Industrial plants have put continuous pressure on the advanced process automation. However, there has not been so much focus on the automation of the electricity distribution networks. Although, the uninterrupted electricity distribution is one basic requirement for the process. A disturbance in electricity supply causing the“downrun” of the process may cost huge amount of money. Thus the intelligent management of electricity distribution including, for example, preventive condition monitoring and on-line reliability analysis has a great importance. Nowadays the above needs have aroused the increased interest in the electricity distribution automation of industrial plants. The automation of public electricity distribution has developed very rapidly in the past few years. Very promising results has been gained, for example, in decreasing outage times of customers. However, the same concept as such cannot be applied in the field of industrial electricity distribution, although the bases of automation systems are common. The infrastructures of different industry plants vary more from each other as compared to the public electricity distribution, which is more homogeneous domain. The automation devices, computer systems, and databases are not in the same level and the integration of them is more complicated
A big industrial plant differs from public distribution company by organizatory structure and by system environment. A production is divided into many departments or many companies. These units have the responsibility of production and maintenance. Very often the maintenance is maintained by a service company. An energy department or company is in charge of local energy production and of the distribution network. Above organizations may have some control systems that serve for their needs only, but usually information systems are closely connected together. A process automation system is the most important system in an industrial plant, sometimes including other systems, as illustrated in Fig. 1. For example, all energy production and distribution network control tasks can be done in a process automation system. Normally, because of the reliability reasons, vital parts of distribution network control is independent on the process automation. The independency of process automation system vendor has been one reason for separate systems, too.
Process automation systems collect data for process monitoring and optimization tools. The databases contain information of material flow, energy flow and control data of production machines. Maintenance databases include technical specifications and condition data of production machine components. Similar information of electricity network components is supported by network database. Production programs are stored in the databases of administrative systems.
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