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Automatic Generation Control System for an Industrial Facility with Onsite Generation

JJ Dai M. IEEE, Hugo Castro, Jianjun Guo, Tanuj Khandelwal M. IEEE, Shervin Shokooh M. IEEE, Farrokh Shokooh Fellow IEEE Operation Technology, Inc.

Abstract — In a competitive electrical market, an onsite generation facility must be equipped with an on-line automatic generation control (AGC) system to maintain the frequency, security, and economical operation within the plant while honoring the scheduled power exchange with the power grid. A successful AGC system requires support from State and Load Estimation (SLE) and Economical Dispatch (ED) engines, and a Load Frequency Control (LFC) scheme. This paper reports the development and implementation of a comprehensive and fully functional AGC system in an industrial facility that has both onsite generation and connection to the power grid. The installed system has an advanced monitoring system to provide SLE results and is able to perform periodical on-line ED calculation of co-gens based on real-time system operating conditions and tariff with the power grid. The ED results are used as a base for LFC to perform minute-to-minute control actions to achieve overall system economical and stable operation requirements.

Index Terms—Onsite Generation Facility, Automatic Generation Control, State and Load Estimation, Interchange Scheduling, Economical Dispatch, Load Frequency Control, Power Grid Contract, Tariff.



As the system loading changes, the generator’s ability to track the load variation is limited by physical and operational considerations resulting in an imbalance between the actual and the scheduled generation levels. Any imbalance between power generation and consumption will result in a frequency change within the network of the synchronous area. As a result, over time, the system frequency will continue to deviate from its set-point values when left uncorrected. The magnitude of the frequency error is an indication of how well the power system is capable of balancing the system loading. Within a few seconds of breaching the set point dead band, the primary speed control or governor serves to damp out the frequency excursions and to stabilize the frequency at a new value, which is different than the synchronous frequency. At the same time, the system dispatcher may coordinate power exchange between various control areas or the power grid based on hour-ahead, day-ahead or longer term contracts. Any load change within the network or area when left uncorrected

Authors are with Operation Technology, Inc. (OTI), 17 Goodyear, Suite, 100, Irvine, CA 92618, USA (JJ Dai's e-mail: jjd@etap.com).

978-1-4244-3811-2/09/$25.00 ©2009 IEEE

can result in interchange power deviation from scheduled values. The primary control process being unaware of scheduled interchange flows will be unable to compensate for this deviation. Load Frequency Control (LFC) function is then deployed as the secondary control process to maintain the frequency and interchange errors within an acceptable bound. LFC adjusts load reference set points of governors of selected units in the control area and correspondingly adjusts their outputs. Each control area measures the frequency and the net interchange, typically at every 2–4 second intervals. These measurements are used to evaluate the frequency and the net interchange errors. The net interchange error is defined as the difference between the net actual and the net scheduled interchange with the connected control areas. Schedules are available and tracked using an Interchange Scheduling (IS) application. The area control error (ACE) is then computed by taking into account the effects of frequency bias; it is the basis for the control signals sent by the control area to the generators participating in AGC. Another major operating criterion is to minimize frequency and interchange errors while minimizing the total cost of electric production, transmission, and distribution. Economic Dispatch (ED) optimizes the available mix of generation resources and, as a result, maximizes the use of low cost sources of electricity, while recognizing any operational limits. Even though ED and LFC have different time horizons, they are not independent. ED transfers optimal unit base points and economic participation factors to LFC. This interaction between LFC and ED is aimed at minimizing the fuel cost, while reducing the area control error (ACE) and the number of unit control actions. The AGC system discussed consists of ED and LFC algorithms. This paper describes the development and implementation of a state-of-the-art AGC system that utilizes a data acquisition system which continuously updates a computer based real-time system model. This system produces the optimum solution for generation dispatch by combining output from Economic Dispatch, Interchange Scheduling and Load Frequency Control illustrated in Fig. 1.



