Protrol is a Swedish company providing both products and services within electric power and automation technologies. The company mainly develops products for performance monitoring and control and fault detection in secondary substations. Their services are expert consultation spread over several fields, primarily focusing on protection and control of primary substations, high voltage direct current, and connection of new power sources. Among their customers, we find power companies, utilities, and different industries.
Protrol has developed innovative and powerful products for fault detection in power grids. Around the fault detection services, Protrol has also developed several products for monitoring other relevant data points in substations such as temperature, open doors, and more.
Below you find a summary of the customer use case, click here to skip it and go directly to the video.
Where does IoT fit into Protrol’s services?
One of Protrol’s main challenges for rolling out their power network products on a large scale is communication – getting the information quickly and securely to the control center. Whether it is about detecting where earth faults have occurred or if any alarming temperatures are reached (which could, e.g., give the customer a chance to act on issues before damage occurs), it is vital that the information can travel large distances in a fast and reliable manner.
Today, around 90% of their installations rely on communication types like fiber, single cable, 3G/4G/5G, and more. These networks are sufficient and economically viable in densely populated areas where they are well established. Still, in rural areas, other solutions are required that are sufficiently cost-efficient for Protrol’s customers to make sense financially.
LoRaWAN – A cost-efficient solution
An excellent type of communication network for these installations is LoRaWAN – A widely popular type of radio communication for IoT that is cost-effective and offers users to cover vast ranges between each gateway. As customers demand cost-effective connectivity solutions for IoT installations, Protrol has enabled their products to run on LoRaWAN networks.
One of Protrol’s customers, the Swedish power utility company Kraftringen, has significantly benefited from Protrol’s products being LoRaWAN compatible. Kraftringen has, with the help of Sensative, installed a local LoRaWAN network in Southern Sweden. By doing so, Kraftringen has connected a number of its substations with Protrol’s products. Kraftringen also uses Sensative’s horizontal IoT platform Yggio – A platform that allows customers to connect and integrate LoRaWAN products and related systems easily – Making Protrol’s products an ideal choice for Kraftringen.
Security in IoT for critical infrastructure
“For IoT to be successful in this business, good security solutions are necessary.” – Torbjörn Karlsson, CEO, Protrol.
Karlsson explains that today’s security solutions for their technology might be sufficient for their active product lines’ one-way communication in the short term. However, in the long term, the company is looking at products for two-way communication, automation, and control that require a new level of security. An example of such high-security solutions is controlling equipment in substations.
For Protrol’s customers, such as Kraftringen, operating the critical infrastructure with the highest possible security is essential as this is a demand put on them by the government. For this reason, Kraftringen, together with Sensative, is part of a European project called CritiSec – One of the most advanced security projects in Europe aimed at producing the highest security standards for modern IoT solutions.