New REF 615 provides IEC 61850-based connectivity and interoperability for distribution substations

ABB’s new REF615 is a dedicated feeder protection relay designed specifically for the protection, measurement and supervision of utility substations and industrial power systems.

The REF615 has been engineered to unleash the full potential of the IEC 61850 standard for communication and interoperability of substation automation devices. It provides main protection for overhead lines, cable feeders and busbar systems of distribution substations. The feeder protection relay suits any distribution network, regardless of the applied power system earthing principle.

Protection and control
The REF615 feeder protection relay offers short-circuit, time overcurrent and thermal overload protection. It also features directional and non-directional earth-fault protection, sensitive earth-fault protection (SEF) and transient-measuring earth fault protection including detection of intermittent earth-faults in cable networks. Finally, the relay incorporates a flexible three phase multi shot auto-reclose function for automatic extinguishing of arc faults on open wire overhead lines.

When enhanced with an optional plug-in card, the relay offers a three-channel arc-fault protection system for supervision of the switchgear circuit breaker, cable and busbar compartment. REF615 also integrates basic control functionality, which facilitates the control of one circuit breaker via the relay’s HMI or remote control system. To protect the relay from unauthorized access and to maintain the integrity of information, the relay has been provided with a four-level, role-based user authentication system, with individual passwords for the viewer, operator, engineer and administrator level.

The power of communication
REF615 supports the new IEC 61850 standard for inter-device communication in substations. It also supports the industry standard Modbus® protocol. The implementation of IEC 61850 covers both vertical and horizontal
Communication, including GOOSE messaging and parameter setting according to IEC 61850- 8-1. The substation configuration language (SCL) enables the use of engineering tools for automated configuration, commissioning and maintenance of substation devices.

Pre-emptive condition monitoring
To ensure optimized system availability, REF615 features a comprehensive choice of monitoring functions to supervise the relay itself, the CB trip circuit and the circuit breaker. Depending on the chosen device configuration, the relay monitors the wear and tear of the circuit breaker, the spring charging time of the CB operating mechanism and the gas pressure of the breaker chambers. The relay also supervises the breaker travel time and the number of CB operations to provide basic information for scheduling CB maintenance.

Rapid set-up and commissioning
Since REF615 is designed specially for feeder protection, it can be rapidly set up and commissioned, once it has been given the application specific relay settings. It also offers the flexibility to be adapted to meet the particular requirements of an individual application.
Connectivity packages that contain complete descriptions of ABB’s protection relays, with data signals, parameters and addresses, enable the relay to be configured automatically via MicroSCADA Pro system or the PCM 600 relay setting and configuration tool.

Unique plug-in design relay
The plug-in type relay design speeds up installation and testing of the protection. The factory-tested relay units can be withdrawn from the relay cases during switchgear factory and commissioning tests. The plug-in design also speeds up maintenance work thanks to the easy exchange of relay units. The relay case provides automatic short circuiting of the CT secondary circuits to prevent hazardous voltages from arising in the CT circuits when a relay plug-in unit is withdrawn from its case. The pull-out handle locking the relay unit into its case can be sealed to prevent the unit from being unintentionally withdrawn from the relay case.

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