IEEE PES 2009 PSCE 2 Fig. 1. AGC System Data Flow II. AGC S YSTEM R

Fig. 1. AGC System Data Flow


The inputs required by the AGC system include real-time data and network topology. System data is collected from the data acquisition system. This real-time data includes power frequency, and voltage measurements at each generation, power grid, interchange locations, main feeders, and critical loads. In addition, switching device (circuit breakers, switches, etc.) states are monitored throughout the system to provide the latest system configuration status. The other important parameters are the system topology and electrical data. System topology and electrical data include: A) Interconnection information for all generators, feeders, and loads. B) Ratings and settings for all components involved, such as tap settings for transformers, operating mode of generators (droop, Isochronous), line/cable types, configuration, impedance, and capacity. C) Metering instrumentation including potential and current transformers.


The AGC system components consist of SLE, IS, ED, and LFC. Real-Time data and system topology are fed to the State and Load Estimation (SLE). SLE estimates the rest of the missing parameters such as non-monitored power flows in less critical feeders, consumption for loads, voltage levels at every connection point in the system. The results are then fed to the ED module as initial conditions. The ED takes the generator heat rate curves to determine the efficiency of the unit with respect to the generated output power. It also utilizes the fuel cost per unit and the power exchange contract as defined through IS application. ED then determines the optimum (most economic) generator outputs which is fed to the Load LFC system. LFC utilizes the ED outputs as the base settings and corrects them for ACE reduction where the final output is sent to the generator control systems. The voltage set points are fed to the AVR control and respectively. All of the above information must be made available to the system dispatcher in a real-time, easy-to-use, concise, and

understandable interface. This interface, which will be used to operate and coordinate the system, must be graphical and tabular with the means to visualize the electrical distribution via the system one-line diagram. The user interface must also provide a summary of generation, loading, frequency, and set- points for all participating units.


To perform generation fuel cost economical dispatch, system operating states need to be determined first. These states include system configurations, operating loads, non- controllable variables and their settings (for example, transformer fixed taps, power grid operating voltage levels, fixed generation active and reactive powers, fixed capacitor bank var ratings, etc.). System configurations can be determined by monitoring circuit-breaker and switch status. Non-controllable variable settings are also readily available. Given the vast number of loads in a typical industrial system, it is infeasible to have meter reading at every load point. Hence, a special estimation method has to be utilized in order to attain essential data and calculate the missing information to ensure that the system is observable. The traditional state estimation methods (based on least squares minimization method) only estimate bus voltages (both magnitudes and phase angles). Since this method demands a relatively high meter redundancy ( roughly defined as the ratio of metering points to the number of buses in the system) and is incapable of handling large numbers of unmeasured loads, it is virtually inapplicable to industrial power systems. The new method expands the system states to include loads. Thus, using the available measurement data (generation, power grid exchange, line flows, bus voltages and partially measured loads), the system operating voltages and loads will be estimated collectively. This method is called State and Load Estimation. Equation (1) shows the objective function for SLE:


where is a variable constrained by the load flow equation at the point corresponding to each measurement . is the function of bus voltage and load . Metering point is from 1 to . Apply network equation, measurement data set , and an appropriate optimization algorithm to equation (1), bus voltage v and all system loads l will be solved. The one-line diagram in Fig. 2 shows a substation at an industrial facility where typically only the main feeders are metered. Assuming that the network model, topological relationships, and electrical parameters are properly defined, the loading at each load can be estimated according to the equation (1) through a specially developed optimization algorithm.




IEEE PES 2009 PSCE 3 Fig. 2. Example of SLE in a Substation with Partially Measured

Fig. 2. Example of SLE in a Substation with Partially Measured Loads.

SLE usually runs in a time interval of 1 to 5 seconds, depending on nature of system transients. In certain types of industries, such as smelting plants, where system loading is changed erratically, a smaller time step between consecutive SLE runs should be used to capture the load variations. Whereas in industrial plants with gradual loading variation, allows for a use of a larger time step between the SLE runs. The SLE result defines a complete system operating state which in turn is used by the ED engine.


In a competitive power market, industrial power systems with onsite generation are allowed to participate to a certain extent in the market operation depending on the regulations in the regional and national administrations. To bring in the highest incentive as possible to its system, an industrial power system would schedule a power exchange transaction with the power grid based on its onsite generation cost and the published energy price. The schedule specifies the location(s) of the transaction, type of the transaction (buy or sell), and cost of the transaction (tariff or rate structure), as well as the duration of the schedule. The exchange schedule is dispatched via the IS system. IS provides the capability to schedule energy transfer from one location to another while considering energy usage, wheeling, scheduling ancillary services, fuel cost, and financial tracking of energy transactions. Fig. 3 illustrates a simplified data flow for an IS system.

