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Microcontroller will offer safety functions for the same price

07 October, 2014

At next month’s SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Siemens will be unveiling significant additions to its Simatic family of industrial controls, including failsafe versions of its basic S7-1200 controllers which, it says, will be unique in offering safety functions for a similar price to a standard microcontroller.

Among other additions that will make the Simatic portfolio “almost complete” will be:

•  failsafe versions of the ET 200SP distributed controllers;

•  a software controller for PC-based automation that is based on the Simatic S7-1500 platform; and

•  a compact open controller that combines a PC-based software controller, visualisation and centralised I/O in one device.

The new controllers are scalable in performance and functions, with the higher-performance versions building on the functions of the less powerful models. Siemens says that users will benefit from uniform handling as well as a high degree of efficiency in engineering, operation and maintenance. The new controllers will integrate with the TIA Portal (Totally Integrated Automation Portal) engineering framework, thus simplifying engineering, configuration and the use of new functions.

The key aspect of the expanded portfolio is a focus on built-in safety functions using CPUs for failsafe automation. For example, the Simatic S7-1500 controller will be supplemented by four new failsafe CPUs with different performance levels.

For the first time, there will be two failsafe CPUs for Siemens' basic S7-1200 controller – the 1214FC and 1215FC – in addition to a series of failsafe I/O modules.

Items from Siemens' expanded Simatic controller family: the yellow flashes indicate models with built-in safety functions, including the S7-1200 in the foreground

The company will also be showing its first CPUs for modular, failsafe automation based on distributed controllers. It has enhanced the Step 7 Safety Advanced V13 engineering tool with additional failsafe functions, allowing users to create programs for Simatic failsafe controllers using the same engineering and operating concepts for both standard and safety-related tasks.

Another first is that the Simatic portfolio now includes PC-based automation. The CPU 1507S software controller is based on the Simatic S7-1500 series and operates independently of Windows, thus offering a high level of availability. Siemens says that this will allow fast controller ramp-ups, for example, and make it possible to carry out Windows updates and rebooting while the control system is running.

The combination of a PC-based controller and high-level programming is said to be particularly suitable for special-purpose machinery. Programs for the new software-based controller are compatible with standard Simatic S7-1500 controllers. The software incorporates functions for positioning axes, access protection and interfaces to Profibus and Profinet.

The compact new Simatic ET 200SP distributed open controller is suitable for series manufacturing of machines. It combines the functions of a PC-based software controller with visualisation, Windows applications and central I/O in one compact device. The controller can be expanded flexibly using standard ET 200SP modules and is optimised for machines with distributed architectures.

Siemens’ new controller offering is rounded off with the Siplus S7-1518 – the company’s most powerful CPU yet for extreme ambient conditions. It has the same performance characteristics as the corresponding high-end CPU from the Advanced Controller series, but can be operated at altitudes from 1km below sea level to 5km above. The controller can also be used in aggressive environments such as salt spray, as well as being resistant to corrosive gas atmospheres caused by chemically, biologically and mechanically active substances.

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