Increase production performance with controller innovations

11 November 2022

Besides an always increasing demand on production output, digitalisation also requires an increasing amount of standardised communication and more focus on security. To meet these demands and to remain competitive, new solutions based on innovative hardware, are needed, argues Andreas Czech.

Higher processing performance and production output, more memory for automation projects, and improved security concepts are just a few of the benefits from Siemens controller innovations.

The central processing units (CPUs) are the heart of the SIMATIC S7-1500 controller. They execute the user program and network the controller with other automation components. Thanks to continuous innovations, the CPUs of the SIMATIC S7-1500 deliver maximum productivity and efficiency. From standard to fail-safe to technology, a wide range of requirements can be addressed. The right controller is available for every requirement. 

In 2023 the SIMATIC S7-1500 controller will have been on the market for a decade. In the course of the new TIA Portal V18, a large part of the CPU portfolio is getting new hardware that offers customers even more advantages. 

The main difference from the old hardware is that a processor developed in-house, based on a two-core architecture will be installed. This separation of user program and diagnosis and communication makes the program processing more deterministic as before. At the same time, having a separate core for communication increases its performance. The display firmware is now fully integrated into the CPU firmware, this makes maintenance much easier. The new hardware of the SIMATIC S7-1500 CPUs does not just add more performance, it also offers users 100 percent more programming memory and 50 percent more data memory. And the old and new hardware is spare-part compatible: If one of today's CPUs have to be replaced in the future, the customer will get the CPU with a new hardware and can continue to use the memory card with STEP 7 project from the old CPU in the new one.

Making selection easier
So far there have been fine gradations in the performance of the individual CPUs for small to very large applications. The CPUs with the new hardware are divided into two performance levels, a small and a middle level. The CPUs within each level are all equally fast, and in contrast to their predecessor models, performance increases of up to 400% are feasible. The division into performance levels makes it easier for the customer to choose the right controller for their application. If users are unsure how large their program memory needs to be, the application can be programmed in TIA Portal in advance and the required memory will be calculated; this will define the kind of CPU that’s needed. 

The increase in communication performance compared with previous CPU models depends on the specific application. For Open User Communication (OUC) the performance can be increased by 130%. With the Ethernet-based standard OPC UA, the increase is 60%. The quantity structure within the two performance levels has also been harmonised in the course of the new hardware, and the CPUs can now be operated in an ambient temperature from a minimum of -30°C up to a maximum of +60°C. This makes it even easier for customers to select the right controller, because they can now be used in even more applications.

Extended functionalities
Unplanned machine, plant or infrastructure downtime must be avoided, as they can cause production outages, product damage, severe accidents, data loss or even loss of lifes. Tailored redundancy solutions ensure a better efficiency with no extra programming and a better productivity and quality with no stop of the plant. Customers become more sustainable as less waste is generated. With all these advantages customers can get a better image and a higher reputation. 

The new firmware V3.0 enable PROFINET system redundancy R1 in existing S7-1500H controllers. With the S2 system redundancy previously in use, one interface module of an ET 200 device was connected to both controllers, and if there was a failure with this interface module, processes could no longer continue to run. With R1, the ET 200SP system gets the possibility to connect two redundant interface modules with S7-1500H controllers that can take over from each other. This results in greater robustness in the event of component failure and ensures higher system availability. Another big advantage of R1 is that redundant networks can be used and so processes can continue to run even in the event of a complete network failure.

The new TIA Portal version also offers extended OPC UA functionalities for SIMATIC S7-1500, for example OPC UA diagnostics. This new function allows customers to retrieve status and diagnostic information of the own OPC UA server from within the user program. This allows for fast reactions in the user program and ensures or even improves plant availability. Another new functionality in TIA Portal V18 allows customers to write the source timestamp themselves from within their own program. Furthermore, the quantity structures for CPUs with new hardware have been increased, and a larger number of OPC UA nodes can now be created in user-defined server interfaces.

Enhancing the portfolio
In addition to the innovative hardware of 18 existing CPUs, a completely new CPU variant will also be available beginning at the end of this year: the ET 200SP CPU 1514SP (F/T/TF) with failsafe and motion functionalities. It will extend the two existing central processing units CPU 1510SP(F) and CPU 1512SP(F) by a faster version with more memory and a second PROFINET IO interface. This allows to realise a network separation and to use one interface for the automation cell and the other for the IT connection. In addition to these advantages, the compact design of the ET 200SP is still retained, and there will also be a fail-safe variant of the CPU and two variants with integrated motion-control functionalities and optional with fail-safe.

A look into the future
Regardless of the application, Siemens makes an important contribution to the productivity of its customers with powerful and reliable control systems – and we will continue to advance the development of our control technology. In addition to the innovations already described for TIA Portal V18 and the firmware version 3.0, the compact CPUs and the SIMATIC ET 200pro controllers will also receive comprehensive upgrades in a next step.

Looking even farther into the future, our vision is the virtualisation of a controller, which allows the decoupling of hardware and software. The result: The software will run on computers in the factory with industrial edge computing, while the hardware remains in the shop floor. The many advantages of a virtual controller are obvious, including the use of existing hardware and the easy installation of software updates. In the future the world of hardware will not disappear, but it will be supplemented by the myriad new options in the virtual world.

For further information go to:

Andreas Czech is marketing manager, SIMATIC at Siemens.

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