Siemens Industry Automation division is launching the Simatic S7-1500 PLC, describing it as the next-generation controller family for medium to high-end machine and plant automation. The controllers are said to be characterised by high performance and efficiency. Features include outstanding system performance and a host of functions that are integrated as standard, such as motion control, security, safety and diagnostics. Users should be able to make substantial efficiency improvements in terms of engineering time, commissioning and maintenance. In particular, the Simatic S7-1500 can take full advantage of the new features in the Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) Portal version 12.
Simatic S7-1500 controllers are being launched in stages. Initially, the portfolio will comprise three CPU types 1511, 1513 and 1516 for the medium-performance range, with each also being available as an F-version (fail safe version) for safety-related applications. These three models differ in the number of interfaces, bit performance and the size of the display and data memory. According to the individual automation task, the CPUs in the central configuration can be supplemented with as many as 32 expansion modules as with the existing Simatic ET 200MP.
Simon Keogh of Siemens Industry comments: "With the launch of the Simatic S7-1500, we are introducing a controller family for the next generation of medium to high-end machine and plant automation. The controllers offer greater efficiency thanks to the innovative design for simple commissioning and safe operation. Importantly, integration into the TIA Portal enables simple engineering and low project costs."
System performance: The high performance with fast signal processing permits extremely short response times and a high quality of control. To this end, the Simatic S7-1500 has a fast backplane bus with a high baud rate and efficient transmission protocol. The response time from terminal to terminal is less than 500 microseconds and the command time in the case of bit instructions, depending on the CPU, is faster than ten nanoseconds. The CPU 1511 and CPU 1513 controllers are equipped with two Profinet interfaces and the CPU 1516 controller has three: two for communication with the field level and the third for the integration into the corporate network. Profinet IO IRT permits defined reaction times and high-precision system behaviour. In addition, a web server is integrated for the location-independent querying of system and process data or for diagnostic purposes.
Technology: In the field of technology, the Simatic S7-1500 is also characterised by its integrated motion control functions. These enable analogue and Profidrive-compatible drives to be connected without additional modules, six to 16 supporting speed and positioning axes (depending on the CPU and control functions implemented), as well as encoders. Blocks standardised in accordance with PLCopen simplify the connection of Profidrive-compatible drives. For the effective and fast commissioning of drives and controllers, users can implement trace functions with which programs and motion applications can be diagnosed in real time, enabling the drives to be optimised. A further integrated technology function is PID control, for which easily configurable blocks are available to ensure a high quality of control. The control parameters are tuned automatically.
Security: The Security Integrated concept for Simatic S7-1500 extends from block protection to communication integrity and supports users in safeguarding their applications. Integrated functions protect know-how (for example, against the copying of machines or individual functions), and also help to protect against unauthorised access and modification. For copy protection, the Simatic memory card is used, on which individual blocks are linked to the serial numbers of the original memory card. This should ensure that programs only run with the configured memory card and cannot therefore be copied. Access protection addresses the problem of protecting the application against unauthorised configuration changes. To this end, different user groups can be assigned separate rights by means of authorisation stages. Special mechanisms are geared toward recognising modified engineering data - in order, for example, to protect the data transmitted to the controller from unauthorised manipulation.
Safety: For fail-safe automation, the F-versions of the new controllers benefit from the same engineering and operating concept for the standard and safety-related programs. Users are assisted by the central Safety Administration Editor when defining and modifying safety parameters. For example, graphical support is provided when putting the fail-safe drive technology into service. The new controllers are certified in accordance with EN 61508 for functional safety and are suitable for use in safety-relevant applications up to SIL 3 according to IEC 62061 and PL e according to ISO 13849.
Design and handling: The Simatic S7-1500 has been designed to be very user-friendly, with many innovations in the detail. For example, Simatic controllers have been equipped with a colour display for the first time - with convenient operation and detailed plain text information for full plant transparency. A standardised front connector saves time when wiring and simplifies the storage of spare parts. Integrated potential bridges support the simple and flexible formation of potential groups. Auxiliary components, such as automatic circuit breakers or relays, are mounted quickly and easily onto the integrated DIN rail. The expandable cable storage space enables the front door to be closed easily, even when larger amounts of space are required for the cabling. A prewiring position simplifies the initial wiring and reconnection of terminals. Integrated shielding guarantees the proper shielding of analogue signals. One further positive feature is the scalability: a Simatic S7-1500 CPU can easily be expanded with as many as 32 modules per rack.
System diagnostics: The integrated system diagnostics in Simatic S7-1500 include extensive diagnostic functionality without any additional programming effort. The diagnostics are simply configured instead of being programmed. Furthermore, the display concept has been standardised. Messages, for example from the drives or concerning faults, are shown on the CPU display as plain text information and visualised identically on all devices - in the TIA Portal, at the human machine interface (HMI) and in the web server. The practical and visual 1:1 assignment of terminal and LED labelling also offers advantages for the user, by saving time during commissioning, testing and diagnosis, as well as during operation. Moreover, the channel-discrete display, with which users can quickly detect and accurately assign the corresponding channel, helps in the event of a fault.
Engineering with the TIA Portal: Like all new Siemens automation devices, the new Simatic S7-1500 controller is also integrated into the TIA Portal engineering framework. This offers a standardised operating concept for controller, HMI and drives, shared data storage and automatic data consistency throughout the project, as well as powerful libraries covering all automation objects. The new Version 12 of the TIA Portal is characterised by greater functionality, automatic system diagnostics, integrated safety functionality, powerful Profinet communication, integrated security and optimised programming languages. Thanks to its task-oriented and intuitive editors, the new software is said to be easy to learn and use. It has efficient functions for fast programming, commissioning and service. Special importance has been attached to the reuse of and compatibility with existing projects and software: for example, when switching from the S7-300/400 to the S7-1500, projects can be reused and S7-1200 programs can be transferred to S7-1500 by means of a copy function.
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