Enabling both digitalisation of the field as well as extensive new software functionality, version 9 of the Simatic PCS 7 process control system supports the Industrial Ethernet standard Profinet with two new distributed I/O lines. In addition, plant operators will also benefit from greater flexibility, convenience, future-proofing and wide-ranging compatibility with legacy installations. The demands made on the flexibility, scalability, availability and security of plants operating in the processing industries are growing all the time.
With plants expected to achieve a service life of up to 30 years, future proofing and investment protection aspects are of vital importance.
Profinet, the Ethernet standard, is designed to allow adaptation to future requirements occurring in the process industries. It offers efficient communication in real time, open standards for the development of standardised automation networks, and security oriented communication, as well as flexible, easily scalable network structures.
The new I/O system Simatic ET 200SP HA allows the properties of Profinet to be used to optimum effect in achieving this goal. Designed to meet, and exceed, the requirements of the process industries, the new I/O line provides flexible high solutions and can be used directly in the field up to Ex zone 2. Its protective coating and an extended operating temperature range of -40 to 70°C allow the I/O system to be used in many cases without the need for additional air conditioning.
The compact, highly space-saving design – the width of the new module has been reduced by half – allows for the operation of up to 16 channels. The number of modules per head assembly or per station has been increased from 12 to 56, corresponding to just under 900 I/O signals instead of the previous 96 (when using 8-channel modules).
Another benefit is its consistently modular and flexible structure, which allows modules to be conveniently hot swapped in running operational mode to allow change in run. The Simatic ET 200SP HA stations can be simply, and rapidly, extended in line with changing requirements, as the permanent wiring and use of uniform terminal blocks enable control cabinets with a standardised structure. The result: lower costs for planning, assembly and installation.
The Simatic Compact Field Unit (CFU) opens up new scope for the integration of field devices. The field distributor connected over Profinet is able to overcome the restrictions of conventional I/O concepts, providing consistent decentralisation coupled with flexible structures. The Simatic CFU combines the simple handling offered by familiar 4-20mA technology with the benefits of field bus technology, making for a demonstrably simpler distributed I/O structure. Marshalling cabinets and multi-core master cables could soon be relegated to the history books, as distributed deployment of the Simatic CFU allows considerable savings to be made in terms of cables and terminal points. This in turn means a significant cut in the work involved in planning and documentation.
If a new field device has to be connected, the Simatic CFU automatically initialises the connected device and integrates it quickly and simply into the process control system. While this type of process currently takes around 30 minutes, in future it will be possible to complete it in less than 60s. The same scenario can apply to a classical fault occurring within a system, for instance where a defective field device would disrupt production. The use of Plug&Produce results in simple, efficient, reliable and trouble-free device integration. Field devices can be easily and safely exchanged even by personnel with no specialised training.
The Simatic CFU is tailored to the requirements of the process industries, and is a prime example of digitalisation in the field. Alongside the 8 PROFIBUS PA terminals, there are an additional eight discrete I/O channels available, each of which can be freely configured by the software as DI (Digital Inputs) or DO (Digital Outputs). The solid housing provides reliable protection from the effects of weather and any unplanned external influences.
Version 9 of Simatic PCS 7 also comes with extensive software innovations offering greater productivity and flexibility for plant operators and maintenance personnel. These include even more efficient commissioning and management of field devices with the aid of mobile technology using Simatic PDM (Process Device Manager). This universal tool for the engineering, parameterisation, commissioning, diagnosis and maintenance of smart field devices and field components provides extensive support for Profinet.
Simatic Batch software now comes with new functions offering even greater flexibility for the engineering of batch processes. Improvements also include more extensive support for web clients, which can now also be used for Simatic Batch.
To simplify the administration and management of installed hardware and software components, the Simatic Management Console has been additionally upgraded in Version 9.