Westermo’s cost saving secure network technology helps Electricity North West improve the quality of supply to its customers

Wolverine Ethernet Line Extenders enable existing cable infrastructure to be used to create a secure Ethernet IP-based network used for controlling electricity substations in the north west of the UK

Electricity North West has upgraded its data communications network to an Ethernet IP-based solution to help improve the service provided by its electricity distribution network. The modernised, `non-operations’ network provides increased reliability and bandwidth helping the company to better monitor and control the supply of electricity to 2.4 million properties in the UK. Critical to the project was the use of Westermo’s Ethernet line extenders, which enable the existing ageing copper cabling infrastructure to be used, thereby ensuring the project was economically viable.

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Westermo is looking for more people to join the company

We can offer exciting and stimulating opportunities in a global and rapidly growing company operating in the forefront of cutting edge technology.

At Westermo we believe that staff has an important part to play in company development. We have a clear vision, and we place great emphasis on keeping staff informed and involved in achieving our goals. We also believe that employees grow with responsibility, making decisions in a decentralized, competent and dynamic organization.

We currently have 8 vacancies at headquarters in Sweden.

Click here to find out more and apply.

Support for horseshoe topology in WeOS 4.20.0

Westermo is happy to announce the release of WeOS 4.20.0. On top of improved VPN functionality, WeOS now supports "horseshoe" network topology. This can be very useful in applications that cover large geographical areas such as networks running along the trackside, wind mill farms or wastewater systems. These are examples where there can be a problem to find a return path to close the network sub ring in order to create a reliable and robust network solution. Read more about how this can be solved using WeOS devices.

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Jerker Pettersson at Westermo receives scholarship

Jerker Pettersson has been awarded a scholarship of 10 000 SEK from Arvid Nilsson’s memorial fund, issued by Eskilstuna Fabriksförening.

The scholarship was awarded Jerker Pettersson in Eskilstuna, on 27 October, 2016. Jerker has studied production engineering with a focus on Lean, and will now, with his knowledge and dedication, bring the manufacturing process something unique.

The motivation reads: Jerker has extensive experience as a process engineer in electronics manufacturing. Knowledge he has accumulated through experience and working with complex products for industrial communication. For two years he has added a manufacturing technology education with special focus on Lean. This means that Jerker can use and combine practical experience with new theoretical knowledge in a very valuable way for Westermo.

Kari Parkkila, production manager at Westermo, says that the trend is getting towards complex printed circuit boards, with increased demands as a result. In the future, the soldering process will be much more complex to manage. That Jerker has been awarded this scholarship is very beneficial for us at Westermo.

Jerker will work with a standardised approach, with a focus on Lean, to further optimise and increase the efficiency of our processes. He will further reduce the risks for us to make errors in the future. Our production will be better, more effective and safer. It will strengthen the Westermo’s position as a market leader in
industrial data communication.

Kari concluded by congratulating Jerker to the fine scholarship.

Westermo awarded at ISSRE 2016 for research on software test automation

Per Erik Strandberg is the lead author of the research paper that was awarded Best Research Paper at the ISSRE 2016 Conference in Ottawa, Canada.

Westermo awarded at ISSRE 2016 for research on software test automation

The 27th International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering (ISSRE) was held in Ottawa, Canada 23-27 October, 2016. The Westermo research paper on “Automated System Level Regression Test Prioritization using multiple factors” was awarded best research paper.

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“We are proud to receive this recognition of our dedicated work to continuously ensure high quality with our development work. Personally I am very proud of the Software team at Westermo who have worked for years to get us to the point where we are today, where I also see the team's joint dedication to take this quality assurance work even further. I am also grateful for the support of our fellow researchers from the US and from Mälardalens Högskola in Västerås, Sweden”, says Peter Johansson who is Manager for Software Solutions and Software Test at Westermo.

The main author of the research paper, Per Erik Strandberg was on site in Ottawa to present the research work. The paper has been developed together with Thomas J. Ostrand (USA) and Elaine J. Weyuker (USA) and Daniel Sundmark and Wasif Afzal from Mälardalens University (SWE). "The knowledge acquired and the new contacts established during the very intensive conference week, has triggered our curiosity beyond the ideas we already had.", says Per Erik Strandberg, Test Lead at Westermo.

Reliability is crucial in any industrial and infrastructure process control system. It is important that the data communications for these systems will work at all times. The continuous work with software test at the Westermo Research and Development centre contributes to increased system reliability.

