Control News from Europe March 2008

Read Andrew Bond’s Industrial Automation Insider, a monthly newsletter covering the important industrial automation news and issues as seen from the U.K.

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Program provides route to cyber security compliance

Last month saw the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) give its approval of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC-CIP) standards, thereby making enforceable the mandatory NERC-CIP compliance facing North American electric utilities by the middle of this year. One timely response is the introduction by Industrial Defender, the “cyber risk protection” specialist formerly known as Verano, of an Industrial Defender Enabled Partner Program to assist real-time process control and SCADA system and equipment vendors in providing their customers with comprehensive integrated cyber security solutions. Participants in the program will gain access to integrated technology solutions, co-marketing and demand-generation programs, leveraging Industrial Defender’s “defence in depth” approach to cyber security which includes network security professional services, cyber security technology and managed security services.

Two levels

Industrial Defender is offering potential partners two levels of participation, Partner and Premier Partner. Partners complete a comprehensive technology validation process to enable their devices to be monitored by the Industrial Defender Security Event Management (SEM) console and, thus, enhance cyber security on process control or SCADA networks. Partners’ customers who then purchase a SEM console will be able to monitor all Industrial Defender-enabled devices on their networks. Partners will also have the opportunity to participate in co-marketing and demand-generation programs.

Premier Partners will enjoy more extensive technology integration of their devices, including monitoring and management by the SEM console as well as co-marketing, demand-generation and solution-selling. Industrial Defender’s cyber security technology, network security professional services and managed security services will be combined with the premier partner’s technologies.

First to join up as a partner is IP-based SCADA RTU provider CSE-Semaphore while the first Premier Partner is ruggedized communications networking specialist RuggedCom. Semaphore’s telemetry systems leverage web technologies and public networks to cut by half the total installed cost-per-point compared with traditional SCADA/PLC based telemetry solutions, while allowing greater organizational access to data through automated reporting and browser software. Its RTUs include T-BOX, which is aimed at decentralized networks and incorporates an integral web server and the IEC 61131-3- and IEC 61499-compliant Kingfisher. As an Industrial Defender-enabled partner, Semaphore is offering what is claimed to be the industry’s first RTU line fully to support cyber security protection for process control and SCADA networks.

Join development

As its name implies, RuggedCom provides rugged communications networking infrastructure products for harsh environments, including electrical substations, but it also markets a user authentication solution for the electric power market known RuggedCom Gauntlet and designed to provide secure access to critical cyber assets. As well as participating as a Premier Partner, it’s entered into an agreement with Industrial Defender jointly to develop, market and co-brand what claims will be the most comprehensive cyber security solution for critical infrastructure industries including the power, oil and gas, transportation, water and chemical sectors. The agreement will also enable Industrial Defender to extend its reach into harsh network environments.

“Working with RuggedCom provides customers with a completely integrated and easier roadmap to NERC-CIP compliance for their critical cyber assets,” said Industrial Defender president and CEO Brian Ahern.

  • GarrettCom and the Canadian substation management specialist, Bow Networks, have announced a cyber security solution specifically designed for remote facilities, such as power utility substations. The CrossBow Secure Access Manager integrates Bow Networks’ remote access software solutions with the security and management features of GarrettCom’s hardened remote networking and security devices. This combination creates an “electronic security perimeter” and provides auditable secure remote access to intelligent electric devices (IEDs) and other industrial devices. It thus provides North American electric power utilities with the means to comply with NERC CIP cyber security standards. Under the terms of the agreement between the two companies, GarrettCom becomes the exclusive distributor of CrossBow to power utilities in North America, but both companies will market it in other industrial sectors. The companies plant to continue technology development in order to meet evolving cyber security threats and compliance requirements.


Project assesses ProfiNet at the device level

Phoenix Contact has been participating in a joint project with the Lemgo Industrial IT Institute (inIT), the Berlin Technical University (TU Berlin), MAZeT and Siemens under the auspices of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to investigate the use of high-speed Ethernet in real-time industrial applications. The project, entitled “Real-time Ethernet in sensor/actuator networking,” is investigating the performance of various transmission methods in different scenarios, with Phoenix Contact’s focus being specifically on the use of ProfiNet for communication in the field as part of its IT-powered Automation concept. The principal conclusion of the project is that ProfiNet IRT, the hard real-time implementation of the ProfiNet protocol, offers the fastest and most future-proof real-time Ethernet system.

Shorter cycle times

Although the summation frame procedure used by protocols such as Ethercat have been shown to have advantages on the linear topologies of simple machines at transmission rates of 100 Mbps, they only do so when less than 60 bytes of user data need to be transmitted for each device. By contrast, data delivery via individual frames, the technique used by ProfiNet IRT, allows shorter cycle times, if the processing times in the devices and the “telegram” overhead are reduced and the so-called “drafting” effect is used.

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