Virtual commissioning of automation solutions

Using the TIA Portal to simulate, validate, and optimize controllers and machines

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.

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Delivery release

SIMATIC Machine Simulator

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.

Playing it safe

Saving time and money with virtual commissioning

Generally speaking, the later an error is detected, the more expensive it will be to correct it. With a digital twin of the machine, machine builders can simulate and validate all the functions and the interactions between mechanical components, electrical equipment, and automation at an early stage. With the digital twin, plant operators have the option of training their personnel to work with the machine ahead of time. New employees can undergo virtual operator training without endangering ongoing production.
TIA Portal integration

Virtual commissioning in the TIA Portal

With STEP 7 and the Totally Integrated Automation Portal (TIA Portal), you can use PLCSIM Advanced to simulate and validate controller functionalities without the actual controllers. The SIMATIC Machine Simulator software bundle combines the simulation software SIMIT V10 with the virtual controller SIMATIC S7-PLCSIM Advanced V2.0. In addition, interfaces can be used to simulate interactions with the other components of cells or lines. Our highlight videos show you all the benefits.
Scalable solutions

Virtual commissioning for every requirement

From the controller, to an individual machine, all the way to complete production lines, our solutions for virtual commissioning allow machine builders and plant operators to respond to various validation questions quickly and reliably with the aid of simulations.

Simulation of automation logic and visualization

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.

Simulation of automation logic in combination with mechatronics

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.

Simulation of comprehensive processes in a cell, line or plant

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.

Also noteworthy

With the Digital Enterprise Suite and Totally Integrated Automation (TIA), you have access to all the tools and technologies you need to take optimal advantage of virtual commissioning and experience the benefits of digitalization in actual practice.

Successful use of virtual commissioning

Companies from a wide range of industries are successfully using virtual commissioning. Here’s an example.

Learn more

Simulation in a virtual environment yields real-world benefits

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. 

We’ll provide you with regular updates with news about the TIA Portal.

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