While a single diagram is often considered a core component of a SCADA application for a power monitoring system, it hasn’t changed very much over the years. Features like automatic line coloring have provided information on a line’s energized state, or even the voltage level passing through the line at a given time. Often it is simply a graphical reproduction of the engineering drawing, combined with some standardized symbols for the switchgear and other components. Meanwhile, in other areas of the modern SCADA system innovations are changing everything from advanced trending, alarm management, and dynamic reporting. The single line all the while has remained at the core of the project, while around it innovation abounds.
It is time to start to expect more from single line diagrams in our SCADA applications. As other areas of industrial software continue to innovate, and new products like the modern, Advanced Distribution Management Systems (ADMS) have emerged. So have the ways to better visualize data, and with their advances come steep increases in cost and complexity. What about the projects that are too small to afford the price of an ADMS system, or are only looking to benefit from a subset of its features? How can a SCADA power management application provide some of the insights and technologies that users are demanding?
That is where we can turn back to the single line diagram. It is time to modernize this staple of a SCADA system. By taking advantage of proven technologies like load flow calculation, and state estimation, you can provide that line with a completely new set of characteristics. You can tell the line’s total length, impedance, power inputs, and outputs, where it is in relation to its real world position. All of these innovations would provide you with an intelligent single line diagram. It knows not only its current state, but also its limits, and how other actions in the network will affect its state. As users look to build modern SCADA applications it will become imperative to modernize the single line diagram with more intelligent features.