Siemens' new Simatic MP270 based on Windows CE
Siemens Automation and Drives Group has chosen Microsoft Windows CE as the operating system for its new Multifunctional Platform (MP) products. MP is aimed at automation tasks with functionality needs between those offered by industrial PCs and application-specific dedicated devices, such as programmable logic controllers or operator control panels.
Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany — Siemens Automation and Drives Group has chosen Microsoft Windows CE as the operating system for its new Multifunctional Platform (MP) products. MP is aimed at automation tasks with functionality needs between those offered by industrial PCs and application-specific dedicated devices, such as programmable logic controllers or operator control panels. MP devices provide the openness of PC systems with the robustness of dedicated devices. Instant-on, deterministic behavior, and diskless operation are ensured.
MP products supplement Siemens' existing Totally Integrated Automation products. WinAC under Windows NT is used for applications with large data volumes, while classical PLCs continue to be used where real-time processing and redundancy are required.
The first MP product, Multi Panel Simatic MP270, combines visualization and control functions. Control functions will be provided later by the WinLC software PLC. Base configuration will include an AMD SC4000 66MHz CPU with 4MB flash memory and 8 MB RAM. It's fully compatible with existing operating systems (OP35; OP37; OP37/Pro). Communications interfaces are either Profibus 12 Mbaud, RS232, RS485/RS422 or optionally infrared. Configuration, programming, test, and monitoring work for the MP product range is performed using the familiar modular Simatic toolbox based on Step 7, ProTool, and Net.
All future Siemens automation products will be based on Windows NT with Windows CE representing a subset of it. Application software can therefore be developed using the standard Microsoft development system, avoiding the cost of special development tools. Future users can expect to find numerous applications on the open market, which they can integrate into the standard platform system. This will reduce users' dependence on the vendor. Comprehensive existing documentation and software engineers experienced in Microsoft products are added advantages.
Siemens' efforts in the U.S. will be aided by its Industry Software Business Unit (ISBU, Princeton, N.J.), says Klaus Wucherer, president of the Automation and Drives Group. ISBU was founded in March 1998, the same time as Siemens' U.S. subsidiary, SE&A. It's on the same site as Siemens' Corporate Research and Development Center. Mr. Wucherer adds that, "Through ISBU, Siemens will be pushing into new and unattended niches, selling additional software products such as software for management executive systems." To lubricate cooperation with Microsoft, one of ISBU's engineers is located in Redmond, Wa. Siemens states the aim of its A&D group is to grow "twice as fast as the market."
Siemens will introduce Simatic MP270 at the SPS/IPC/Drives trade show in Nürnberg in November 1998. MP270 with O&M functions will be available later in 1998. The WinLC software PLC for MP270 will follow with the release of Windows CE 3.0 in 1999.
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