Siemens Continues Expansion of Controllers Beyond Hardware

June 27, 2023
With the new virtual PLC version of its Simatic S7-1500 controller, Siemens provides all the functions of its hardware-based controller via a mobile device.

A few years ago, Siemens began presenting its concept for web-based control with the introduction of its Simatic PCS neo—a distributed control platform for the processing industries designed to make it easier for engineering and operations teams to securely share information and move between the engineering, monitoring and control views of the system as needed. Now the company is applying its beyond-the-device approach to the Simatic S7-1500 with the introduction of a virtual PLC version of the controller.

According to Siemens, the introduction of this virtual PLC means that the controller is “no longer bound to hardware” with users being able to access the controller and all functions of the Simatic S7-1500 PLC via a mobile device. This mobile access capability allows users to increase or decrease the number of controller instances they need and only pay for those they are using. 

Perhaps most importantly, the virtual PLC mitigates the need for on-site action if a controller fails. After receiving a controller failure notification from the virtual PLC, there is no need for someone on-site to fix the issue. According to Siemens, users can perform the fix remotely via a mobile device to get the plant running again.

This virtual PLC is integrated with Siemens Industrial Edge device and is compatible with company’s TIA Portal. Siemens says this allows for centrally controlled PLC updates as well as virtual testing of different scenarios and configurations before deployment without impacting production operations.

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