ICD - IED Capability Description

What is an ICD file?

ICD File (IEC 61850)

IED Capa­bil­i­ty Descrip­tion (ICD) files are a spe­cif­ic type of Sub­sta­tion Con­fig­u­ra­tion Lan­guage (SCL) file, con­tain­ing a gener­ic descrip­tion of the whole capa­bil­i­ty range of a giv­en device, includ­ing the func­tions and objects it can support.

The ICD file is usu­al­ly sup­plied by the developer/manufacturer.

How SCL files are Used

The engi­neer imports the ICD file of each device to the Sys­tem Con­fig­u­ra­tion Tool (SCT) to build the Sub­sta­tion Con­fig­u­ra­tion Descrip­tion (SCD) for the sub­sta­tion design. The SCD includes the capa­bil­i­ties of all devices required for the designed system.

The designer/tool can also be used to export an Instan­ti­at­ed IED Descrip­tion (IID) file from the SCD. The IID can be seen as a sub­set of the ICD in terms of func­tions and objects, but it also includes con­fig­u­ra­tion infor­ma­tion relat­ed to the sys­tem design (such as reports and GOOSE subscriptions).

An IED Con­fig­u­ra­tion Tool/ Design­er (ICT) can use the IID along with device spe­cif­ic infor­ma­tion (which could include map­ping infor­ma­tion) to cre­ate a Con­fig­ured IED Descrip­tion (CID) file to tell the device how to con­fig­ure itself. As such, IED engi­neers usu­al­ly user a designer/tool to pro­duce CID files using IID imports.

CID vs ICD vs IID vs SCD — SCL File Types

IED Capa­bil­i­ty Descrip­tion (ICD)
The ICD file is sup­plied by the man­u­fac­tur­er and defines the com­plete capa­bil­i­ty range of an IED. The file con­tains a sin­gle IED sec­tion and can option­al­ly also pro­vide the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and sub­sta­tion sections.

Con­fig­ured IED Descrip­tion (CID)
CID files can be con­sid­ered SCD files stripped down to the sec­tions that are rel­e­vant to the IED, con­nect­ing IED con­fig­u­ra­tion tool (ICT) and the IED. It con­tains every­thing from the SCD file the IED needs in order to be con­fig­ured, as for exam­ple the dataset def­i­n­i­tion behind a GOOSE mes­sage the IED shall receive.

Instan­ti­at­ed IED Descrip­tion (IID)
The IID file defines the con­fig­u­ra­tion of an IED for a spe­cif­ic project, pro­vid­ing a data exchange for­mat to con­nect the IED con­fig­u­ra­tor and the sys­tem con­fig­u­ra­tor. It con­tains an IED sec­tion, the com­mu­ni­ca­tion sec­tion (includ­ing para­me­ters), the IED’s data type tem­plates, and, option­al­ly, a sub­sta­tion sec­tion with the bind­ing of func­tions (Log­i­calN­odes) to the sin­gle line diagram.

Sys­tem Spec­i­fi­ca­tion Descrip­tion (SSD)
The SSD file con­tains the com­plete spec­i­fi­ca­tion of the sub­sta­tion automa­tion sys­tem, includ­ing the sin­gle line dia­gram for the sub­sta­tion and its func­tion­al­i­ties (log­i­cal nodes). The SSD requires to define the sub­sta­tion part, data type tem­plates and log­i­cal node types but does not require the IED section

Sub­sta­tion Con­fig­u­ra­tion Descrip­tion (SCD)
The SCD file describes the entire sub­sta­tion in detail, inculd­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion, IED and data type tem­plate sec­tions. As such, SCD files inte­grate both ICD and SSD files

Sys­tem Exchange Descrip­tion (SED)
The SED file can be con­sid­ered a sub­set of an 
SCD file with addi­tion­al engi­neer­ing rights for each IED and own­er­ship of all SCL data. It is used to exchange sys­tem con­fig­u­ra­tions between dif­fer­ent projects, describ­ing the inter­faces of one project to be used by anoth­er project. 

