Siemens will be presenting a complete virtual programmable logic controller (PLC) for the first time at Hannover Messe 2023. The Simatic S7-1500V expands the existing Simatic portfolio and meets special market requirements such as virtual hosting of PLC computing. In the future, that means the range will include both hardware controllers and the virtual PLC. The new Simatic S7-1500V is part of Industrial Operations X. This is a continuously growing, interoperable portfolio geared towards production engineering, execution, and optimization which Siemens is adding to its portfolios on Siemens Xcelerator – the open, digital business platform. With Industrial Operations X, Siemens is consistently integrating IT and software capabilities into the world of automation, thus speeding up the transition from automated to highly adaptable production. After all, volatile markets, the labor shortage, and an increasing scarcity of resources all mean industrial firms have to structure their automated production more flexibly.
Benefits of the virtual PLC for users
And that’s exactly what the new, virtual controller offers, since users can now also use proven functions of the S7-1500 hardware controller in the digital world. The virtual PLC is hardware-independent – in other words, no specific hardware is needed. Industrial Edge Management makes it possible to manage the virtual controller and other applications at a central level and adapt them flexibly to customer needs. Individual services can be booked and used in addition, so costs can be optimized. This kind of data-centered and software-based automation enables customers to respond more flexibly. “If the service specialists are not in the factory at a given moment, they will be sent a diagnostic message to say the controller has stopped, for example,” says Efrossini Tsouchnika, Vice President Control at Siemens. “The Industrial Edge Management System gives them the ability to access the virtual controller remotely. That means they can get the plant running again with no obstacles to action.”
Thanks to the virtual controller, PLC projects are easier to scale, and open data interfaces mean they can be readily integrated into other IT offerings. The Simatic S7-1500V is fully compatible with the TIA portfolio. Customers can thus re-use projects and data already in the TIA Portal and reduce their level of investment.
Increasing convergence of IT and OT
Using the Simatic S7-1500V, Operational Technology (OT)-oriented users can continue to use their trusted structures while benefiting from the advantages of an IT-oriented environment. But users accustomed to IT can also work in a familiar environment using the digital controller. That simplifies the collaboration between automation engineers from the world of OT and software users in the IT field, and further advances the fusion of these two environments.