Control conversions happen all of the time when new tooling is replaced in plants. Cost is always a factor when the type of control platform is selected. Creating a clear plan and using the available features on TIA Portal will help to alleviate some of the stress when considering a Rockwell to Siemens PLC/HMI conversion.
A machine builder received an order from a customer in Germany. The machine had been built on Rockwell/Allen Bradley for previous customers. In the European facility, the control standard and architecture were Siemens, not Rockwell.
Our task was to recreate the existing screens with almost identical functionality on a totally different controls platform – Siemens TIA Portal 15.
The reference project used for conversion was built on a Rockwell RS View Studio platform. This reference project had many screens, recipes, and many macros controlling these screens. It was an application that had been well developed – many man-hours went into the original development of this program.
Each screen was virtually picked apart and re-created with Siemens TIA Portal. Using the full toolbox available within Siemens TIA Portal made the process more manageable. Rockwell multi-state indicator control tools were replaced with Siemens animation and event tools like text and graphic lists and user-defined process tags.
No macros were created for this conversion. Having well-defined structured tags, transparent to the PLC and HMI, the PLC would determine which button was clicked or which event took place and make the decision to properly display the correct information on the HMI display. Most of the screens were developed in this conversion with the intent of being modular, saving development time. For instance, the data would only change if a different station or carriage was selected.
In doing a project like this,
- Plan with the Full Picture. Make a good attempt in getting a complete understanding of the application
- Re-create what can be re-created
- Use Tools. Take advantage of the HMI tools and functions available in TIA Portal, such as:
- PLC and HMI tag utilization
- Text and graphic list capability
- Think Efficiency when developing an HMI program. Customization is okay but modular is better!
- Consider Replication. Make it so this project can be used again and again on other projects. A well-built HMI program with templated screens will save hours of development time in the end.
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