RTU - Remote Terminal Units

What is RTU?

RTU — Remote Terminal Unit

RTU most com­mon­ly stands for Remote Ter­mi­nal Unit, but is some­times also used as an abbre­vi­a­tion for Remote Teleme­try Unit or Remote Tele­con­trol Unit.

RTUs are devices that rely on micro­proces­sors and com­mu­ni­ca­tion inter­faces to auto­mat­i­cal­ly mon­i­tor and con­trol field devices and to func­tion as gate­way to the plant con­trol or SCADA (super­vi­so­ry con­trol and data acqui­si­tion) systems.

  • RTUs are com­mon­ly equipped with sev­er­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion ports and inter­nal inputs and out­puts to com­mu­ni­cate with and mon­i­tor sev­er­al devices at once.
  • Depend­ing on the project needs, some RTUs can be expand­ed with dif­fer­ent cir­cuit cards includ­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion inter­faces, addi­tion­al stor­age, back­up pow­er and addi­tion­al I/Os.
  • RTUs can often com­mu­ni­cate with a range of devices in the facil­i­ty, includ­ing meters, HMIs, IEDs, sen­sors and many oth­ers. They trans­fer the data they col­lect from these object to the servers run­ning the SCADA software
  • RTUs use a range of stan­dard com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­to­cols to con­trol field devices, such as Mod­bus­R­TU, Mod­busTCP, Profibus, DLMS, IEC 104, IEC101, IEC102, DNP3, OPC or IEC 61850.

RTU vs PLC

RTU Advantages
  • Rugged­ness - RTUs are designed to resist extreme tem­per­a­tures and elec­tro­mag­net­ic charges.
  • Inter­nal I/Os - con­fig­urable and specif­i­cal­ly designed for the industry.
  • Easy pro­gram­ming — while PLCs often require pro­gram­ming know how in PLC soft­ware, RTUs can often be con­fig­ured through a web inter­face or an includ­ed con­fig­u­ra­tion soft­ware to set up com­mu­ni­ca­tion channels.
  • Back-up pow­er — some RTU’s come with a back­up bat­tery and charg­ing circuit.
PLC Advantages
  • Cost - PLCs are often avail­able at low­er prices but many argue that in the long-term the supe­ri­or rugged­ness of the RTU makes it eco­nom­i­cal­ly com­pet­i­tive or even superior.
  • Pro­pri­etary RTUs — some RTUs might require spe­cif­ic pro­gram­ming lan­guages or even PLC skills.

 

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    Grid & Substation Automation

    RTU most com­mon­ly stands for Remote Ter­mi­nal Unit, but is some­times also used as an abbre­vi­a­tion for Remote Teleme­try Unit or Remote Tele­con­trol Unit.

    RTUs are devices that rely on micro­proces­sors and com­mu­ni­ca­tion inter­faces to auto­mat­i­cal­ly mon­i­tor and con­trol field devices and estab­lish a bridge to the plant con­trol or SCADA (super­vi­so­ry con­trol and data acqui­si­tion) systems.

    Super­vi­so­ry con­trol and data acqui­si­tion (SCADA) sys­tems col­lect, mon­i­tor and process real-time data to:

    • Auto­mate and con­trol indus­tri­al process­es remote­ly or locally
    • Pro­vide a human-machine inter­face (HMI) to direct­ly inter­act with devices such as relays, sen­sors, gen­er­a­tors, pumps, valves and others
    • Record events and auto­mate reporting

    An Intel­li­gent Elec­tron­ic Device (IED) is a term used in the elec­tric pow­er indus­try to describe micro­proces­sor-based con­trollers of pow­er sys­tem equip­ment, such as cir­cuit break­erstrans­form­ers and capac­i­tor banks.

    Sequence of events record­ing (SER) is per­formed by micro­proces­sor based sys­tems, which mon­i­tor col­lect­ed data inputs and record the time and sequences of the changes.

    Sequence of events recorders rely on exter­nal time sources such as GPS or radio clocks to record the exact time of state of each change.

    RTU & iGrid

    iRTUs often play a cen­tral role in our solu­tions, which is why we have deployed more than 10,000 iRTUs in Asia and Europe alone.

    Our iRTUs unite our unique con­fig­urable hard­ware fea­tures with state-of-the-art soft­ware func­tion­al­i­ties and capa­bil­i­ties in one tiny device.

    iRTU – With I/Os for Direct Data Acquisition 

    Com­pact and scal­able bay con­troller which can act as IEC 61850 client or serv­er, fea­tur­ing con­fig­urable I/O boards for direct data acqui­si­tion, high-pre­ci­sion time­stamp­ing and an option­al Eth­er­net switch for addi­tion­al Eth­er­net ports.

    iGW‑S Substation Gateway

    Pow­er­ful and reli­able sub­sta­tion gate­way, able to run either in stand­alone or redun­dant modes, with an embed­ded Eth­er­net switch (4 ports) and IEC 61850 client and serv­er capabilities.

    iGrid Solutions and Applications

    Automation with IEC 61850 

    The IEC 61850 stan­dard is enabling new opor­tu­ni­ties for ven­dor inter­op­er­abil­i­ty and advanced sub­sta­tion automa­tion. Find out how you can take advan­tage of IEC 61850 with easy-to-use and adapt­able solu­tions for a sim­ple migra­tion or retrofit.

    HV Substation Automation

    Pow­er­ful sub­sta­tion automa­tion sys­tems often han­dle numer­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­to­cols and media with­in one net­work, which can result in expen­sive and com­plex projects.  Avoid these prob­lems with inter­op­er­a­ble tech­nol­o­gy and smart con­fig­u­ra­tion tools.

    MV Distribution Grid Automation

    It is often dif­fi­cult to find the exact solu­tion you need in a MV appli­ca­tion, lead­ing to high­er costs than nec­es­sary. With our scal­able and adapt­able solu­tions you will be able to only pay for what you real­ly need, with­out com­prim­is­ing on qual­i­ty or security.

    Photovoltaic Power Station

    Using an open and scal­able SCADA sys­tem to mon­i­tor and con­trol a PV plant comes with many ben­e­fits on sev­er­al lev­els. Find out how advanced com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­o­gy affects PV oper­a­tion, main­te­nance, sys­tem design, invest­ment secu­ri­ty, profits…

    Protocol Conversion

    As com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­works grow in com­plex­i­ty, “plug and play” promis­es become hard­er to keep. Inter­op­er­a­ble pro­to­col con­vert­ers and soft­ware solu­tions with state-of-the-art capa­bil­i­ties and funci­tonal­i­ties can be the bridge to all the func­tions and flex­i­bil­i­ty your net­work needs.

    Generation Dispatch Control Center

    With a gen­er­a­tion dis­patch enter you can auto­mat­i­cal­ly con­trol the gen­er­a­tion of all pow­er plants and make direct bids for ancil­lary ser­vices on one plat­form. Check out the most effi­cient com­mu­ni­ca­tion path between gen­er­a­tion sites, grid oper­a­tors and the pow­er market.

    Smart Metering

    A sin­gle device that col­lects, process­es, trans­fers smart meter data and load curves from sev­er­al meters in dif­fer­ent pro­to­cols via ser­i­al or Eth­er­net, whilst pro­vid­ing advanced automa­tion func­tions? Adapt­able designs and a full com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­to­col suite make it possible. 

     

    Switchgear & Transformers

    Some­times you have pre­ferred gear for a project or it has already been installed, but it is lack­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion capa­bil­i­ties to pro­vide the automa­tion func­tions you are look­ing for. With our soft­ware core iGComms any device can be as smart as you want it to be.