Operators often complain about having to do one task in a controller and another on a PC. The resulting screen hopping not only consumes valuable time, it can be inconvenient to the workforce. In some cases, protective clothing such as gloves must be removed (and put back on) due to the transition.
Having everything on one device provides many advantages for those engaged in factory automation. Complex automation tasks that involve multiple applications can be implemented on a single platform. In addition, complex functions and solutions for automation tasks are already available in high-level languages or are created in high-level languages.
That’s why Siemens decided to integrate PC functionality into its SIMATIC controller program. High-level language programs communicate with the PLC via defined interfaces on the newly released multifunctional platform CPU 1518(F)-4 PN/DP MFP. Besides standard STEP 7 blocks used within SIMATIC, the CPU 1518-4 PN/DP MFP can also execute functions (blocks) and applications programmed in the C or C++ commonly used by PC applications. This includes model-based and database applications.
This innovative solution offers users the option of having C/C++ code executed synchronously during the CPU cycle (via the CPU function library). In addition, the multifunctional platform can run C/C++ applications as separate applications in parallel with the CPU runtime.
Data exchanges between the C/C++ runtime and the CPU runtime can be used to trigger responses on the other side or to provide necessary information to the TIA Portal. The MFP is based on the high-end modular SIMATIC controller CPU 1518-4 PN/DP (F). The new multifunctional platform with firmware version V2.5 can be used with TIA Portal V15 or higher. Sufficient computing power is available within the MFP to easily merge previously separate applications on a common platform. At the same time, the multifunction platform meets the high demands of the S7-1500 in terms of maintenance friendliness and ruggedness.
By merging high-level language application in C/C++ and SIMATIC PLC applications on a single piece of hardware, the overall footprint is reduced while providing the proven ruggedness of a SIMATIC S7-1500. Additionally, controller-independent applications such as protocol converters, database applications and others can be created in C/C++. This simplifies the creation or reuse of customized high-level language applications. Further, complex functions can be directly adopted after code generation by model-based development tools such as Simulink® from MathWorks.
Regular firmware updates guarantee the highest safety standards, enabling users to focus on the implementation of their automation requirements. The CPU 1518(F)-4 PN/DP MFP has the scaling and functionality of a CPU 1518(F)-4 PN/DP. Three PROFINET interfaces, a PROFIBUS DP interface, device sharing for up to four controllers, media redundancy and open Ethernet communication are just a few additional features. Integrated security functionality includes
- Password-based know-how protection against unauthorized reading out or modification of the program blocks
- Copy protection offers security against unauthorized reproduction of program blocks
- Ability to assign access rights in the controller to different user groups
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