Automation

Software can automate devices and systems

Machine manufacturers benefit from software that allows them to stay operational with their many automation devices while cutting costs and staying independent of an engineering framework.
By Jana Kocianova February 20, 2019
Courtesy: Siemens

Keeping the customer’s current and future needs in mind is the most important part of designing a successful automation product. This is the reality of the automation business. Machine manufacturers require a tool that allows them to stay operational with their many automation devices while cutting costs and staying independent of an engineering framework.

Machine manufacturers and plant operators are facing the challenge of customizing their machines and plants and keeping them up to date. The different life stages of commissioning, maintenance, and service come with special requirements or tasks. Being able to manage automation components using one automation tool help reduce downtime and increase efficiency.

Software tools can offer support, enabling users to manage all automation components during commissioning, maintenance tasks and if service is required. The individual tasks can be executed independently of the engineering framework, which can be done in all of the machine’s lifecycle stages.

Siemens Simatic Automation Tool offers versatile application possibilities in different phases. Courtesy: Siemens

Siemens Simatic Automation Tool offers versatile application possibilities in different phases. Courtesy: Siemens

Commissioning, maintenance, service

Each phase of a machine lifecycle differs from a user perspective.

  • Commissioning: Software can help in the commissioning phase by exporting and downloading projects and by customizing IP addresses. Imagine having a solar park with thousands of solar panels with identical control cabinets. With the click of one button, software can reach and change the settings of all of the controllers in one mass operation.
  • Maintenance: Imagine mechanical changes or program changes have been done and as a result, updates have to be performed during operation. Software can allow maintenance personnel to make adjustments. If loss of production and downtime plays a crucial role, the last executable version of a plant (or machine) can be exported before changes are made. It can then be accessed back in case of error.
  • Service: Software enables users to integrate functionalities into an automatic process. It also makes it convenient to use previous software and firmware versions for revisions. In addition to firmware updates, projects can be downloaded and comprehensive diagnostic functions run to optimize production facilities.
Siemens Simatic Automation Tool, Software to Manage Automation Components in Commissioning, Maintenance, and Service won a 2019 Engineers’ Choice Award in the Software - Control design category. Courtesy: Siemens

Siemens Simatic Automation Tool, Software to Manage Automation Components in Commissioning, Maintenance, and Service won a 2019 Engineers’ Choice Award in the Software – Control design category. Courtesy: Siemens

Jana Kocianova is product manager, Siemens. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

KEYWORDS: Control design software

Software can help with automation and control tasks

Commissioning and maintenance can be easier.

Software services can be automated.

CONSIDER THIS

By automating common software tasks, how much time could be saved across manufacturing?

ONLINE EXTRA

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Jana Kocianova
Author Bio: Jana Kocianova, product manager, Siemens.