Efficient and easily sustainable

SIMATIC WinCC Unified System at Heizomat

Sustainable production of energy from a renewable raw material: SIMATIC WinCC Unified makes Heizomat wood chip heaters efficient.

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Challenge

Focus on design und usability

The fully automatic wood chip heaters of Heizomat attract many customers – from new homeowners to medium-sized businesses. One thing is always the same: The demands on functionality and usability are constantly increasing.

Sustainably efficient solution for all users and requirements

The fully automatic wood chip heaters make efficient use of wood as the source for producing energy. "The wonderful thing about it is that wood is renewable," says Robert Bloos Jr., Managing Director of Heizomat GmbH. The company has been very successful in the international market with its systems for producing sustainable energy: Around half of the systems it builds at its factory in the small community of Maicha in the southern German district of Gunzenhausen are shipped to other countries. "That includes Canada," explains Klaus Regler, Software Developer at Heizomat. The signs point to growth for Heizomat. This year, around 850 heating systems left the factory, and soon the number is expected to be 1000. "At the same time, we also realize that the market is becoming more demanding – especially in the case of systems for private users," continues Regler. "Our customers want a heater that looks good and is modern in every respect, including its operation."

Heizomat GmbH, Germany

Energy in the cycle of nature

Countless businesses, farms and private households use Heizomat wood chip heaters to meet their energy needs with renewable raw materials. "And just as easily and economically as with traditional fossil fuels," says Managing Director Robert Bloos Jr.

Sustainable by conviction: Renewable raw materials as energy source

Since its founding in 1982, Heizomat Gerätebau-Energiesysteme GmbH has integrated sustainability into everyday practice. With his automatically fed wood heaters and wood chippers, Managing Director Robert Bloos Jr. relies on cutting-edge solutions for sustainable growth – "quality over quantity". Another focus of the company is user-friendliness: The systems are fed fully automatically so that they can run round the clock. The company has developed most of the technology required for this itself. For years, the company has collaborated closely with Siemens on the automation – and has given thought to things like what the operation of its systems in the smartphone era might look like.

In the future, we will be able to use apps on the touch panels. That opens up many more possibilities such as the ability to offer a long-term analysis of heating values.
Robert Bloos Jr., Managing Director of Heizomat GmbH
The solution in detail

A system with more possibilities

Heizomat has chosen a visualization system with SIMATIC HMI Unified Comfort Panels powered by SIMATIC WinCC Unified. The system features a responsive touchscreen, scalable vector graphics, the latest Web technology and proven engineering in the TIA Portal, plus high performance reserves for the coming years.

Anything but a small heater control

The automation of the Heizomat systems no longer has anything to do with a small heater control: An integrated system manager monitors and controls multiple heating circuits with temperature sensors, lambda probe, particle filter and, where needed, external memory and modules. That is why a complete change of the Heizomat automation to PLC technology was made a few years ago: "We are now more flexible in terms of integrating new sensors and actuators or functions, and we can implement new requirements more efficiently than we would be able to with a complete in-house development," explains Regler.

For the controller, Heizomat uses a SIMATIC S7-1200 or a SIMATIC ET 200SP CPU 1510 or 1512, depending on the complexity of the system. "In addition, we use many other Siemens components, such as disconnect switches, fuses, switching devices, converters, HMI devices – actually everything Siemens offers to meet our requirements. The advantage for us is that we can use a single tool – the TIA Portal – for all our engineering," explains Regler. Heizomat covers the different configuration levels of its systems with the options handling feature in TIA Portal: The automation project is only configured once for the maximum configuration and then easily and conveniently defined for various other configurations by selecting options.

Innovative operating concept with SIMATIC WinCC Unified

Heizomat was already using SIMATIC HMI Comfort Panels as HMI devices for its heaters. Heizomat now wanted to take this solution a step further – "which is why we took the opportunity as a development partner to bring in our requirements for the new SIMATIC HMI Unified Comfort Panels", explains Regler. According to Regler, features of the new HMI devices deemed to be especially important by Heizomat include the rugged, modern looking glass front, suitable interfaces and details such as compatible installation dimensions: "This allows us to retrofit even older heaters with state-of-the-art operator control without mechanical work on site at the operator location." For configuring the visualization with WinCC Unified, it is now possible to use vector graphics, "which can be scaled more easily", continues Regler. Regler also sees many new opportunities arising from the openness of the system, such as the ability to import their own software and applications onto the devices for maintenance operations, for example. For that reason, he doesn't view the workload involved in changing to the new visualization solution as a disadvantage: "Of course, we now have to port our visualization and the libraries, but we can then benefit fully from the new possibilities of the WinCC Unified System, and that is very important to us."

Sophisticated automation solution with SIMATIC S7-1200 and SIMATIC ET 200SP

As far as the automation solution is concerned, all Heizomat systems appear to be from a single source: both the control cabinet and the operating unit look identical. However, the inner workings differ depending on the complexity of the systems, says Klaus Regler: "Especially for customers who want to heat their homes with our systems, for example, we must be able to offer a very cost-effective automation solution. At the same time,  we want to continue to take advantage of the benefits of integrated engineering". For these plants, which usually have an output of up to 50 kW and only one or two heating circuits, Heizomat uses SIMATIC S7-1200. "The first plants automated in this way were delivered to customers about eight years ago and they are still working perfectly. This shows that with Siemens we can offer high-quality automation at a very reasonable price". If the requirements are higher, for example for commercial plants, a CPU 1510 or 1512 central processor module in the SIMATIC ET 200SP takes over the control of the functions. In both cases, the signals are connected to the controller via the distributed ET 200SP peripheral system. Heizomat covers the different expansion stages of its plants with TIA Portal concept “option handling” which consist ofan automation project  configured only once for maximum expansion and then defined simply and conveniently for different plant variants activating different parts of the hardware and automation tasks via software within the execution of the program or during commisioningThis enables Heizomat to adapt its solutions to the respective requirements without much effort.

The superior performance of the panels is advantageous not only to our customers because it gives them a better operator control solution, but to us as well because we have more possibilities for implementing our application.
Klaus Regler, Software Developer, Heizomat GmbH
Customer benefits

Modern industrial design meets user-centered visualization

With SIMATIC WinCC Unified and the new Unified Comfort Panels, Heizomat has found the right solution to meet its requirements – a modern visualization solution for customers that simply looks great and is really easy to use.

A good HMI gives the user certainty in operating the systems.

There is already evidence that Heizomat is on the right path with the new visualization solution, continues Regler: "We have already won over the first target group: When we introduced the new HMI design to our sales team, the enthusiasm was tremendous." The main advantage for Heizomat is the significantly better usability: "The design and the responsive multitouch technology are a class above our previous solution in terms of optics and performance. Inspired by the new possibilities that WinCC Unified affords us, we have collaborated with user interface design experts to redesign the visualization from the ground up. The effort was worthwhile as the new HMI gives our customers more certainty in operating their systems, eliminating the need for some service calls. Customers benefit by being able to help themselves more effectively, thereby saving time and money. We also benefit because we can better plan maintenance work."

The new HMI gives our customers more certainty in making settings themselves. Then, service calls by us become unnecessary. Once again, great collaboration with Siemens.
Klaus Regler, Software Developer, Heizomat GmbH

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