure
  • customized package, easy development
  • economical, flexible license


Software and Services
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 for Embedded Systems
  • Microsoft Visual Studio

Vertical Industries
Automotive, Industrial Equipment & Aerospace

Country/Region
China

Languages
English

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