We test and certify your smart metering products
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2018-11-05 Testing + Certification 459 0

Smart Metering - Testing and Certification at the VDE Institute

Recording industrial and household energy consumption is always the center of interest for politicians and businessmen. The objective is to control energy consumption, stimulate energy savings and promote innovative technologies in this sector.

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Christian Lütkemeier

Efficient Energy Use

According to the "Energy Efficiency and Energy Services" Directive of the European Union (2006/32/EC, EDL Directive), the customer should observe his energy consumption transparently in the future with the help of smart metering for efficient energy use. In Germany, the Energy Industry Act (EnWG) and the Metering Access Ordinance (MessZV) implement the EU directives at the national level.

The VDE Testing and Certification Institute is also a competent partner for consumers, manufacturers and energy suppliers in the field of smart metering. We offer you personalized solutions that are precisely adapted and tailored to your specific needs.

Our Service for

Measuring instrument manufacturers

For manufacturers of measuring instruments (such as electricity meters, measuring transformers, integrated or external auxiliary equipment), conformity assessments from the notified body according to the Measuring Instruments Directive or German legal metrology are very important because they allow access to the European and domestic market.
Contact taking place as early as during the development stage makes it possible to prevent unnecessary developmental work and implement requirements relevant to the directive in a suitable way (e.g. in the software). With its accredited testing services, the VDE Institute can optimally support you in the field of EMC, environmental tests or electrical requirements.

Energy suppliers

Energy suppliers and public utilities need other solutions. These customers focus on high reliability and long service life of their measuring instruments. The VDE Institute is also a competent partner for energy suppliers and public utilities: The testing and evaluation of the electricity meters that might be used can minimize risks as early as during rollout preparation and the associated qualification Phase.

Consumers

In the field of consumer protection, we focus on metrological and calibration tests, which ensure that the measuring instruments on the market function properly. If final consumers doubt the reliability of measuring instruments, they can have them tested at the VDE Institute as part of an inspection. These tests are conducted at the "state-approved test center for measuring instruments for electricity EF 9" in the VDE Institute recognized by the Hessian Calibration Administration.

MID approval, MessEG, MessEV

The VDE Institute is a notified body by the BMWi

The VDE Institute has the authorization as a notified body according to the Measuring Instruments Directive

The Measuring Instruments Directive 2014/32/EU (MID) allows the simplified marketing of different measuring instruments for the entire internal European market. One of these types of meters are active energy meters, typically installed in European homes or light industry.

The VDE Institute is a notified body by the BMWi

The Measuring Instruments Directive 2014/32/EU (MID) allows the simplified marketing of different measuring instruments for the entire internal European market. One of these types of meters are active energy meters, typically installed in European homes or light industry.

The VDE-Institute is, as a notified body (NB no. 0366) and through its accreditation, a full provider of certifications for the conformity evaluation of this type of instrument. The conformity evaluation is a modular process in which the manufacturer can select suitable conformity evaluations. We offer you the following module combinations:

  • MID Module B + MID Module D
  • MID Module B + MID Module F

The VDE Institute is notified by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) for the following measuring instruments:

  • 6.1 EU electricity meter

Basis for approval: Measuring Instruments Directive (MID)

The VDE Institute is recognized according to the Measurement and Calibration Law and the Calibration Ordinance

Conformity evaluation body according to the Measurement and Calibration Act

The revision of statutory metrology in Germany led to extensive modifications in the Measurement and Calibration Act (MessEG) and in the Measurement and Calibration Ordinance (MessEV). Therefore, conformity assessment bodies are the central institutions for placing measurement instruments on the market.

The VDE Institute is recognized according to the Measurement and Calibration Law and the Calibration Ordinance

The revision of statutory metrology in Germany led to extensive modifications in the Measurement and Calibration Act (MessEG) and in the Measurement and Calibration Ordinance (MessEV). Therefore, conformity assessment bodies are the central institutions for placing measurement instruments on the market.

With the Measuring Instruments Directive process, the VDE Institute, as a conformity evaluation body, offers manufacturers a single source for tests and certifications for their measuring instruments that do not fall under the European directive.

The VDE Institute is notified by the BMWi for the following measurement devices:

  • 6.2 Energy meters (unless they are EU electricity meters)
  • 6.3 Reactive energy meters
  • 6.6 Separated and integrated arranged auxiliary equipment for electricity measuring instruments
  • 6.8 Measuring instruments in the e-mobility application field
  • 6.9 Instrument transformers for electricity meters

Basis for approval: Measurement and Calibration Law (MesseEG) and Measurement and Calibration Ordinance (MessEV).

