Siemens goes virtual with its PLCs

Siemens goes virtual with its PLCs

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Siemens has developed a complete virtual programmable logic controller (PLC) for the first time, allowing a move away from custom hardware for factory automation.

Siemens is a major manufacturer of PLCs, and the Simatic S7-1500V expands the existing Simatic portfolio and meets special market requirements such as virtual hosting of PLC computing. This is being driven by volatile markets, labour shortages and an increasing scarcity of resources where industrial firms have to structure their automated production more flexibly. 

In the future, the range will include both hardware controllers and the virtual PLC. The virtual is based on the functions of an S7-1500 hardware PLC and is made available via Industrial Edge, part of Industrial Operations X which is geared towards production engineering, execution, and optimization within the Siemens Xcelerator platform.

The virtual PLC is hardware-independent and Industrial Edge Management software makes it possible to manage the virtual controller and other applications at a central level.

“If the service specialists are not in the factory at a given moment, they will be sent a diagnostic message to say the controller has stopped, for example,” says Efrossini Tsouchnika, Vice President Control at Siemens. “The Industrial Edge Management System gives them the ability to access the virtual controller remotely. That means they can get the plant running again with no obstacles to action.”

This also allows PLC projects are easier to scale, and open data interfaces mean they can be readily integrated into other IT offerings.

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