More flexible, software-based automation

More flexible, software-based automation

Siemens introduces for the first time a completely virtual controller (Programmable Logic Controller, PLC). The Simatic S7-1500V expands the existing Simatic portfolio and covers special market requirements such as virtual hosting of PLC computing.

In the future, both hardware controllers and virtual PLC will thus be part of the product range. The new Simatic S7-1500V is part of Industrial Operations X, a steadily growing, interoperable portfolio tailored to production engineering, execution, and optimization, with which Siemens is expanding its portfolio spectrum on Siemens Xcelerator - the open, digital business platform. With Industrial Operations X, Siemens is consistently bringing IT and software capabilities to automation, accelerating the move from automated to highly adaptive production. After all, volatile markets, the shortage of skilled workers and increasing resource scarcity require industrial companies to make their automated production more flexible.

User benefits of the virtual PLC

The new virtual PLC offers just that, because users can now use proven functionalities of the S7-1500 hardware controller in the digital world. The virtual PLC is hardware-independent, meaning no specific hardware is required. Via Industrial Edge Management, the virtual controller as well as other applications can be managed centrally and flexibly adapted to the customer's needs. Individual services can be added and used as required. In this way, costs can be optimized. This type of data-centric and software-based automation enables customers to respond more flexibly. "If service specialists are not in the factory at the moment, for example, they receive a diagnostic message that the control system has gone into stop. Via the Industrial Edge Management System, they have the option of accessing the virtual control remotely. This allows them to get the plant up and running again, and they are able to act throughout," explains Efrossini Tsouchnika, Vice President Control at Siemens.

PLC projects are easier to scale with virtual control and can be easily integrated with other IT offerings through open data interfaces. The Simatic S7-1500V is fully compatible with the TIA portfolio. This allows customers to reuse projects and data already in the TIA Portal, reducing their investment.

Increasing convergence of IT and OT

With the Simatic S7-1500V, Operational Technology (OT)-oriented users can continue to use the structures they are familiar with while benefiting from the advantages of an IT-oriented environment. However, users accustomed to IT can also operate with the digital controller in an environment they are familiar with. In this way, collaboration between automation engineers from the OT world and software users from the IT world is simplified and the merging of the two areas is further advanced.

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