Smart metering, intelligent measurement systems and technology, smart grid

Benefits for you

Our services bring you the following advantages:

Smart metering, intelligent measurement systems and technology, smart grid

Our services bring you the following advantages:

  • One approval process for the entire European Single Market
  • Expertise on all MID testing areas from a single source
  • Faster market access due to quick testing procedures
  • Expert knowledge in the design and evaluation of QM Systems

Take advantage of synergies and combine a MID approval with additional tests from our service portfolio, such as

  • MessEG and MessEV approval
  • Interoperability tests
  • Durability tests
  • Idle power tests

Module B - Testing prototypes

The conformity assessment of a prototype consists of tests in different areas. The type of measuring device and the country in which the product is to be placed on the market are decisive for the scope of testing to be used.

The conformity assessment of a prototype consists of tests in different areas. The type of measuring device and the country in which the product is to be placed on the market are decisive for the scope of testing to be used.

Together with the documents submitted by the manufacturer (data sheet, functional description, among others), the testing results constitute the foundation for the type examination certificate.
The type examination certificate is issued following successful completion of the test and is valid for 10 years.
Quality assurance during series production is required via module D or F for market placement after the type examination has taken place.

Module D - Type declaration based on quality assurance related to the production process

Module D forms the second part of placing a meter on the market after the type examination certificate (module B). The goal of the conformity assessment in module D is to only have standards-compliant measuring instruments ship for delivery during mass production.

Module D forms the second part of placing a meter on the market after the type examination certificate (module B). The goal of the conformity assessment in module D is to only have standards-compliant measuring instruments ship for delivery during mass production.

A quality assurance system implemented in the production process aims to ensure that only measuring instruments that comply with the certificate of conformity and the same characteristics are placed on the market. Reviewing the QA system includes, among other things, compliance with documented production processes, the suitability of the technical staff used along with the manufacturing and testing processes used.
If this is ensured and if there is a certificate of recognition, the manufacturer may place the appropriate metrology mark on their device and put it to market.
In-market placement of regulatory-compliant measuring instruments will be guaranteed over the long term through regular monitoring of the manufacturer’s QA system by the notified body and/or the conformity assessment body.
Placing measuring instruments on the market according to module combination B + D is especially advantageous if manufacturers already have a functional system for ensuring production quality and final inspection.

Module F - Declaration of type conformity based on product testing

As an alternative to module D, module F can be applied for as soon as the type examination certificate (module B) is available in order to place electrical active energy meters on the market in Germany (MessEG) or in Europe (MID).

As an alternative to module D, module F can be applied for as soon as the type examination certificate (module B) is available in order to place electrical active energy meters on the market in Germany (MessEG) or in Europe (MID).

In this process, each device is directly (single test) or indirectly (static inspection) checked. For instance, the testing process for electricity meters is described in the following series of standards:

  • DIN EN 62058-11 (VDE 0418-8-11)
  • DIN EN 62058-21 (VDE 0418-8-21)
  • DIN EN 62058-31 (VDE 0418-8-31

If the test is positive, then the manufacturer may label their device with the respective metrology marking (M for MID and/or DE-M for MessEG/MessEV, year and identification number of the notified body) and place it on the market.
Testing according to module F is comparable to the former initial calibration. It includes a visual inspection, insulation test and metrology tests.
The B + F module combination is usually more economical compared to module combination B + D if it is a matter of manufacturing small quantities of measuring instruments or if a QA system is not yet available for certain reasons (e.g. due to a new product).

Measuring accuracy of electricity meters

At a very early stage, the manufacturers of electricity meters can already use our comprehensive pool of testing equipment to not only support development and to have accuracy tests and insulation tests carried out, but also to benefit from our many years of experience in the field of EMC testing and environmental audits.

End users can also make use of the services of officially recognized testing agencies and calibration authorities if there should be any doubts about the accuracy of meters.

The testing agency's range of tasks:

  • Initial calibrations
  • Recalibrations
  • Calibration checks
  • Special tests
  • Extension of the calibration validity period (random sampling procedure)
  • Acceptance tests

Testing equipment:

  • Meter testing device with isolating current transformers
  • Insulating test equipment
  • Equipment for testing the influences of electromagnetic interference
  • Climatic test chambers

Interoperability

The introduction of digital, intelligent meters that allow for remote reading via a communication interface requires reliable interoperability and a high degree of information security for end users and consumers.

This is achieved through quality assurance by standardizing the interfaces. Standardization is in turn achieved by comparing the specifications of the meter with a sufficient number of test cases that assign a predefined initial state to all known input variables – including interference variables.

Information security is present when compliance with these conditions is ensured for the entire usage period of the meter.

