The next generation of the TIA Portal engineering framework

02 April 2013

When Siemens introduced the TIA Portal in 2010, it was described as being ‘its next evolutionary step’ in terms of totally integrated automation’. At a recent London press event, Simon Keogh, business manager – Factory Automation at Siemens Industry, explained more about the technology...

“The TIA Portal unites the engineering, commissioning and maintenance tasks into a common framework. The first development phase of the framework focused on the integration of PLCs and visualisation. Already we have over 18,000 customers globally across all industry sectors, who have realised instances of between 30 and 40% savings in engineering time when using the TIA Portal.”
Siemens has recently expanded the dimensions of its TIA Portal, with the introduction at the SPS/IPC/Drives 2012 event of Version 12, which has aimed to bring greater performance and efficiency to the technology. “In particular, there have been two key developments,” said Keogh. “The first is the seamless integration of drive technology, incorporating more of the automation landscape into the engineering framework. We have now combined Simatic automation technology and Sinamics drive technology, which enables drive solutions to be engineered within the framework and gaining from the benefit of a uniform look and feel and system-wide diagnostic capabilities.

With the introduction of a new generation of controllers– the Simatic S7 1500 PLC –for mid to large end automation applications, the e TIA Portal is now central to the company’s entire innovation strategy.

“Version 12 of the TIA Portal has made big advances in terms of usability of engineering software and, together with the new hardware innovation of the Simatic S7 1500, we are taking a huge step forwards in terms of performance,” said Keogh.

He continues: “We have now realised the integration of our automation components with our drives technology. With graphical interfaces it is possible now to parameterize and commission the drives and, using graphical objects within the controllers it is possible to handle all the speed control and positioning of axis directly through the controller. This has simplified drives and motion integration.”

The ability to reuse code from, for example, a micro programmable directly into a mid to large end controller can also offer huge time-savings. “With TIA Portal, existing code can be taken from other controllers can reused in the new hardware platforms too. It is also possible to take visualisation screens and tags and reuse them 100%. All of these elements help to further reduce overall engineering time,” explained Keogh.

Normally there will be considerable overheads to handling and engineering diagnostics. However, Keogh explained that this not the case TIA Portable and the S7 1500. “It is now simply a case of checking the diagnostics box. The user can decide how much and what to turn on, making it possible to have a full diagnostic suite from a single click.” The ability to rapidly localise faults, providing a depth of clear information and also with hardware technology designed for quick rectification of problems is fundamental to improving overall plant availability.

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