Fig. 3 illustrates a simplified data flow for an IS system. Fig. 3. Interchange Scheduling System

Fig. 3. Interchange Scheduling System Data Flow


Typical ED deals with a system containing MW controllable generators to achieve a solution with a minimal overall generation fuel cost objective:


subject to:



power generation from the

generator, the fuel cost function of the generator, the number of generators on MW control, the system state variable, the control variable, and the number of control variables. Equation (3) is load flow equation, and equation (4) is the control variable range limits. To ensure ED solution is physically feasible, steady-state security constraints should be applied to the optimization problem:


where y is the constrained variable, usually line flow and bus voltage magnitude, and is the number of constrained variables. In an industrial power system, the network is normally connected to one or several power grids at a common point referred to as the point of common coupling (PCC). Under such condition, ED optimization objective needs to be expanded to include the energy cost (power importing per unit of time) through the PCC boundary into the system:


where is the active

, 0



, ( 1,



, ( 1,



where is the power exchange at the PCC, the per unit energy price at the PCC, and the number of PCC. Note that can be bilateral, taking a positive value when 0

(importing- power) and a negative value when 0 (exporting). Fig. 4 depicts the model of a facility with onsite generation exchanging power with the power grid. Once the power exchange schedule is committed via the IS system, the party initiating the transaction (in this case, the industrial facility with onsite generation selling power to the connected power grid) has to honor the contract. In this case, the ED calculation is extended to the following constrained optimization problem:

, 0


( 1, … , )



, , ( 1, … , ) (10)


where equation is added to count for the specified schedule at



( 1,



power exchange lines with the scheduled power exchange at a total of exchange lines.



IEEE PES 2009 PSCE 4 Fig. 4. A Model of Industrial Power System with Onsite Generation

Fig. 4. A Model of Industrial Power System with Onsite Generation & Power Grid Contract.

The ED calculation engine is periodically called by AGC either at a pre-specified time or whenever the special events are trigged such as changes in the schedules, variations in fuel cost, generator tripping, or major configuration changes. At each execution, the most recent SLE result is used in the load flow equation (9) and the schedules are applied as line equality constraints in equation (8). The result is taken into the minimization problem of equation (7) which is solved simultaneously with other inequality constraints due to control range limits from equation (10) and steady state security limits from equation (11). In this process, schedules on the interchange lines are honored, steady state security constraints are met, and all control variables are within their limitation ranges. The results from ED are the new power generation dispatch set points. The set points are also utilized by LFC to select a new base for the minute-to-minute generation control. A functional flow chart for SLE and ED is presented in Fig. 5.

Do SLE? No Yes

Formulate State

Estimation Model

Fig. 5. Do SLE? No Yes Formulate State Estimation Model Solve SLE Problem Eq. (2) Meter

Solve SLE Problem Eq. (2)

Formulate State Estimation Model Solve SLE Problem Eq. (2) Meter Data Do ED? No Yes Solve
Formulate State Estimation Model Solve SLE Problem Eq. (2) Meter Data Do ED? No Yes Solve

Meter Data

Do ED? No
Do ED?
Model Solve SLE Problem Eq. (2) Meter Data Do ED? No Yes Solve ED Problem Eqs.


Solve ED Problem Eqs. (7) to (11)

Meter Data Do ED? No Yes Solve ED Problem Eqs. (7) to (11) Load Flow Equation,

Load Flow Equation, Controls, Constraints

Set New Pg Base for LFC

Fig. 5. Functional Flow Chart of SLE and ED.


