Virtually testing of Siemens Siprotec 5 protection devices with a digital twin


Designing and commissioning a complex energy automation system are time consuming processes and often can only be done after plants and systems have actually been set-up and connected to each other.

This used to take days and sometimes even weeks. With the new digital twin in the Siprotec 5 series from Siemens, tests can now be carried out before or while setting up the hardware. This significantly shortens the time to system operation. Project data can now be simulated and tested individually in a cloud in just minutes, with no hardware or additional effort.

This also lowers operating costs, since improved preliminary inspections can shorten downtimes and thus increase system availability.

The new cloud-based Siprotec Digital Twin is the virtual digital twin of a real Siprotec 5 device, and includes all interfaces, functions, and algorithms. As a result, the performance, safety, and availability of Siprotec 5 devices can be fully tested as part of the energy automation system – around the clock, from any location, and with no hardware.

“The digital twin of a Siprotec 5 device reduces the time it takes for our customers to connect new energy automation systems and lowers operating costs by shortening downtimes,” said Ingo Erkens, head of Substation Automation & Protection within the Digital Grid Business Unit of the Siemens Energy Management Division. “The cloud-based application also significantly helps speed up and simplify fault clearance during troubleshooting.”

Today’s Siprotec 5 protective devices record a wide range of different measured values and grid status variables. This data is used to protect and automate the energy system. More than 1.6 million Siprotec devices have been installed worldwide. The innovative Siprotec DigitalTwin is a new milestone on the path to digitalizing energy automation systems.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.