Engineering How to Gain More Efficient Engineering

Author / Editor: Maik Friedrich / Dr. Jörg Kempf

During the “Factory Acceptance Test” (FAT) often expansions and adaptations are required which cost time and money. Now a new type concept for plant operating and construction companies forms the basis for even more efficient engineering, greater standardization and safety.

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In the "Factory Acceptance Test" (FAT), the planning work of the software engineers meets the simulated plant operation. The program codes from the software engineering must prove their worth here in the actual automation task: process engineers, planners, plant operating companies and automation engineers test the automation tasks in realistic plant operation.
In the "Factory Acceptance Test" (FAT), the planning work of the software engineers meets the simulated plant operation. The program codes from the software engineering must prove their worth here in the actual automation task: process engineers, planners, plant operating companies and automation engineers test the automation tasks in realistic plant operation.
(Picture: Siemens)

As the transition is made from planning to operation of a plant, data from planning tools is forwarded to other systems such as automation systems. Using the approach of integrated engineering, Siemens has in recent years created a lever for more efficient project engineering workflows. The merging of plant planning system and automation or process control system is part of this concept that is based on standardization and a reduced number of interfaces, instead of on proprietary systems.

Plant planners, operating companies, process and automation engineers are now speaking the same language and, thanks to this new engineering approach, can exchange information on a shared basis. This saves time, simplifies the engineering and thus reduces the associated costs.

The modularization of repetitive functions or functional units by types, from which any number of process tags can be generated by derivation, is an approach aimed at the prompt implementation of recurring automation tasks. Thanks to the type-instance concept, changes made centrally to the type are also applied to the instances (derivations). This can be done universally in the project, at a central location in the Simatic PCS 7 engineering.

With the introduction of Version 8.0 of the Simatic PCS 7 process control system, Siemens has introduced the concept of individual control units and their new types with extended functions and is now making these available to plant operating companies. These units, also known as control module types (CMTs), are automation tasks that can contain the subordinate blocks, parameters, messages or signals and combine functions such as setting up measured values, control functions, valve or drive functions etc. with their sensor technology from an instrumentation and control viewpoint.

The new type concept also contains the derivation. In other words, any number of instances can be generated from an automation task. The new concept does not, however, replace the existing process tag types. Instead, the technology of the CMTs represents a further development. Existing process tag types can automatically be converted into CMTs, supported by a conversion wizard. Another possibility of generating CMTs is by using an existing editor, by means of which functions can be configured and assignments can be made to attributes or blocks for the automation task. This editor is inserted into the familiar Simatic PCS 7 engineering environment and offers users intuitive operation.

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