Nanjing Nari-Relays Electric Co., Ltd. Keeps the Lights On with SHARC and Blackfin
Nanjing Nari-Relays Electric Co., Ltd. (NR) is regarded as a world leader in the areas of research and manufacturing of numerical protection, automation and control systems for both HVAC and HVDC power systems. NR's technical leadership is evident in their complete product lines, built around their unique and patented technologies. NR is an engineering-driven company committed to serving electric power utilities and industrial customers worldwide. The Chinese electrical power system has achieved high levels of stability in part, due to the widespread use of NR numerical relay products with their extremely high reliability. The incidence of power failures in the Chinese power grid due to a fault or other operating condition has been significantly reduced.
Ten years ago, NR started to use the 218x family of 16 bit fixed point DSPs from Analog Devices. Up to that time, most of their embedded processing had been based on general purpose microprocessor architectures. When the Blackfin family became available, NR started using Blackfin in protection devices. The use of signal processing architectures expanded as multiple successful products based on Blackfin and SHARC replaced microprocessors and microcontroller-based designs. The result is that the majority of new designs are based on Analog Devices DSPs. NR found that the performance of the Blackfin and SHARC solutions was superior in the critical applications of sensing and reacting to faults and transient events in the power grid. These functions are very critical to the reliability of the nationwide power grid, from the large generation stations to the residential transformer, and at every point in between.
Performance is absolutely a key attribute that contributes to the success of ADI DSPs in these industrial applications. The ability to connect to input and output devices such as converters and switches is also important. The ability to rapidly measure and analyze system conditions is a rather obvious requirement. A non-obvious attribute that plays an important role in winning these designs is 'power', or more precisely 'low power', for operation in space constrained un-cooled housings. It is striking to consider the range of applications that are served by ADI DSPs, with diverse end-user requirements, all relying on a very well defined combination of performance, power, and peripherals that are present in the Blackfin and SHARC processors.
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