Load frequency control (LFC) has to achieve two primary objectives, which are stated below in priority order:

1. Maintain frequency at the scheduled value

2. Maintain net power interchanges with neighboring control areas at the scheduled values

3. Match generation to load

The first and second objectives are met by monitoring an error signal, called area control error (ACE), which is a combination of net interchange error and frequency error and represents the power imbalance between generation and load at any instant. Real-time measurements are used to calculate ACE for each defined area under various modes. In tie-line bias control, ACE is calculated as:

ACE 10


In flat tie-line flow control:



In flat frequency control:

ACE 10


where is the actual frequency, is the actual net interchange; is the scheduled frequency of the subsystem, is the scheduled net interchange of the area, is the frequency bias. This raw ACE must be filtered or smoothed such that excessive and random changes in its value are not translated into control actions. Since these excessive changes are different for different systems or subsystems, the filtered parameters have to be tuned specifically for each control area. The processed ACE is then used to obtain the proportional plus integral control signal. This control signal is modified by limiters, dead-bands, and gain constants that are tuned to the particular system. This control signal is then divided amongst controllable generating units by using participation factors to obtain unit control errors (UCE). The strategy of ACE provides a steady-state target according to which a control area meets its own load during normal conditions in the interconnection, contributes to frequency regulation, and provides assistance to external areas when necessary. If there is an over generation in any area, actual frequency will be higher than scheduled value and ACE

will be positive in that area. Intuitively, the action to be taken will be to reduce area generation. On the other hand, if there is under-generation in any area, actual frequency will be lower

than the scheduled value and ACE will be negative in that area. The obvious solution will be to increase area generation. On February 1, 1997 the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) replaced Control Performance Criteria (CPC) with Control Performance Standard (CPS). The LFC function in addition to calculating ACE also utilizes CPS oriented logics. CPS1: Whenever a control area has a nonzero ACE and there is a frequency deviation at the same time, a non zero compliance factor (CF) is created. A positive CF means the control area is acting as a burden to the interconnection and vice versa. A CF value is calculated every clock-minute using



one-minute average frequency error and ACE. At the end of each month, the overall average CF for the past twelve months is used to derive the area's CPS1 compliance which must have no less than 100% compliance. CPS2: This standard requires the average ACE for each of the six ten-minute periods in an hour must be within a specific limit called L 10 and have compliance no less than 90%. A two-layer control scheme was adopted for the LFC function to satisfy NERC standards. The following diagram (Fig. 6) shows the overall control structure deployed for this industrial facility. CPS2, CPS1 control outputs have the same formula:

ΔMW K ACE K ∑ CT/60 ACE (15)

where CT is the LFC calculation cycle time, ACE is the current calculated ACE. Defining the 10-minute moving average ACE as , the LFC function will take action only when and both break the threshold and 0. The graphical-user interface allows system integrators to adjust the threshold to satisfy control objectives.

to adjust the threshold to satisfy control objectives. Fig. 6. Overall Control Structure. Fig. 7 provides

Fig. 6. Overall Control Structure.

Fig. 7 provides a simplified illustration of the control scheme. When ACE goes from point A to point B, the ACE and its integration is set to 0. The generator set point is reset and kept constant until new ACE value breaks the control standards or new base ratings set by ED. When ACE goes from point A to point C directly, ACE is reset to ACE at point C. But the integration of ACE will start from 0 again.

C. But the integration of ACE will start from 0 again. Fig. 7. Control Scheme Illustration.

Fig. 7. Control Scheme Illustration.

Control outputs can be distributed to regulating generators according to the ramping rate, generation margin, and fixed participation factors respectively. The total adjusting power:


Ramping Rate Approach:

Margin Approach:



The generator set points can be also be distributed amongst generators proportional to the nameplate rating of the machines. Operators can choose to share the real power or reactive power. Reactive power sharing is according to set points from ED or manual control while real power sharing is according to their operating base settings.


A. Auto Switch Area Control Mode The system has been implemented in a large cement facility. The facility consists of two plants located 32 kilometers apart. The plants are tied together through a transmission line and are connected to the power grid at a single PCC. Plant 1 has a total of three steam turbine generators, two rated at 18MW and the other rated at 6 MW. At Plant 2, there are three steam turbine generators rated at 18MW each. In order to implement AGC, the system was divided into two control areas; Plant 1 and Plant 2 were assigned to Area 1 and the power grid as Area 2. Fig. 8 is a simplified overview of the network:

Area 1 and the power grid as Area 2. Fig. 8 is a simplified overview of

Fig. 8. Simplified System Overview.



