Siemens's Next-Gen, High-End Simatic Controllers

Siemens has launched its next generation of controllers for mid-sized to high-end machine and plant automation, aimed at increasing performance and efficiency, as well as improving communications, safety, and security, the company said.

Siemens plans to roll out its new Simatic S7-1500 to the market in phases, with three CPU types aimed at mid-range performance -- 1511, 1513, and 1516 -- expected to reach manufacturers in the US in early to mid 2013. All three of these options will be available in an "F," or failsafe, version for safety applications, according to the company.

Siemens has designed the Simatic S7-1500 line to be modular, providing scalability. Each controller includes a CPU for executing the user program, one or more power supplies, and signal modules as inputs/outputs. The new line of controllers complements Siemens's existing Simatic line, which includes the S7-200, S7-300, S7-400, and S7-1200 products.

The S7-1500 controllers include a number of features aimed at providing high-end plant and machine automation and control, particularly in the areas of performance, technology innovation, and security, according to Siemens.

In terms of system performance, the controller features a fast backplane bus with a high baud rate and efficient transmission protocol, which allows for fast signal processing capability, the company said. This provides short response times and high quality control. For instance, the response time from terminal to terminal is less than 500 microseconds, and the command time for bit instructions can be faster than 10 nanoseconds, depending on the CPU.

Siemens has equipped the 1511 and 1513 controllers with two Profinet interfaces, while the 1516 controller has three -- two for communication with the field level, and a third to integrate with the corporate network, the company said. The controllers also come with an integrate web server for remote queries of system and process data to provide better diagnostics.

In terms of technology, Siemens has integrated standard motion control functions into the Simatic S7-1500. This enables the connection of analog- and Profidrive-compatible drives without the need for additional modules.

In terms of security, the new line of controllers integrates this functionality from block protection to communication integrity, according to Siemens, allowing manufacturers to protect machine and system intellectual property, as well as unauthorized access or modification.

To these ends, the Simatic S7-1500 line uses a memory card that links individual blocks to the serial numbers of the original memory card, ensuring programs run only on the configured card to prevent copying. To protect against unauthorized configuration changes, the controllers use access protection that assigns different user groups with separate rights.

According to Siemens, the controllers also include functionality that recognizes modified engineering data in the case of an attempt to manipulate the system via unauthorized data transmission.

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