25 Jul 2024


New-generation controls mark ‘a huge step in performance’

Siemens believes that its new generation of industrial controllers and automation software could boost its share of the UK industrial controls market by about 10%. The S7-1500 PLCs, and version 12 of Siemens’ TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) Portal software, which made their debuts at the recent SPS/IPC/Drives show in Germany, are now available in the UK.

Simon Keogh (above), head of Siemens’ automation business in the UK, says that the new ranges represent “a huge step in performance”. He describes the Simatic S7-1500 as “a controller family for the next generation of medium to high-end machine and plant automation”.

The S7-1500 uses a fast backplane bus and offers terminal-to-terminal response times of less than 500µs as well as command times that can be less than 10ns. Built-in motion control functions allow analogue and Profidrive-compatible drives (including those from third parties) to be connected without needing extra modules. The controllers can handle up to 16 axes, depending on the CPU. PLCopen-compatible blocks simplify the connection of Profidrive-compatible drives.

In the wake of the Stuxnet malware which targeted vulnerabilities in earlier Siemens controllers, the company has implemented tough security measures in the new range. These include functions that protect against unauthorised access and modification. Memory cards with individual blocks linked to the serial numbers of the original card ensure that programs run only with the configured card and cannot be copied.

One example of the thought that has gone into the design of the new controllers is that each module carries a QR 2D code which users can scan with a smartphone to download appropriate manuals and other documentation.

The new controllers are being launched in phases. Initially, the portfolio consists of three medium-performance CPUs, each also available in a failsafe version. The PLCs differ in the number of interfaces, bit performance and the size of their displays and data memory. Up to 32 expansion modules can be added for functions such as communications and I/O.


The new version of the TIA Portal engineering environment is the first to integrate drives. The Sinamics Startdrive V12 tool parameterises Sinamics G drives and puts them into service. The drives are also integrated automatically into the system diagnostics.

V12 of TIA Portal V12 also supports the S7-1500’s motion functions, allowing non-synchronised motion processes to be programmed and tested. Absolute and relative positioning, referencing, speed specification and absolute encoders are also supported.

Security is another highlight of the new TIA Portal with functions that provide enhanced security against third-party manipulation such as replay attacks, as well as improved copy and access security.

The software also integrates the safety engineering of Siemens’ Simatic S7 controllers, including the Simatic S7-1500 devices.

According to Keogh, the new version of TIA Portal will allow users “to perform automation and drive tasks quickly and intuitively”. With the addition of the drives functions, the main gaps left to fill in TIA Portal’s armoury are process control and hot standby functions.