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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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 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.

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

To meet the growing need for more capacity in train communications networks, 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, the wide range of interoperable Viper switches delivers reliable and versatile solutions for train networks, enabling optimal configuration for every need.

Based on the previous well proven and highly popular train switches from Westermo, the new models provide a range of 12 and 20 ports standard Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet and PoE (Power over Ethernet) variants as well as additional routing functionality to enable the connection of subnets and improved overall network performance.

The Viper is available with up to 5 gigabit ports to meet the need for connectivity of gigabit end devices, such as WLAN access points and network video recorders. Simultaneously, lightning fast failover on gigabit ring ports can be achieved.

The Viper offers eight PoE ports that support the IEEE 802.3af/at plug-and-play PoE communications standard. PoE enables both power and data to be transmitted on a single multi-core cable, especially useful for camera applications, reducing overall wiring and enabling faster installation. The Viper with PoE is available in variants for low or high voltage power supply range allowing installation in any rail vehicle regardless of power standard. The Viper can also provide gigabit speed over the PoE ports, making the switch ideal e.g. for WLAN access points.

Specifically designed to provide highly robust networks and long term field operation, the Viper range has been tested and approved to exceed the EN 50155 on-board railway standard for electronic equipment, as well as an extended range of approvals with NFPA 130 (NA fire & smoke) and shunting radio EMC requirements from European rail authorities.

The Viper has been designed to be very compact and ultra-thin, enabling installation within the confined spaces of railcar panels. The M12 connectors are integrated into the housing to reduce size and further protect against vibration. With an ultra-robust design, sealed to IP67 and vibration resistant to military standards, these units are ideal for situations where mechanical stress, moisture, condensation; dirt or continuous vibrations could adversely affect the function of standard Ethernet switches. A GORE-TEX(R) membrane is used to prevent condensation build up by normal climatic day/night cycling.

As well as high levels of reliability, the switches offer unique functionality that simplifies the creation, installation and maintenance of networks. The Viper switches’ WeOS operating system provides an extensive suite of IP networking features and protocols allowing resilient and flexible networks to be created.

WeOS is also able to balance data traffic on the network to maintain maximum throughput and stability. The introduction of increased traffic from new cameras or video streams will therefore not affect the stability of the network. In the event of any link or hardware failure Westermo’s unique FRNT technology is able to re-configure a large network in 20ms.

For easy configuration, the Ethernet switches can be safely accessed from anywhere in the network using the WeConfig network configuration tool, or directly via a console port on switch.

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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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Westermo networking technology helps ensure efficient running of railways in Croatia

Westermo has many years’ experience of successfully providing data communication technologies in mission-critical railway applications and was chosen to support a major railway project in Croatia by supplying robust and reliable trackside devices.

The project involved implementing a SCADA remote control system to connect railway stations, sectioning facilities and substations on the Moravice-Rijeka-Šapjane, and Škrljevo-Bakar lines in the far north-west of the country with the Remote Control Centre in Rijeka. The remote control system collects data on critical communications such as signalling, alarms, control orders and the state of the IT system, therefore extremely reliable data communications networking technology is required.

“We are talking about Westermo switches working 24/7, for 365 days a year, in a redundant ring topology without any problems whatsoever,” says Dejan Fabris, systems engineer at Končar-KET.

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Westermo Gigabit switches and media convertor support growing need for higher bandwidth networks

Reliable, ease to use industrial Ethernet devices suitable for heavy industrial, maritime and trackside applications

Westermo has launched three new Ethernet devices that support the growing need for higher bandwidth networks with industrial applications. Two new Gigabit switches and a media convertor offer outstanding reliability, robustness and ease of installation, making them suitable for heavy industrial, maritime and rail trackside data communication networks.

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The MCW-211-F1G-T1G is an unmanaged industrial Ethernet media convertor with one SFP fibre port and one copper port that enables the connection of legacy serial devices to new Gigabit Ethernet networks. The SDW-541-F1G-T4G and SDW-550-T5G are unmanaged Ethernet switches that offer a choice of five copper or one fibre and four copper ports. The units support 100 Mbit/s or Gbit Ethernet, with the SDW-550-T5G also supporting 10 Mbit/s communications. Using Westermo’s range of pluggable 100Mbit or Gbit SFP transceivers, different types of fibre can be easily converted and distances of up to 120km can be achieved.

The three devices are designed for demanding applications that require high levels of reliability. All three units feature tri-galvanic isolation, a unique solution that provides isolation between the ports, the shield connection and the power supply. This helps to avoid ground loop currents and increases reliability. By using only industrial grade components the units are robust and provide a long service life. The SDW-541-F1G-T4G has a mean-time-between-failure of over 1.1 million hours.

“There is a growing desire for higher bandwidth industrial networks that are extremely reliable,” said Bo Jansson, Westermo product manager. “To support this Westermo has launched three Gigabit devices that are designed to be extremely reliable and offer extended service life, even when operating in the toughest environments. The products are also very simple to commission and operate.”

