Machine development is usually sequential: Mechanical design, electrical design, and automation are performed one after the other. If a mistake is made anywhere in the development process and isn’t detected, the error costs grow by a factor of ten per phase of development. Undetected errors can cause expensive damage during commissioning. If the machine is in operation and requires optimizing or modernizing, the ideal moment for downtime has to be found – naturally, the operator wants to keep downtimes to a minimum. The alternative is to virtually commission a machine in the TIA Portal. Based on a digital twin of the new machine, the mechanical design, electrical design, and automation engineering can be performed in parallel. Simulations and tests uncover faults at an early stage, with the result that real commissioning on site at the customer’s is performed faster and with less risk. This enables you to reduce the time to market, lower costs, and increase flexibility and productivity.Commissioning a machine at a customer’s facility is the decisive moment: Are extensive corrections needed, or does everything go as planned? To reduce the risk and effort associated with the actual commissioning, virtually commissioning the machine using PLCSIM Advanced in the TIA Portal offers an efficient alternative. This approach even makes it possible to simulate and optimize the interaction between individual components of entire production lines in a virtual environment.
The integrated software landscape makes it possible to simulate and validate machines - from simple to complex requirements. This is made possible by our new software bundle for virtual commissioning and the associated simulation tools.
You can use PLCSIM Advanced – the virtual controller for the SIMATIC S7-1500 controller – to simulate and validate the PLC code. The simulation includes communication, knowledge-protected function blocks, safety, and a web server. Operator panels can also be simulated in order to test and optimize operating concepts or interfaces already in the engineering phase. Support is also provided for multiple and distributed cases in order to simulate multiple controllers on a PC or in a network. A documented interface is provided for the data exchange.
In NX Mechatronics Concept Designer, existing CAD models of the machine are assigned physical properties in order to virtually map the mechatronics of a machine. This virtual machine can be controlled via an integrated interface by the SIMATIC S7-PLCSIM Advanced virtual controller and operated via simulated operator panels. The SIMIT simulation platform enables comprehensive testing of automation applications and offers a realistic training environment for plant operators even before real commissioning.
The virtual commissioning of robot cells or entire production lines takes place using TECNOMATIX Process Simulate and PLCSIM Advanced. OPC UA, the standardized communication protocol, is used to exchange data between robots, machines, and the plant to ensure that all processes, material flows, and similar activities can be simulated and optimized prior to the actual commissioning.
The virtual commissioning of controllers, HMIs, machines, and production lines decreases time and costs, reduces the risk of errors and defects, and achieves the desired results more quickly. With TIA and the TIA Portal as the engineering framework, you have access to all the relevant data on your hardware and the software tools that will enable you to develop, simulate, and optimize in a completely virtual environment.
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