Further development
The test results of the conformity test allow the meter manufacturers to pursue specific further development of their products, and can provide measuring point operators and energy suppliers with valuable information on their business processes.

For the technical implementation, the modular EDL concept was created in the VDE Network Technology/Network Operation forum (FNN). EDL stands for “Energie-Dienst-Leistung” (Energy Service) and provides energy suppliers with a platform that – while maintaining cost awareness – enables the implementation of requirements of the German Energy Management Act (EnWG).


Ensuring interoperability
By using the EDL specifications in the design of an electricity meter, the manufacturer can ensure that his product can be operated in the infrastructure of the energy supplier (interoperability).

To provide evidence of correct implementation in the design, the VDE Testing and Certification Institute offers conformity tests for the EDL system. Further system tests (including those for MUC) are in preparation.

 

Tested information security
The conformity test cases established by the expert group (MeKo) within FNN are implemented by VDE Institute in the TTCN-3 and represent the basis for testing the information security of EDL meters. The test setup consists of an EDL-capable meter whose information and measuring point operator interface is read and evaluated by a PC.

The VDE Institute performs tests and creates test reports based on these test cases. If desired, a VDE seal of quality can be issued if the results are favorable. Every single test case is evaluated and can be comprehensively analyzed thanks to extensive logging functions, which can furthermore be used in the acceptance test in the goods receiving department.

Evaluation of reliability and measurement stability

The “Guideline for the evaluation of the reliability of electricity meters and additional equipment”, published by the “Reliability and measuring constancy of electricity meters and additional equipment” project group in the Network Technology/Network Operation forum in the VDE (FNN), supplements the normative requirements and calls for higher standards of reliability and quality in energy meters during power grid operation.

The VDE Testing and Certification Institute has been instrumental in establishing the guideline through examinations and tests, particularly in the field of the interference of high frequency currents in the frequency range of 2 kHz to 150 kHz.

The following test points are required in the guideline and can be offered by the VDE.

  • Magnetic DC fields, maximum strength
  • Magnetic AC fields, maximum strength
  • Failure in the neutral conductor
  • Direct current component in the grid
  • Direct voltage component in the grid
  • Symmetrical high frequency currents 2 kHz to 150 kHz

The interference immunity test against symmetrical high frequency currents of 2 kHz to 150 kHz is specifically required by many network operators as a precondition for the use of a measuring device in the mains system.


CLC/TR 50579: AC electricity meter - testing accuracy, interference immunity and testing process for conducted interferences in the 2 kHz - 150 kHz frequency range.
This European technical report applies to brand-new, static electricity meters in households, businesses, or in the light industry for accuracy classes A, B and C for measuring electrical AC active energy in 50 Hz power grids.
Since the EN 50470 does not mention anything about the 2 kHz - 150 kHz frequency range, this technical report is suitable for closing this gap and substantiating that the electricity meter fulfills the basic requirements of the MID Directive.


EN 61000-4-19: Testing the interference immunity of AC grid connections against conducted, differential mode disturbances and disturbances from signaling in the range 2 kHz - 150 kHz
In the future, EN 61000-4-19 will be the basis for testing conducted, differential mode disturbances in the range 2 kHz - 150 kHz. This verification can already be tested and evaluated today at the VDE Institute while taking into account specific customer requirements.


Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)
The VDE Institute offers you EMC testing of electronic meters and their auxiliary equipment as part of an approval test or during the development phase. Our modern and powerful systems provide excellent quality.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Take advantage of our expertise in statutory measuring and EMC to prove your product's increased reliability standards and measurement stability.

Service life tests for electricity meters

When developing new meter types or making changes to the design, determining the service life is very costly, and the effects of individual changes in design are only apparent at a very late stage.

To reduce or prevent consequential damages, the VDE Institute offers reliability and durability tests so that weak spots can be detected as early as during development.

These reliability tests allow for potential sources of failure to be detected by subjecting the project to increased loads (stress tests). As such, the appropriate design changes can be made at an early stage to reduce consequential costs.

With its cutting edge test laboratory and long-time expertise in the field of service life tests, especially for electronic components, VDE Institute offers manufacturers and users a wide range of reliability test.

The benefits for you:

  • Early detection of weak spots
  • Quick reliability information thanks to statistical predictions
  • Reduced consequential costs
  • Enhanced level of quality


DIN EN 62059-31-1:2009-07 (IEC 62059-31-1)
In this accelerated reliability test, random samples are subjected to stress levels exceeding the intended operating conditions. The goal is to shorten the elapsed time until product failure, without subjecting them to new failure mechanisms.

