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COPA-DATA expands its offering for utilities and grid operators

12 September 2017

Since the very start of its development, the zenon software system by international automation manufacturer, COPA-DATA, has had a clear focus on meeting requirements in the energy sector. The software controls and monitors equipment for energy distribution and the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources. Offering the operators of energy facilities and grids a powerful package of customised functions, COPA-DATA is providing the tools needed to meet the very latest requirements in the energy sector.

Historically, COPA-DATA has always been closely linked with the energy industry. In the early 1990s, energy supply companies were among the first users of zenon software. Since then, the energy sector has been in a period of constant change, with developments moving on apace in the last five years in particular.

Digitisation is forging ahead, networked systems and distributed equipment are becoming increasingly common, and both suppliers and their customers are, in parallel, feeding power into the ever-more intelligent networks, or smart grids, as they have become known. In addition, electromobility is requiring more power on demand, and methods of storing energy – ideally generated on the basis of renewable energy sources such as sunlight, wind, or hydropower – for use at a later point in time are the order of the day. These and similar developments are creating a demand for new systems and technologies that are able to meet changing requirements.

A single system for many different applications

With its zenon software, COPA-DATA is offering both its private customers and those in the public energy and infrastructure sector a modern system that is able to support many different areas of application. The solution on offer supports the automation of substations, hydropower plants, and wind farms. Its focus is on monitoring and optimising electricity grids, interconnecting energy storage systems, and controlling equipment for the generation and distribution of renewable energy.

zenon is frequently implemented in substation automation. zenon technologies are used for on-site operation (HMI), at control center level (SCADA), and as gateways. COPA-DATA is also developing proprietary communication stacks for important international standards, including IEC 61850 (Edition 2), IEC 60870, IEC 61400-25, DNP 3, Modbus Energy, and ICCP. This enables quick expansion and the optimal maintenance of drivers. zenon's communication abilities ensure excellent connectivity in heterogeneous equipment and compatibility for use in smart grids. In addition, zenon offers many functions for the infrastructure of smart cities. It is possible to monitor and control tunnel facilities, water and waste-water management, as well as public transport and its power supply.

The very latest zenon Energy Edition product enhancements
Easy configuration, testing, and execution of command sequences

The Command Sequencer is a new module that has been integrated into zenon to facilitate the easy configuration, testing, and sending of command sequences. In so doing it increases the efficiency of operators and, as a result, makes supply more secure. The command sequences for the automation of substations are configured in a user-friendly editor. The individual commands in a sequence are simply arranged one after another. Operators can use the module intuitively with no need for programming knowledge. The system can be "taught" certain command sequences. It is also possible to perform testing in a simulated environment and changes can be made directly. PLC programming is not necessary. This ensures accuracy, efficiency, and flexibility.

Fully traceable processes

The Process Recorder module is also new. It records process data in full and can then make it available on request in the process visualisation at a later point in time. Past processes can be played back, forwarded or reversed step by step, or stopped, as often as needed. The findings gleaned in relation to possible causes of errors can be used to increase effectiveness and quality. The improved traceability of complex processes in electricity grids or substations supports grid operators in maintaining critical infrastructure reliably.

Quick location of statuses and errors

zenon supports a new option for combining data from geoinformation systems (GIS) and zenon visualisation. With the GIS editor and GIS control, users can display electricity grids in the zenon visualisation in geographical mapping material. Current statuses, such as alarms, are shown on the map directly. Users can thus localise certain states and events more precisely and handle alarms more efficiently.

Another new feature in zenon is the impedance-based fault locating. Using the impedance measured (alternating current resistance), it is possible to localize errors in the grid with great precision. The employees at energy supply companies can thus react quickly and with focus, thereby significantly reducing power outages.

A comprehensive overview of the possible applications of zenon in the energy sector is available on the COPA-DATA website at

For more information, please contact:

Martyn Williams
Managing Director
15th Floor Brunel House
2 Fitzalan Road
Cardiff CF24 0EB
Tel:  +44 (0) 29 20329175
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