New substation automation and PLC SoM solutions from TI


Two new products aimed to facilitate the development of next generation smart grid devices, a substation automation solution and a power line communication (PLC) system-on-module, have been announced by Texas Instruments.

The substation automation solution, which is aimed to allow developers to create low cost IEC 61850 compliant solutions as substation automation deployments adopt Ethernet-based industrial networking, is a collaboration between TI and Triangle MicroWorks (TMW), which uses TMW’s IEC 61850 stack, optimized for TI’s Sitara AM335x processors and other TI system-on-chips (SoCs). The solution shortens the development cycle, while reducing system cost and complexity by replacing traditional ASIC or FPGA solutions with a Sitara processor-based industrial communication subsystem (PRU-ICSS).

TI’s Sitara AM335x processors create a reliable smart grid network through its industrial subsystem that supports flexible, real time communication. In addition to TMW’s IEC 61850 stack, Sitara AM335x processors can also support PROFINET, EtherCAT, PROFIBUS and other industrial protocols on the same processor, making it a strong option for many industrial platforms.

TMW’s IEC 61850 protocol stack is optimized to work well in embedded environments by using advanced protocol parsing techniques. TMW supports object models for Edition 1, Edition 2, Hydro, DER, and Wind. Available features include GOOSE, Sampled Values, tracking, external references, mixed edition systems, and IEC 62351 security.

The new PLC system-on-module, a collaboration with Tailyn Technologies, was developed to offer a customizable field-tested PLC module with a variety of modifications, including SoM packages, form factors and interfaces, so customers can implement TI’s PLC technology in any design. The PLC module allows developers to overcome multiple design challenges at once, such as creating products that support multiple PLC standards, supporting a wide variety of customizations based on utilities’ design needs, and meeting time-to-market, performance and certification requirements. Customers can have the PLC module customized in terms of form factors, communication interfaces, and applications to meet any design needs.

Pairing TI’s real time C2000 microcontroller with its AFE031 or AFE032 PLC analog front ends provides support for multiple PLC standards, including S-FSK, G3, PRIME, and IEEE-1901.2. The field-tested PLC module is ready for many types of conditions found in real world smart grid implementations, such as automatic meter reading (AMR) or advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) metering, solar invertor control, street lighting control, and machinery control. An accompanying reference design can be customized with application-specific software.