The service life is assessed through record entries and examinations of the failures during the test. By determining the failure distribution and calculating service life models, it is possible to extrapolate the time to failure under the intended operating conditions. This process delivers quantitative results with its confidence limits and may be used to compare service life parameters of products that originate from different suppliers or from different lots of the same manufacturer.


DIN EN 62059-32-1:2012-10 (IEC 62059-32-1)
This draft standard represents the basis for assessing the metrological characteristics of an electricity meter under increased loads. The meter is operated for a longer period of time at the upper limits of operating temperature, voltage and current.

The change in the percentage measuring error of the test object at the beginning and at the end of the test serves as the acceptance criterion.

The VDE Institute also offers tailor-made tests such as climatic storage at elevated ambient temperature and humidity. Take advantage of our state-of-the-art meter testing equipment, which records changes in metrological characteristics under heightened climatic conditions.

Benefit from our experience in the field of statutory measuring to verify that your product meets increased reliability standards and measurement stability.


DIN EN 62059-41: 2007-01 (IEC 62059-41)
This standard provides methods for predicting the failure rate of electricity meters, which are assumed to be constant, based on the component stress process.

The result of the prediction can be used in the development phase to safeguard development decisions, relating to the type approval for safeguarding decisions regarding the certification period and in the operational phase to determine the required scope of maintenance to preserve the required availability.

VDE testing system for FNN basic meters

In the future, the basic meter according to FNN specifications will assume the role of modern measuring equipment in an intelligent measuring system. In order that basic meters can reliably function while they operate with smart meter gateways made by various manufacturers; testing these meters is crucially important; otherwise, sustainably good quality cannot be guaranteed. For this reason, the "Grid Technology & Grid Operation Forum at the VDE" (FNN) has created test specifications for basic meters:

This testing system developed by the VDE Institute allows for verification of the requirements from the FNN specifications for basic meters. The target audiences of the universally applicable testing systems are measurement site operators, manufacturers and test centers.

The VDE testing system consists of software and a hardware module for exchanging messages with the meter. The software has a modular design and relies on tried-and-tested TTCN-3 technology for flexible use. It can be expanded to make it future-proof. To ensure that the strict requirements set for the LMN communication interface of the basic meter can be met, a special module was developed in collaboration with an external partner, capable of exchanging messages with a secured time base of 10 ns.

The test cases specified in the FNN are automatically executed by the VDE testing system software. In the process, the testing system takes control of an external electrical source system. The syntax and semantics of the exchanged communication protocols are checked and evaluated by the TTCN-3 software. Thus, the high degree of automation can significantly reduce the time it takes to test a basic meter with full recording of the test results for error Analysis.


Accompanying development tests of communication interfaces
In the age of the Internet of things (IoT), the requirements set for instrument communication technology are becoming increasingly higher. This trend can be observed especially in metering and metrology as well. Thus, in the future, energy meters should be capable of communicating with distribution grid operators and energy suppliers via a smart meter gateway in order to contribute to an intelligent power grid, the so-called smart grid.

Due to the standardization of the communication protocols used, software implementations must be planned, developed and tested for reliability in advance to prevent expensive errors in the subsequent operational field. The testing of the respective protocol implementation is an indispensable task that greatly benefits product quality if the communication remote terminal is an independent entity.

To optimally support manufacturers in this field during development, the VDE Testing and Certification Institute has comprehensively expanded its expertise in testing communication protocols. Specifically, communication protocols are supported in various application fields – for example, smart metering, smart home and e-mobility, where the VDE Institute relies on TTCN-3, the standardized technology for communication tests.

Testing services for smart meter gateways

Under certain conditions, the current Energy Industry Act (EnWG) requires the installation of "measuring systems" for recording the electrical energy for billing purposes, which are essentially the requirements of §§ 21d and 21e of the EnWG.

A measuring system can consist of a "meter + external gateway with additional functions according to EnWG".

The following requirements must be met for the gateway according to calibration law:

  • The calibration directive with annex 20
  • PTB Specifications 50.7
  • PTB specifications 20.1, section 2 “auxiliary Equipment”

For the requirements set forth in PTB A20.1, the VDE Institute, as an accredited test laboratory according to DIN EN ISO 17025, offers all tests for the environmental and EMC requirements according to DIN EN 62052-11.

These include, among others:

  • Electrostatic discharges
  • Electromagnetic RF fields
  • Rapid transient disturbances
  • Conducted interference induced by high-frequency fields
  • Surge voltages
  • Damped vibrations
  • Radio frequency interference
  • IP protection
  • Impact and vibration tests
  • Clearance and creepage distances

Combine these tests with the Institute’s other test services as well, such as electrical safety according to EN 50428 or the EN 60669 series of Standards.

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