The system operates in two different modes; 1) In parallel with the power grid and 2) Islanded from the power grid. One of the main requirements of the AGC system was to operate in both operating modes. When connected to the power grid, the maximum import from the grid is 3 MW, and the maximum export is 12 MW according to the power exchange contract. The main reason this facility exports power to the power grid is to wheel power to another location (Plant 3 – not shown in Fig. 10) almost 100 kilometers away. The AGC system must monitor the required power at Plant 3 and set the export power from Plants 1 and 2 equal to the operating load of Plant 3 plus the system losses. The facility imports power when any of the generation units is down. The loading in the facility is approximately 90% of the capacity of the generators. Hence, if any of the generators is down, then there is not enough generation to maintain the process requiring power import from the power grid. In addition to the main system generators, there are a total of eight diesel generators used for cold start only. These generators do not play a major factor on AGC and therefore are excluded from the AGC scope.

B. Data Acquisition System Network Prior to the implementation of the AGC system at the facility, the plants were monitored through digital relaying, metering and other intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) which were not networked together. Therefore, the first task was to establish a communication network amongst the various plants. IEDs were networked via Modbus Ethernet and connected to a central OPC Server. The AGC Software was then connected to the OPC Server for data acquisition and processing. The required switching device statuses were collected by four PLCs (two at each plant) including the main feeders and tie circuit breakers. This allowed for the AGC system to determine which generators are operating parallel or islanded from the grid.

C.State and Load Estimation The system visibility study was performed at the early stages of the project to evaluate if sufficient metering points were available throughout the network for SLE calculations. SLE result was validated by running load flow simulation and comparing them to actual measured data.

D.Automatic Generation Control System

When the plants operate in parallel to the power grid the AGC system must:

1. Determine the output of each generator based on economic constraints.

2. Honor the exchange schedules with the power grid.

When the plants are islanded from the power grid the AGC system must:

1. Maintain the system frequency close to 50 Hz.

2. Determine the output of each generator based on economic constraints.

Given the above requirements the AGC system was set up to operate in an auto-switching mode. Under this mode AGC would monitor both plants and determine whether or not they are connected to the grid.


Before the implementation of the AGC system, in order to make the tie-line active power conform to the schedule, the control center dispatcher had to communicate with the operators of the power plants by telephone. Moreover, the existing manual adjustment could not trace the changes of the different operation modes thus a large number of control errors were observed for tie-line flows with no way to control the cost of the dispatch between the generator units. The AGC system which was implemented at the facility had the necessary control capabilities to regulate the system frequency and tie-line flow on an economical basis as described below:

A. Auto Switch Area Control Mode Amongst the many advantages of the implemented AGC system is its ability to recognize changes in network topology in real-time using a one-line diagram. This added capability allows the system to determine when an area under AGC is completely isolated from the rest of the network. AGC controls for each area are automatically switched from flat tie- line flow control mode (equation 13) to flat frequency control mode (equation 14) when the area islands from the rest of the network.

B. Multi-Console AGC Control The facility utilizes a Power Management System (PMS) with a distributed client-server architecture. The active PMS Server tracks and controls the addition of consoles to the PMS network. After the console is online, the active PMS Server controls the operation of the console. It is the server’s objective to maintain an active primary console, an active AGC console along with other active consoles for each of the online modules. Active console control allows an active module like AGC to migrate from one console to another. The AGC system also handles consistency of project and operational data throughout the PMS. Operational consistency addresses the following issues:

Data Mirroring – this provides the data distribution framework that allows for rapid switching between one PMS Server and another. It also provides data distribution of project and operational data to allow various online functionalities to be moved from one console to another. Project/Operating Data Consistency – this provides the basis for changing the project database and associated operational data without the necessity of interrupting the entire complex to reload the project database.

C.AGC View An AGC view (as shown in Fig. 9) automatically displays the real-time operating data while calculating the data from the AGC/ED calculations. The view automatically detects the areas and the subsystems (isolated networks) in order to



prepare a hierarchical list of generators and interchanges in each area and/or subsystem.

generators and interchanges in each area and/or subsystem. Fig. 9. AGC View. Alarms and warnings are

Fig. 9. AGC View.

Alarms and warnings are displayed when frequency, operating reserves, etc. is outside operator-defined limits. The view also allows the operator to monitor and change generator control modes as well as perform time error corrections.

