23 Jul 2024


New-generation controls incorporate motion, safety and security functions

At the recent SPS/IPC/Drives show in Germany, Siemens announced a new generation of controllers that will eventually supersede most of its mid-range S7-300 and high-end S7-400 PLCs. Motion control, safety and security functions are provided as standard in the new Simatic S7-1500 controllers, with motion data being sent to servodrives via Profinet, using the Profidrive protocol.

Siemens also unveiled a new version of its TIA Portal engineering environment that not only supports the new controllers, but also integrates drives engineering for the first time. The Portal’s Startdrive tool can be used to commission and configure Sinamics G120 drives, as well as providing diagnostics and trace functions to optimise motion sequences and minimise downtime.

Michael Franke, CEO of Siemens’ Drive Technologies Division regards this development as vital. “All-embracing efficiency in the digital engineering of plants can only ever be achieved once we have realised the seamless integration of drive technology,” he said at the Nuremberg show. “With the TIA Portal, this capability is now in place – setting us clearly apart from our competitors in terms of integration.”

The new Simatic controllers (above) incorporate a fast backplane bus with a high baud rate. Response times from terminal to terminal are less than 500µs, and the command time, in the case of bit instructions, can be faster than 10ns, depending on the CPU. The controllers have built-in Profinet interfaces and Web servers.

For the first time on a Simatic controller, the new CPUs have built-in displays showing plain-text information. Auxiliary components, such as automatic circuit breakers and relays, can be mounted on an integrated DIN rail.

The built-in motion controls allow analogue and Profidrive-compatible drives to be connected without needing extra hardware. They support PLCopen function blocks, and provide trace functions for diagnosing motion applications in real time. Configurable PID control is also built in.

Integrated security functions, including block protection and communications integrity monitoring, will help to protect against unauthorised access and modification.

System diagnostics are provided without needing any additional programming. The diagnosis is configured instead of being programmed. Fault information or messages from connected drives, are shown on the built-in display.

The new version of TIA Portal will help users to migrate from earlier Simatic controllers to the new models. For example, when switching from S7-300/400 to S7-1500, projects can be re-used, while S7-1200 programs can be transferred to S7-1500 using a copy function.

TIA Portal offers a standardised way of dealing with controllers, HMI and drives. It provides shared data storage and as well as powerful libraries covering all automation objects.

The new controllers are being launched in stages. Initially, the portfolio will comprise the three mid-range CPUs, each also available in failsafe versions for safety applications. They differ in the number of interfaces, bit performance and the size of the display and data memory. They can be supplemented by up to 32 expansion modules, such as I/O and comms, in the same format as Siemens’ Simatic ET 200MP range.

To complement the new CPUs, Siemens is launching a series of ancillary products, including communications processors, fast cabling systems and power supplies.