Voltex Systems & Integration

Why use the same digital twin for design and operations?

January 5, 2024

When designing a High Voltage Electrical Power System, most consultants would use simulation software. Power Simulation software like ETAP, allows designers to model a smart Single Line Diagram (SLD) for the plant needs, and then run “What if ?” scenarios for load flow, check voltage drops, equipment and cable capacities, simulate short circuit faults, and coordinate protection systems, and make arc flash calculations for reliable and safe operation. They might even run scenarios where some key components are under maintenance or have failed, to determine load shed requirements to maintain the available supply for critical loads.

What typically happens next, is that the model and reports are sent to the client – Design work is completed!

Next assignment

Develop a monitoring and control system for operators.

The traditional philosophy is often, “control systems are designed by Automation companies”. So the client will seek out an Automation Process company to develop a Power Control system. What do these companies do? They might design a “bespoke” solution (after all, every plant is unique in some aspects), and then they will prepare a Functional Description Specification (FDS) for a System Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) system with protocols and automated actions for alarms and events according to their understanding of the client’s preferences and requirements for various operating scenarios and conditions.

Sounding a bit familiar?

At Voltex Power Engineers, we ask, “Hang on a minute, didn’t we just do a lot of that work in the modelling and design of this plant’s power system ?” Time to pause, and wonder if it is really necessary to engage another company to start all of those filed and stored processes from scratch again, just to provide some nice Human Machine Interface (HMI) screens and visibility of the power system operations.

How much better would it be to use the same already-developed digital twin model from the power system design phase, to also provide operations and control?

That’s the beauty of ETAP – A Digital Twin that can be used for the Design, Operation and Automation of your power plant.

Already have a SCADA system in your existing plant, but it doesn’t offer options for Simulations, Operations, Automation and Optimisation from the one platform? Don’t despair! ETAP RealTime provides the “engine” of the system; you can retain your existing SCADA as the highways to connect with ETAP, and then enjoy the benefits of a single Digital Twin from Design to Operation and Automation.

If you already have an ETAP model, you are halfway to Digital Twin Heaven.

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