What is IEC 61850?

The IEC 61850 stan­dard was a response to the grow­ing need for high­er and deep­er lev­els of con­trol and automa­tion in elec­tri­cal grids. With steadi­ly increas­ing num­bers of devices, device types and data points, fur­ther accel­er­at­ed by dig­i­ti­za­tion, as well as the inte­gra­tion of new, often geo­graph­i­cal­ly dis­trib­uted and het­erege­nous, gen­er­a­tion sources, it became evi­dent that future demands could not be met with the tech­no­log­i­cal lim­its of ser­i­al pro­to­cols like Modbus. 

In order to guar­an­tee inter­op­er­abil­i­ty in the face of rapid tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment and prod­uct inno­va­tion in the indus­try, the IEC 61850 stan­dard not only defines var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­to­cols and inter­faces, but also pro­vides spec­i­fi­ca­tions con­cern­ing the sub­sta­tion mod­el­ling, con­fig­u­ra­tion lan­guage and data mod­els. For this rea­son, IEC 61850 is com­mon­ly referred to as “not just a pro­to­col” and often called a data mod­el or frame­work instead. 

The scope of the stan­dard allows to map the stan­dard­ized data mod­els and ser­vices onto server­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­to­cols and thus trans­fer the data via Eth­er­net using dif­fer­ent pro­to­cols for dif­fer­ent require­ments and appli­ca­tions, as for exam­ple TCP/IP-based pro­to­cols for clients/server com­mu­ni­ca­tions. For this rea­son, despite its ini­tial focus on sub­sta­tion automa­tion, the flex­i­bil­i­ty of IEC 61850 has spread its use to oth­er appli­ca­tions, such as the inte­gra­tion of dis­trib­uted ener­gy resources (DERs) into the pow­er sys­tem or the com­mu­ni­ca­tion between intel­li­gent devices in Build­ing Man­age­ment Sys­tems (BMS).

The IEC 61850 stan­dard dis­tin­guish­es itself through the fol­low­ing elements:

Abstract Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Ser­vice Inter­face (ACSI)
The ACSI (defined in IEC 61850–7‑2) describes the func­tions and ser­vices for the inter­ac­tion between IEDs in the sys­tem. Exam­ples of IEC 61850 ser­vices include the trans­mis­sion of files, read­ing of data or assig­ni­tion of val­ues. The ACSI can be mapped onto var­i­ous pro­to­cols, includ­ing MMS or web services.

Sys­tem Design and Struc­ture
The func­tions of the IEC 61850 stan­dard are the often-heard log­i­cal nodes, which can sim­ply con­tain device descrip­tions but usu­al­ly rep­re­sent a real phys­i­cal device like switch­es, sen­sors or IEDs, and its entire range of functionalies.

IEC 61850 Pro­to­col Suite
The IEC 61850 stan­dard defines sev­er­al dif­fer­ent pro­to­cols for dif­fer­ent pur­pos­es in sub­sta­tions and oth­er facilities/ util­i­ties.
The stan­dard defines the low-lev­el (process bus) client/server based GOOSE/GSSE (Gener­ic Object Ori­ent­ed Sub­sta­tion Events) pro­to­col to trans­mit event data across net­works at very high speeds. This enables to new pos­si­bil­i­ties for advanced sub­sta­tion automa­tion and pro­tec­tion func­tions and schemes.

It also defines the more com­plex MMS (man­u­fac­tur­ing mes­sage spec­i­fi­ca­tion) pro­to­col for com­mu­ni­ca­tions between servers and clients. It pro­vides a set of func­tions that allows the client to obtain the data mod­el of the serv­er, read or mod­i­fy indi­vid­ual val­ues, or even delete entries as well as to trans­fer files.

