Process Control System
Version Upgrade of a Field-Proven Control System
Version 8.1 also supports different versions of block libraries. This makes stepwise updating of automation systems possible, resulting in more freedom in plant maintenance. Since previously all automation systems had to have the same library version, only related controllers could be supplied simultaneously with block library updates. This involved not only extensive maintenance measures, but also plant downtime.
The new version offers plant managers benefits on yet another decisive point: The option of monitoring mechanical components such as pumps, valves or heat exchangers for perfect operation. This is much more complex than monitoring electronic components and it requires a separate monitoring system in most plants. For the operator, this of course means additional complexity: Relationships between the systems must be established and other operating and display philosophies have to be learned. Such separate solutions naturally involve corresponding costs for the plant manager for setting up and operating the systems.
The standard library of Simatic PCS 7, Version 8.1, already provides condition monitoring blocks for monitoring such mechanical assets, thus allowing the integration of comprehensive status monitoring concepts direct into the control system — with a consistent appearance and without a separate system. By integrating the mechanical components into preventive maintenance management, plant managers gain valuable information about the status of their plants, avoid unplanned failures, and can also save energy costs thanks to monitoring of the best-possible operating states of individual components.
In future plant managers will profit from expanded system capacities, particularly in extensive applications or when several operator consoles are combined. An automation project of Version 8.1 or higher can thus contain eighteen instead of the previous twelve OS servers, 40 instead of 32 clients, and 100 instead of 50 Web clients. This clears the way for even better adapted system configurations on corresponding plant structures.
Further innovations concern topics like IT security. More on the next page.