Simulation software from Siemens provides a comprehensive solution, from the product design simulation, process and plant simulation to the automation control solution simulation of your application code within the PLC, HMI, Networking IO and Motion. Simulation makes it possible to virtually test and verify the process and plant modelled together with the automation solution linked together to ensure a validated solution before machine commissioning on site. As simulation technology advances, it can offer advantages necessary for reducing your the time to market, ensuring highest flexilibity, efficiency, quality and consistency, and improved productivity.
As manufacturing moves toward Industry 4.0 or Smart Manufacturing—the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, including cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing—its key requirements undergo change. To compete in today’s increasingly digital global marketplace, manufacturers require reduced time-to-market, greater speed in getting the manufacturing process into production, more flexibility in equipment, and ensured quality, efficiency, and productivity. Simulation is rapidly emerging as a means to achieve these critical manufacturing goals.
Simulation has come of age. It used to be that simulation processes were pretty basic, for example focusing on PLCs, where code would run through a rough simulation to verify the code running in the PLC. There wasn’t much opportunity to integrate HMI or drive into that process, unless an actual prototype system was built.
But times have changed. Simulation has advanced to the point where it can be leveraged for the planning of production facilities. The technology helps prevent errors at early stages that otherwise might result in substantial costs for plant operators. In fact, simulation can do much more than that. As manufacturing moves into this new era, simulation will increasingly function like a navigation system, supplying input to optimize a plant before commissioning, and even be used to optimize operations once a plant is online.
Virtual Testing of Systems
Because of the scale and complexity of production plants, large software systems are used to link various systems during planning and control them during operation. But with advances in automation simulation, a line or an entire plant can now be tested before it enters service.
The advantages of this development are profound. During the planning stage, simulation can be used to determine whether a facility may have any faults, long before a single component is installed. This process entails the development of a “digital twin” that simulation tests in advance to ensure fit and functionality. The result is that new facilities can begin service on time and at full productivity, without the time and costs associated with traditional commissioning. The virtual twin can also be used to train personnel, such as control room operators, before the plant comes online. This drives up productivity and drives down risk.
Case in Point
Consider an innovative transport system from the German machine manufacturer Optima. Optima produces packaging and special machines for many industries and places great emphasis on the machine’s design as a mechatronic system that can be tested, developed, and validated digitally. The new transport system was digitally mapped. This allowed ideas to be tested and further developed before the actual manufacture began.
The data of the real machine was loaded into the model during the design phase. This resulted in a digital twin that enables simulation of changeover operations and product flow across the entire lifecycle of the machine. Using a cloud connection, it is possible to evaluate KPI data such as produced items, downtime analyses, failure rates, and energy data.
To protect sensitive production data, comprehensive industrial security systems are also critical. By using state-of-the-art software tools for the digitalization of the machine lifecycle, the user gains considerable flexibility in the design and operation of the machine, a milestone for machine manufacturing.
This leading-edge example of leveraging simulation is destined to become commonplace as manufacturing heads into Industry 4.0.
Siemens TIA Portal as the Gateway to Automation
The Totally Integrated Automation Portal (TIA Portal) provides users with unrestricted access to Siemens’ complete range of digitalized automation services, from simulation and integrated engineering to transparent operation.
By leveraging integrated simulation tools, TIA Portal shortens time to market, increases plant productivity through additional diagnostics and energy management functions, and offers broader flexibility by connecting the plant to the management level. Through these capabilities, TIA Portal is an ideal gateway to automation for today’s manufacturers. Indeed, as part of Siemens’ Digital Enterprise Suite (along with PLM and MES), it complements Siemens’ offerings for companies committed to the path to Industry 4.0.
The TIA Portal engineering framework encompasses:
- Integrated engineering. TIA Portal can dramatically cut time to market by integrating all important components of an automation project in a single framework: safety, security, control, HMI, drives, switchgear, motion control, power distribution, and decentralized peripherals. Its shared database and smart library concept allow the use of superordinate functions.
- Digital workflow. TIA Portal increases flexibility of machine builders and plant operators through digital workflow. With flexible cloud solutions, scalable simulations with a digital twin, and open interfaces for higher connectivity, TIA Portal empowers users to work open, virtually and networked.
- Transparent operation. TIA Portal ensures transparent production with optimized processes and improved availability of machines and the production plant. Further, integrated energy management creates transparency for power saving in accordance with ISO 50001.
End-to-end engineering is possible only if everything is fully integrated. The TIA Portal brings the virtual and real worlds of production together, fully integrating hardware and software.
Future Potential: Simulation Beyond Planning
While simulation is proving invaluable in planning manufacturing operations, its potential extends beyond virtual commissioning and proof of concept to use throughout a plant’s service life, including during operations. Ultimately, advances in simulation technology will allow for testing all the various options for change to a production process during operation, before the decision is taken and implemented. This will help ensure that the best option is employed. What’s more, simulation during operation will make it easier to understand what action to take in the event of faults, allowing alternatives to be simulated very quickly to indicate which option is best.
See Simulation in Action
In a recent Siemens webinar, John DeTellem, product marketing manager at Siemens Industry, gave a hands-on live demonstration using the TIA Portal and TIA engineering automation software for simulation of a conveyor line, explaining the toolsets used for this process. The demonstration shows how automation simulation can be easily performed through TIA Portal, validating and proving program code of PLCs, but also programming and validating of I/O, HMI, and motion control component, diagnostics, and commissioning logic for the line.
To see this archived demonstration of the ease and power of simulation through TIA Portal, you can go here.
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