The last two pro­to­cols dis­played on the chart com­prise the Sam­pled Val­ues (SV) pro­to­col for the trans­mis­sion of dig­i­tized instan­ta­neous val­ues of pow­er sys­tem quan­ti­ties, main­ly pri­ma­ry cur­rents and volt­ages and time syn­chro­niza­tion pro­to­cols such as SNTP over UDP/IP. 

IEC 61850 Protocol Suite

all entries sort­ed aplhabetically 



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    IEC 61850

    The GOOSE (Gener­ic Object Ori­ent­ed Sub­sta­tion Event) pro­to­col is a com­mu­ni­ca­tion mod­el defined by the IEC 61850 stan­dard, which uses fast and reli­able mech­a­nisms to group any for­mat of data (sta­tus, val­ue) into a data set and trans­mit it through elec­tri­cal net­works with­in a time peri­od of 4 milliseconds.

    It is most com­mon­ly used for data exchanges between IEDs (IED – Intel­li­gent Elec­tron­ic Device) in elec­tri­cal sub­sta­tions over Ethernet.

    IEC 61850 MMS (Man­u­fac­tur­ing Mes­sage Spec­i­fi­ca­tion) is a client/server based pro­to­col for com­mu­ni­ca­tions between IEDs (IED – Intel­li­gent Elec­tron­ic Device) and high­er lev­el enti­ties (such as RTUs and SCADAs) over Eth­er­net that is part of the IEC 61850 stan­dard for com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­o­gy in substations.

    It is mapped onto TCP/IP and allows to access the serv­er through its IP address in order to write/read data and exchange files.

    The IEC 61850 stan­dard for sub­sta­tion automa­tion spec­i­fies a stan­dard­ized Substa­tion Con­fig­u­ra­tion Lan­guage (SCL) to trans­fer device descrip­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tion para­me­ters amongst dif­fer­ent vendors/ manufacturers. 

    SCL files define sev­er­al capa­bil­i­ty sub­sets for the IED to instan­ti­ate its capabilities.

    The IED Capa­bil­i­ty Descrip­tion (ICD) file is a spe­cif­ic type of SCL file, which are the con­fig­u­ra­tion files defined by the IEC 61850 stan­dard for mod­ern sub­sta­tion automation.

    It is usu­al­ly sup­plied by man­u­fac­tur­ers and defines the full capa­bil­i­ty range of an IED.

    Log­i­cal nodes (abstract data objects) are the main ele­ments of the vir­tu­al object-ori­ent­ed IEC 61850 mod­el, which con­sists of stan­dard­ized data and data attributes.

    They can rep­re­sent switch­es in the grid, sen­sors, com­mu­ni­ca­tion inter­faces, or sim­ply con­tain descrip­tions of devices.

    IEC 61850 ICD & iGrid

    iGrid T&D has a spe­cial com­mite­ment to inter­op­er­abil­i­ty and IEC 61850 in par­tic­u­lar. For this rea­son, iGrid has devel­oped the state-of-the-art “iCon­fICD” tool facil­i­tate the con­fig­u­ra­tion of IEC 61850 RTUs, SCADAs, I/O Exten­sion Units and oth­er devices for IEC 61850 projects.

    All iGrid devices and soft­ware solu­tions sup­port the IEC 61850 sstandard.

    iConfICD Tool

    iCon­fICD is a state-of-the-art ICD design tool for the cre­ation of ICD and CID files and the con­fig­u­ra­tion and mod­el­ling of IEC 61850 servers.

    The tool can be used to set up any device sup­port­ing IEC 61850 com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It allows to cre­ate all of the stan­dard­’s Log­i­cal Devices and Log­i­cal Nodes, as well as to select the cor­re­spond­ing Data Objects, while strict­ly fol­low­ing the guide­lines of the IEC 61850 edi­tion 2 stan­dard. With the inte­grat­ed iEd­it tool, expert pro­fes­sion­als can also man­u­al­ly access and mod­i­fy SCL files with­out restrictions.

    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…