The Automated System Level Regression Test capabilities provide the ability to pinpoint problems long before a product is released. “This way of testing automatically provides early feedback with diversified results tailored for each individual developer without the need to manually choose what to test and when.”, says Peter Johansson.

By complementing automated testing with other test measures, for example risk based testing and exploratory based testing, Westermo work to ensure the highest quality with the combination of automation and human intelligence.

ISSRE is an academic conference with strong industry participation running since 1990 and covering reliability engineering for software. ISSRE interests are in reliability, availability, safety, security and quality of software. ISSRE is sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society.

Read more ate the ISSRE website

Per Erik Strandberg (3rd from left) together with his co-writers Thomas J. Ostrand and Elaine J. Weyuker (4th and 5th from left) at the award ceremony. On the far right is Yvan Labiche, Chairman of ISSRE 2016, and the two gentlemen on the left are award winners for another research paper for which the best research paper award was shared.

Dynamic automated risk based test selection - test efforts where it matters most

A key factor of quality assurance at Westermo is dealing with complexity. Infinite possible combinations in terms of new and existing features, supported protocols, supported hardware platforms, network topologies and solutions is the challenge we meet.

At the same time we want to be flexible when developing new features and to get rapid feedback. We manage this with feature-driven development and continuous integration.

With our automated system level regression test capabilities, we have the ability to pinpoint problems long before product release with early feedback to developers. With this we are able to automatically provide diversified results tailored for each individual developer without the need to manually choose what to test and when.

We have our own developed test framework that completely automatically selects what tests to put into each individual test suite that the framework. This selection is based on quantified risks that changes along with what is about to be tested. The test framework also maps test cases towards an arbitrary number of physical test systems, each with its different set of DUTs. We have built the capability into the test framework to be able to test different network topologies that even comprise of subsets of our physical test network topologies. This helps us mitigate risks and manage the complexity that comes from an infinite number of possible test setup combinations.

At the CODE-STHLM Conference (Continuous Delivery and DevOps Conference Embedded Edition) I will talk about how we at Westermo continuously ensure high quality of our software development throughout the development process with our automated system level regression test capabilities.

Please come listen to my speech at the conference, to learn how this works for real and come see me afterwards to discuss it with me. I am looking forward to meet you there!

Read more about the conference

- Petra Wernkvist, Test Lead at Westermo

Westermo expands and opening a new office in Australia

Westermo is stepping out into the world again. This time, we are opening a new office in Australia.

The office has been open since the beginning of the summer. During this period we have had the opportunity to ensure that procedures and technology works as planned. 
The Australian team will work closely with our other offices around the world, with a focus on providing our knowledge, solutions and products to new and existing clients.

Westermo switches in critical control networks at Czech petrochemical plant

Westermo switches in critical control networks at Czech petrochemical plant

Unipetrol is a major refinery and petrochemical company in the Czech Republic. One of the company’s biggest assets is the industrial premises Chempark Záluží which is the largest chemical production facility in the country.  The facility is currently the seat of several dozens of important chemical and service companies and is a daily workplace for 6,500 employees from 180 companies.

The part of the plant where Ethylene is produced is particularly important since it is widely used as a component in many other products produced at the plant. A stoppage in the Ethylene production would have enormous economic implications because it would affect the overall production. A complete new network backbone for power control and distribution as well as an upgraded network backbone for the emergency shutdown system has been built with Westermo switches to support the applications in the Ethylene unit.

The communication infrastructure and the systems has been built and implemented by Inelsev, a Czech company that provides services for industrial automation and energetic systems. The decision to use Westermo devices was based on a strong working relationship between Inelsev and Westermo’s Czech distributor.

“This is a plant where reliability is absolutely crucial. The systems are designed to be extremely robust in order to guarantee continuous operation and to protect the plant and the people who work here. In the previous network solution we used another switch brand that we had to replace. The main reason for that was the network ring recovery time. Whenever the network had to recover, it took so long that connected equipment (OPC servers) would not start up and connect properly. WeOS powered Westermo product including the ring network protocol FRNT with 20 ms recovery time was a perfect fit. Extremely fast, robust and easy to use,” said Pavel Ješina, R&D manager at Inelsev who have designed and implemented both networks.

The two networks were built in 2011. The emergency shutdown system was an upgrade project where old switches from another brand were replaced with Westermo Lynx’s in a dual ring network topology. The purpose of this network is to shut down the plant in an emergency situation. The power control and distribution network was built as a completely new system and connects 30 substations throughout the plant with a central control room. The network consists of 270 communication devices, over 500 process screens and panels, 13 000 I/O connections and more than 300 000 alarms. The network consists mainly of Lynx L210-F2G and a variety of RedFox industrial switches.

