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Real Time Digital Simulator = real time collaboration

August 9, 2012 — 

RTDS Technologies is the industry standard for real time digital power system simulators used in over 30 countries worldwide. The RTDS Simulator was the culmination of research done at the Manitoba HVDC Research Centre, which was established in 1981 as a non-profit research company jointly created by Manitoba Hydro, Teshmont Consultants, Federal Pioneer, and the University of Manitoba.

The collaborative relationship between RTDS Technologies and the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Manitoba has been a long one, dating back to Dr. Peter McLaren’s first research Chair in Power Systems Protection in the mid-1990s.

The original RTDS development was done by Dr. Glen Rosenthal at the Manitoba HVDC Research Centre, a project he undertook immediately on completion of his Masters degree under Prof. McLaren. While the original concept was for electrical power system studies, Prof. McLaren successfully argued that the testing of protection relays were a better first application. The first major test of relay protection was done with Prof. McLaren at the Manitoba Hydro Dorsey station. Prof. McLaren purchased 2 RTDS racks for the University Power Group and they were used by many of his graduate students in the development of a new family of protection relays and provided feedback on RTDS enhancements. Prof. McLaren and Mr. Erwin Dirks, a technician in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, both attended conferences and exhibitions in which they provided expertise in RTDS exhibition booths.

RTDS support of the Faculty’s research efforts have continued with in-kind and cash contributions totaling nearly $500,000 during the two terms of Dr. Ani Gole’s Chair in Power Systems. Over the past few years, real-time simulation equipment made available by RTDS has been used in the Faculty of Engineering’s undergraduate program. Several NSERC USRA students have used this setup in learning advanced motor drive and power electronic devices used in power systems. “By allowing simulation and implementation of advanced control systems and by enabling hardware-in-loop simulation, RTDS has been used to significantly extend the capability of our existing lab equipment,” says Dr. Udaya Annakkage, Head of Electrical & Computer Engineering. “Several undergraduate Capstone design projects have been successfully completed by our
students using this setup.”

U of M Engineering graduates have developed important skills in the area of real-time simulation. A number of them are presently employed by RTDS Technologies, and other power system companies.

SmallVehicleTestLab“The acquisition of highly qualified, well-suited employees has certainly been the primary benefit of our long relationship with the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Manitoba,” says Mr. Rick Kuffel, Director of RTDS. “We have made some substantial technological strides together, but the real pay-off has been the people.”

More recently, RTDS has generously provided funding and technical support (with other partners) in setting up a small vehicle test laboratory. This lab is fully equipped with a state-of-the-art dynamometer and real-time simulation hardware and software and is capable of modeling and testing advanced vehicular systems such as hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric drive-trains. Dr. Shaahin Filizadeh (ECE) and Mr. Dirks also worked with RTDS in the development of a hybrid all-terrain vehicle at the U of M.

Additional collaborative work has also been started with the aim of developing real-time hardware-in-loop simulation facilities for vehicular systems. This work is co-sponsored by NSERC through a CRD grant.

Last year RTDS contributed to the development of the new Power System Dynamics and Control Lab, and have also committed to give two real time simulation racks and a cash contribution to the research programs of the new Stanley Pauley Centre.

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