D. Generator Control Modes

Ten generator control modes were provided with pre- defined logics such that the system dispatcher can quickly switch any unit from one control mode to another based on the state of the system. Offline and Fault control modes are automatically determined based on network topology, Manual Base and Test modes are the manual generator control modes while the remaining modes are used for automatic generation controls that depend upon the calculated ACE.

generation controls that depend upon the calculated ACE. Fig. 10. Generator Control Modes. E. User-Configurable

Fig. 10. Generator Control Modes.

E. User-Configurable Solution Parameters

The AGC system is user-configurable and customizable for any other system with the help of a study case editor (Fig. 11). The AGC study case editor contains solution control variables, area definitions and settings, generator participation factors, and a variety of options for power flow constraints and alerts. The PMS allows the operator or system integrator to create and save unlimited number of study cases. The AGC calculations are conducted and reported in accordance with the settings of the active study case. The operator or dispatcher

can switch between study cases without resetting the options each time.

between study cases without resetting the options each time. (a) MW Control Setting. (b) Line Exchange

(a) MW Control Setting.

resetting the options each time. (a) MW Control Setting. (b) Line Exchange Setting. Fig. 11. AGC

(b) Line Exchange Setting.

Fig. 11. AGC Study Case Editor and Settings.



This paper describes an automatic generation control system suitable for industrial facilities with onsite generation. This AGC system is capable of handling multiple control sub- areas within a given facility as well as control areas between the facility and the connected power grids. An advanced online state and load estimation algorithm is applied to determine the non-metered load while calculating the system operating parameters based on real-time data. Based on the SLE results, onsite generation fuel cost together with the power exchange tariff between the power grid are minimized for economical generation dispatch at each control area while considering the constraints imposed by interchange schedules between the facility and the connected power grids. This process is preformed and updated for pre-scheduled tasks or for major system changes. In addition to the economical generation dispatch, the load frequency control module calculates and monitors the area exchange error to provide minute-to-minute generation adjustments as required. The AGC system described has been installed in industrial facilities and provided economical incentives with improved operational security to the facility owners.





and Control, Wiley, John & Sons, 1996. [2] Yong-Hua Song, Xi-Fan Wang (Eds.), Operation of Market-Oriented Power Systems, Springer, 2003. [3] North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) "Plicy 1 - Generation Control and Performance", in Operating Manual, Dec. 1996. [4] IEEE Recommended Definitions of Terms for Automatic Generation

Control on Electric Power Systems By IEEE Standards Board, IEEE Power Engineering Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Power System Engineering Committee Published by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 1991. Alan Elliott Guile, William Paterson, B.Sc., Electrical Power Systems, Pergamon Press, 1977.


Allen J. Wood and Bruce F. Wollenberg, Power Generation, Operation,


JJ Dai, PhD, PE

JJ Dai is Vice President, Advanced Technologies for Operation Technology,

Inc., and President of OTI-Far East. Dr. Dai is a member of IEEE, the chairman of the Power System Analysis Subcommittee of IEEE Industrial

Applications Society (IAS), a chapter chairman of the IEEE Brown Book, and

a past chairman of the Harmonic Task Force of IAS. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of California.

Hugo Castro, B.S. Hugo Castro is a Senior Electrical Engineer for Operation Technology, Inc. He is a member of IEEE, Power Electronics Society, Tau Beta Pi (US National Honors Society) and a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

Jianjun Guo, PhD Dr. Jianjun Guo is a Senior Electrical Engineer for Operation Technology, Inc. He received his PhD in Electrical Engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri.

Tanuj Khandelwal, M.S. Tanuj Khandelwal is a Project Manager and Senior Electrical Engineer for Operation Technology, Inc. Mr. Khandelwal is an active member of IEEE Standards Association and IEEE subcommittees and working groups.

Farrokh Shokooh, PhD, PE Farrokh Shokooh is President & CEO of Operation Technology, Inc. Dr. Shokooh is a Fellow member of IEEE and is an active member of the IEEE subcommittees and working groups. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of California.

Shervin Shokooh, M.S., MBA, PE Shervin Shokooh is Vice President of Engineering Consulting and Senior Principal Electrical Engineer for Operation Technology, Inc. Mr. Shokooh is a member of IEEE and a registered Professional Engineer in the state of California.

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