The many combinations of ports and the possibility to mix copper and fibre media was another big driver for selecting Westermo products. “Inside a building we can use regular copper Ethernet cables, but the cables connecting the different buildings must be fibre due to safety legislations,” explained Pavel. “The many models and port combinations in the RedFox Industrial range allowed us to select the ideal product at every location and to prepare for expanding the network in the future”.

Another positive outcome from using Westermo devices is that configuration and maintenance is extremely simple. All managed Westermo devices are powered by the same operating system, WeOS. This means that you will get an identical experience whether you configure a Lynx, RedFox or any other managed Westermo device, regardless of model. It also means that any new functionality added to any new WeOS version will be backwards compatible and available in any previously installed WeOS device. The operating system is designed to be as robust as the hardware. It is made to be simple to use and configure and thoroughly tested in the Westermo software test lab. “I have worked with many different brands of switches and routers, and compared to many others, configuring a Westermo switch is like kindergarten,” said Pavel.

To make configuration and maintenance even simpler, Westermo also provides WeConfig, a “Made Easy” network configuration management tool designed to simplify both the initial configuration and network commissioning which can be performed much quicker than before and over the lifetime of a network hundreds of man hours can be saved. “I use WeConfig for upgrading the Westermo devices when a new firmware upgrade is made available. The tool makes upgrades simple and hassle free and I can access all units from one central point and automated updates are performed swiftly and securly. I am excited to start experimenting more with WeConfig when we expand our network”, said Pavel.

“We have created a straight forward, robust and reliable network solution. This is exactly what is needed here and the Westermo units have been working flawlessly since they were installed. The products are easy to use and I would not hesitate to select Westermo products for another application where the same type of requirements are needed”, Pavel ends.

Westermo at Innotrans 2016

Last week (20-23 September), we participated in the exhibition Innontrans 2016. For those who could not attend, have the opportunity to take advantage of our new products and solutions on our website.

New range of Ethernet switches that manage increasing demand for high-speed communication networks on-board rail vehicles.

Westermo has introduced a new generation of Ethernet train switches that provide highly robust networks to support many end devices and high data rates. Specifically designed for train applications.

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Westermo provides solutions for reliable and versatile train networks

Westermo provides an extensive range of network devices that can be used to create reliable solutions for many different applications such as WLAN access points, observation and surveillance cameras, multimedia displays, network video recorders, online timetable information and diagnostic data.

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Westermo provides solutions for reliable and versatile train networks

The use of IP technology has become the standard, over the last few years, for creating the data communication backbone used by the Train Control Management Systems (TCMS),  Passenger Information Systems (PIS) and Infotainment on trains. Robust Ethernet switches featuring a range of IP networking protocols are being used to build these networks which now are absolutely critical to the operation of the train.

As more and more different types of equipment are connected to these networks the need for more ports and capacity is created. More equipment also means that more cables need to be installed both power and data. PoE (Power over Ethernet) technology is the ideal solution to this issue where end devices can be powered through the network cable resulting in significant cost and space savings.

Westermo can provide an extensive range of network devices that can be used to create reliable solutions for many different applications such as WLAN access points, observation and surveillance cameras, multimedia displays, network video recorders, online timetable information, diagnostic data and much more. The very compact Viper series of Ethernet train switches provides up to 20 ports with or without PoE and up to 5 gigabit ports. The versatility of the Viper series and the ability to process high amounts of data traffic solves the growing need for network capacity.

Westermo has also developed solutions to challenges that are specific to the train market. Train inauguration is a process where the network can automatically reconfigure as carriages are joined or rearranged. The TTDP (Train Topology Discovery Protocol) in the RedFox Rail backbone router allows this reconfiguration meaning that networking skills do not have to be taught the operations staff of the train operating company.

In some applications it is not possible to use network cables, for example to get information off the moving train to the ground, connecting carriages where a specialized  train coupler is not available for network cables or to provide internet access for personnel and passengers. Westermo can provide a range of wireless products that can meet these needs.

Westermo switches and routers are powered by WeOS (Westermo Operating System) which provides an extensive suite of IP networking standards allowing reliable and secure networks to be created. With Ethernet connections being used for many train subsystems from the actual TCMS to PIS and Infotainment systems, there are risks that data congestion could occur if mistakes are made in connection or configuration. WeOS provides fast reconfiguration in the event of network failure and firewall functionality that can be used to block all but the required data from certain sections of the network. VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks) can also be used to segregate networks, and prioritisation of data can guarantee delivery of critical packets on time.

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