Industrial Protocol Converter for Wind Turbine Systems


Customer : A multinational System Integrator in the business of installing and maintaining wind turbines serving the Southeast Asia region
Size : 200-1000
Project vertical : Industrial Automation
Challenge : Design and develop an industrial protocol converter and cloud gateway to support multiple communication protocols and enable remote management of wind turbines competitively for low volume production
Solution : Microchip SAMA5D based industrial protocol converter and gateway
Services Availed :  Turnkey Product Engineering Services, Embedded Software, Embedded Hardware, RAPIDSEA
Tools and Technologies :
  • Key Hardware: Microchip: SAMA5D
  • Programming Languages: C, C++ and Assembly
  • Hardware Design Tools: OrCAD Cadence
  • Software Development: Linux and GCC Toolchain
  • Frameworks:  Sparklet and RAPIDSEA
  • Protocols: Modbus, Profibus, ProfiNet, CANOpen, EthernCAT and IEC 61400-25


One of the leading wind turbine installers and system integrators in the mission of clean energy, wanted to monitor their installations across Southeast Asia and integrate them to their central cloud. They also needed to perform control and management of the system remotely without any human intervention.

Embien, up on receiving took up the challenge of integrating multiple independent systems on site, bringing them to a common SCADA system and sharing it over internet to the cloud.


The primary challenge with this requirement is the number of industrial communication protocols involved. Wind turbines are essentially a collection of vast number of independent systems working in tandem. Each of them, coming from different vendors, speaks in different protocols like Modbus, Profibus, ProfiNet, CANOpen, EthernCAT and the popular IEC 61400-25 communication protocol. And in some cases, there are even some auxiliary systems that support proprietary protocols. The SCADA system being installed is again dependent on the end customer preference and hence multiple protocol interfaces had to be converted to a single interface and connected to the SCADA system.


Embien, with its rich experience in the industrial automation segment, took up the challenge of integrating multiple protocols and converting them to one. Our turnkey product development team worked with the customer in understanding the nuances of the wind turbine industry and the communication mechanisms involved.

Modern wind turbines are not just energy producers converting wind energy to electricity with few electro-mechanical systems. Instead, they are a complex network of sensors and devices working in tandem that are highly advanced and intelligent enough to produce maximum energy based on the environmental conditions. They have the capability for structural monitoring as well as performance monitoring to bring down the maintenance cost by predicting failures in advance.

The wind turbine industry employs three different kinds of networks - TAN, FAN and CAN as depicted in the below picture.

Wind Turbine System

Wind Turbine System

The Turbine Area Network (TAN) is the network that is local to each of the wind turbines. There are numerous sensors and systems connected that collect a plethora of information and send control information at high rates – typically once in every 2 ms. High Performance of these networks are crucial for safe and reliable function of the wind turbines.

The Farm Area Network (FAN) is typically a higher-level connection of multiple TAN where data from multiple wind turbines are relayed over this. Spanning across large distances these employ different wireless protocols.

The Control Area Network (CAN) is the single point of location where the FAN converges. Data from multiple wind turbines in the vicinity are combined here and processed. Multiple high-level protocols are used based on the wind turbine vendors and customers.

Embien designed and developed an Industrial Protocol Converter and gateway that can be placed at the CAN for larger installations and directly and the TAN for single/smaller installations. Our Embedded Hardware design team designed a ST Micro Electronics SAMA5 based system with all the necessary communication interfaces. The design was done to handle tough temperature and weather conditions along with relevant EMI/EMC conditioning. Since the production numbers were not so high, a readymade IP67 enclosure was utilized rather than a custom fabricated one.

Wind Turbine System - Architecture

Wind Turbine System - Architecture

Our Embedded Software team ran Linux OS on the system and ported BSP to the custom board. All the protocols from our RAPIDSEA library were leveraged to quickly support the rich set of interfaces. The protocol stacks for Modbus, Profibus, ProfiNet, CANOpen were already proven across applications and hence utilized here. Third party stacks were brought for protocols like EtherCAT and IEC 61400-25 and integrated in the firmware.

The entire application was architected in a modular way that each of them can run separately without dependent on another protocols. A common internal messaging structure was defined to enable information exchange between each of the participating parties. For the functionality, application logic was written to dynamically enable/disable protocols to be run and conversion methodology. The entire communication was critically provisioned and validated thoroughly to ensure that the system is stable even on high loads.

Dual cellular connectivity was provided to support the cloud side interface. The system employed custom HTTPS based communication with the customer’s cloud server. A store and forward architecture were employed so that the data is not lost even during network outrages on both the cellular interfaces.

Our embedded software design was also ruggedized against unexpected workflow with mechanisms like watchdog timer, etc. We also supported Over the Air Remote Firmware upgrades such that the entire system including the OS and applications can be uploaded securely over the cloud.

Together with our customer, we validated the industrial protocol converter at South Tamil Nadu locations and fine-tuned the system based on the on-field deployment. Post validation, the complete design was transferred to the customer for him to take up the production.


Embien added value to this project by proactively helping develop this state-of-the-art industrial protocol converted for wind turbine applications. Some of the key advantages we offered to this customer are.

  • Short Hardware development cycle with BoM optimized for lower production volumes
  • Multiple protocol support with Embien’s RAPIDSEA industrial protocol stacks
  • Remote firmware update feature for secure system upgradation
  • Dual cellular path for redundant cloud connectivity with store and forward architecture
  • Precise and lossless data acquisition enabled preventive maintenance and reduced operational expense by about 33%
  • Remote controlling of the turbines based on electricity evacuation enabled better grid integration

In addition to this, our extended support at the remote field locations helped customers iron out some of the key issues and made this product a grand success.


Thus, Embien’s expertise in industrial protocols turned out to be a great asset in the development of this industrial protocol converter for wind turbine industry. Our Turnkey Product development services team developed the product optimized for low volume production. Our customer leveraged technology and our design capabilities to significantly reduce operational costs, gain reputation and eventually a higher market share.

Embien is also proud to be part of this product as it contributes to our vision of green energy and environmental sustainability.

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