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Burns & McDonnell Completes Expanded Power Asset Testing and Research Lab

The newly upgraded Burns & McDonnell Asset Health Center will enable real-time testing and demonstration of substation monitoring equipment

Today's demand for a smarter and more resilient power grid requires a leap forward in planning, analysis and assessment of everything from load flows, and reliability to operational efficiency, standards compliance and total lifecycle costs.
As part of an effort to assist the T&D industry in meeting today's demands, Burns & McDonnell has completed a large-scale expansion of its Asset Health Center, a facility dedicated to analytics, data collection and testing of advanced new power equipment being deployed in response to an upsurge in renewable power sources and other distributed generation being connected to the grid. Completed for $100,000 at the firm's World Headquarters in Kansas City, the Center serves as an equipment testing and demonstration resource free of charge for current clients.

With a surge of renewable power sources flooding the grid, along with new demands created by increasing numbers of electric vehicle charging stations and other new demands, utilities face unprecedented challenges. New and more advanced technologies are required to provide the flexibility and data needed by grid operators to maintain resilience and reliability.

The newly upgraded Burns & McDonnell Asset Health Center will enable real-time testing and demonstration of substation monitoring equipment and automation systems, enabling better prediction of failures and equipment deterioration. The Center will enable Burns & McDonnell to work closely with equipment vendors and suppliers to determine the resolution and data required for developing algorithms needed for predictive modeling that will enable better planning for maintenance to prevent outages and other disruptive events.

The expansion has organized lab equipment for more efficient testing between automation systems, remote terminal units (RTU) and relays and their associated networking systems. The new equipment expands existing capabilities in development of settings and testing of automated systems such as Remedial Automation Schemes (RAS) and Substation Automation Schemes (SAS) protective relaying of grid networks. It also expands existing facility support for advanced substation protocols, such as 61850.

In addition to the Asset Health Center expansion, a sixteen-person conference room was constructed to create a more effective client testing experience. The conference room is set up to provide an integrated space for testing configurations with a direct view into the Center.

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