To simplify installation the devices are compatible with all standard industrial Ethernet protocols. For legacy Ethernet equipment unable to support auto-negotiation, a DIP switch can lock data rate and flow control. Network diagnostics is simplified using the port mirroring functionality of the switches. This allows data flow through the switch to be monitored using a network analyser, enabling engineers to use it for fault diagnosis.

The units all meet the highest EMC, isolation, vibration and shock standards, and are certified for rail trackside and maritime applications. Their IP21 rating ensures that the units can be installed in locations where condensed water may occur. A power input range of between 10 and 57 VDC and an extended operating temperature range of -40 to +74 C enable the units to support a broad range of applications, even in extreme environments.

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Westermo data networks maximise availability of twin Spanish solar power plants


Westermo switches create resilient, easy to install network solution at plants supplying electricity to 45,000 homes

Highly reliable data communications networks created by Westermo are helping to maximise the availability of two thermal solar power plants in south-western Spain. The Ethernet-based networks have been installed to support the control of 225,000 mirrors at the twin La Florida and La Dehesa concentrating solar power plants. The two plants, owned by Renovables SAMCA, each have a capacity of 49.9 MWe, enough to support more than 45,000 homes.

Reliable data communications are essential for the production of electricity. Should connection be lost between the mirrors and control rooms, the collectors are automatically set to safe mode and do not transfer energy. Westermo was therefore tasked with providing a resilient and easy to install solution that would maximise plant availability.

“Any interruptions to the communications affect our ability to generate power,” said César Labarga, Electrical Engineer and Project Manager for solar field control systems at Renovables SAMCA, who was responsible for implementing the network at both sites. “We needed a very reliable solution and this is what we have been provided by Westermo. We are very happy with how the networks are performing. It is a really stable and reliable solution.”

Because the La Florida and La Dehesa plants are identical, the same solution was installed at each plant. The networks were designed around a central dual gigabit fibre optic ring using 25 Westermo RedFox managed industrial Ethernet switches. Nine sub rings consisting of 120 Westermo Lynx switches were added to reach out to the different parts of each plant. All individual rings in the network run the Westermo FRNT ring protocol, which enables 20 ms reconfiguration of the network in the event of link (cable or switch) failure.

To ensure the installation process was quick and simple, Westermo built, configured and tested both networks in advance in its laboratory in Sweden. An entire network, including all 290 switches, was mounted on a huge ‘network wall’, enabling it to be fully configured and tested prior to installation.
“We also needed a solution that was quick and simple to install,” said Labarga. “Having Westermo configure all devices and thoroughly test both networks beforehand was essential to this project.“

The installation process was extremely efficient, with all switches installed and both networks up and running in less than three hours. Since then the networks have proved to be extremely reliable, with no reported problems or serious incidents.

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Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation learns from Westermo

Photo: Westermo’s Jonathan Larsson demonstrates the Ethernet switch testing process to Mikael Damberg, Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation

As Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Mikael Damberg is responsible for supporting exports. That is the reason why he visited Westermo, a Swedish technology company that has had great success exporting its products. During his visit the Minister was able to learn how Westermo has successfully exported its technology and the strategies used to successfully break into new markets.

"It is fantastic to see a small family business grow and become successful in a global market,” remarked Damberg. "It requires new and special skills to succeed as Westermo has done. There is a great amount of expertise and knowledge here within this company, and they have used it successfully to take the step out into the world."

Westermo designs and manufactures Ethernet routers, switches and other data communications equipment for industrial applications, specifically for installation within in environments with tough operating conditions. Westermo is a unique technology company, with all product development and production taking place in Sweden, but the majority of products being exported. The company has grown from a small entrepreneurial family run business into a global leader within the industrial data communications market.  

Westermo's CEO Lars-Ola Lundkvist highlighted to the Minister the importance of Westermo’s corporate culture, participation and community as the guiding principles on its journey to become an international company.

Westermo focuses on product quality and continuously improves its development and production process. During his visit, the Minister was able to see the world-class technology production first-hand. Westermo production manager Kari Parkkila explained to the Minister the importance of cooperation between R&D and production departments and the strength of producing technology in Sweden.

Lundkvist presented Damberg with an Ethernet switch and a message to his colleague, Anna Johansson, the Minister of Infrastructure, that there is domestically produced technology that can make a big difference to Sweden and Swedish infrastructure.

Westermo at the largest rail event in the Nordics

Westermo had a successful exhibition at Nordic Rail 2015 in Jönköping, Sweden, October 6 to 8. Many people from the train and trackside industry came to the stand to learn about the latest news in industrial networking solutions. A special interest was shown in Westermo’s network configuration software WeConfig and how this free of charge tool can be used to simplify overview, control and maintenance of a network.

For more information on the event and to see what Westermo was able to demonstrate at the event please watch this short video.


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