Iridium Communications has entered into a new partnership with Lindsey Manufacturing, a pioneer in Emergency Restoration Systems (ERS), Transmission Line Monitors (TLM) and Dynamic Line Rating (DLR) technologies for major transmission utility companies. This unique partnership expands Iridium’s footprint in the transmission utility day-ahead-power-transfer capacity market, by integrating satellite communications with transmission line analytic solutions.
Lindsey Manufacturing specializes in power line conductor behavior monitoring, which typically relies on cellular connectivity. Their new software solution, called SMARTLINE, enhances traditional DLR methods for utility companies by enabling more reliable and accurate measurement capabilities and better managing power line capacity to maximize the power grid. They do this through leveraging the Iridium®network and integrating their advanced software and technology directly with an Iridium 9603 modem. The integrated device is then attached to the energized, extremely high voltage conductor and can store all collected data in a cloud-based site and/or on a company’s server. The kinds of electric line data the software can provide are 24-hour and two-hour look-ahead load capacity, 99-percent accurate forecasting capabilities, conductor temperature, and conductor clearance to ground data points. Utilities using SMARTLINE DLR technology will have access to these capabilities and data for transmission lines located anywhere on the planet, including remote areas where communication infrastructure is typically compromised or largely unavailable.
“For us, partnering with Iridium was an easy choice,” said Philip Spillane, vice president of marketing at Lindsey Manufacturing. “We are looking to change the way utility companies leverage the power grid, and to do that, we need to have absolute confidence that our technology can work globally and reliably, and the only way to ensure that is with Iridium. Their network provides us with reliable service, every time.”
The first SMARTLINE DLR system was installed with Hydro Quebec, a major hydropower utility for that region. Iridium and Lindsey Manufacturing both anticipate that this technology has the potential for global installation, drastically improving and streamlining the way utilities operate and use the power grid today.
“Iridium is excited to work with such an innovative thought leader in the utilities space,” said Tim Last, vice president and general manager of Iridium’s IoT line of business. “We view this agreement as a ground-breaking opportunity and look forward to further expanding our efforts in this industry by enabling solutions that maximize and build efficiencies across the worldwide power grid.”
Iridium is currently in the process of replacing its existing global low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network with 66 new satellites, known as Iridium NEXT. A network replacement of this scale is unprecedented, and Iridium NEXT has been coined one of the largest “tech refreshes” in history. The first 10 Iridium NEXT satellites were successfully launched by SpaceX on its Falcon 9 rocket on January 14th. On February 23rd, the Company announced that the first Iridium NEXT satellite became operational, providing voice and data services to Iridium’s customers with the existing constellation. Iridium NEXT is backwards compatible with existing devices, meaning it will support the existing services operating on the network throughout the transition to Iridium NEXT.