EPLAN’s Integration w/ Siemens TIA Portal Aims to Drive Project Efficiency

EPLAN’s Integration w/ Siemens TIA Portal Aims to Drive Project Efficiency

By Bill Lydon, Editor, Automation.com

Hannover Fair 2017 was a hub of inspiration and innovation in multiple areas, and I had the privilege to speak with many of these innovators. One company that particularly stood out to me was EPLAN. At the Fair, they illustrated their efforts to empower users with software for more precise and efficient project design engineering commissioning and lifecycle management. In addition, EPLAN recently expanded the offering by adding integration with Siemens TIA Portal (Totally Integrated Automation Portal) Engineering Framework.  These innovations build on last year’s introduction of 3S-Smart Software Solutions GmbH, CoDeSys support, and garnered quite a bit of attention at this year’s fair.   

This new integration is intended to enable engineering data to be exchanged bidirectionally between the worlds of electrical engineering and automation engineering. Users can also edit and compare data at every stage of a project. Automatically generated data in EPLAN Electric P8 includes schematics, PLC overviews, and hardware configurations as well as network designs. Relevant data can be exchanged between the different workstations of electrical engineers and PLC programmers increasing productivity, decreasing errors, and increasing quality. The integration with TIA Portal Connection is based on Automation ML, a neutral and universal format for data exchange, according to IEC 62424/IEC 62714.

 

Why the TIA Portal Integration?

Time-saving was a focus for EPLAN’s integration. For example, at the start of the design process in EPLAN Electric P8, electrical engineers may save time, because data is no longer entered manually. This data is now initially created in the TIA Portal, then imported into EPLAN Electric P8, where a schematic is generated using the data. In addition to relieving electrical engineers of manual designing tasks, this integration also facilitates better cooperation between electrical and mechanical groups.

 

Configuration & Change Control

Users are enabled to exchange, edit, and compare PLC data at every stage of the project and in every direction. This simplifies the time-consuming, manual comparison for changes or for iterative procedures and results in an optimized, interdisciplinary engineering process.

 

Hardware configuration

The hardware configuration includes parts and rack layouts such as the module assignments for each rack slot. The new data exchange also supports users in designing the appropriate hardware, in connection with the schematic and PLC program. Users do not have to think about the correct configuration of the hardware because the Siemens TIA Portal does this autonomously. Since the EPLAN Electric P8 automatically generates data including schematics, PLC overviews and hardware setups, this integration has great potential to accelerate work processes.

 

Bus wiring and structural data

EPLAN’s integration also helps assignment lists receive hardware addresses, symbolic addresses and function texts as well as comments. These assignment lists delineate how and which physical inputs and outputs are allocated. The new interface, between EPLAN and the Siemens TIA Portal, supports users by correctly assigning the PLC program’s symbolic addresses to the relevant hardware addresses, which in turn simplifies wiring the inputs and outputs. The bus/network topology also contains the wiring of the racks and bus ports to each other. This exchange of the bus addresses with the dependencies between the slave and master configuration is designed to simplifiy the collection and documentation of the bus data, while simultaneously improving the overview of it.

PLC Rack data and symbolic addresses can be exchanged bidirectionally between EPLAN and the TIA Portal.

EPLAN and Siemens have been cooperating extensively for years with the goal to effectively combine electrical engineering with PLC programming. Applications such as the TIA Portal and EPLAN are integrally supplied with the same source data.. Siemens supplies product data to EPLAN Data Portal that can also be retrieved in Siemens Mall and through the CAx Download Manager. The goal is first-class data quality and subsequent time savings for users in engineering and PLC programming.

Another example of EPLAN’s integration capability is the integration with Autodesk Inventor interface which allows 3D models to be connected within EPLAN Syngineer using drag & drop, in order to achieve consistent testing

 

Codesys

Last year EPLAN introduced another integration with 3S-Smart Software Solutions GmbH, called CoDeSys, which has been integrated into the products of over 400 hardware manufacturers.  CoDeSys conforms to the IEC 61131-3 standard.

EPLAN integration to the Codesys programming software enable direct access to controller information.

 

EPLAN's Productivity Mission

I have been following EPLAN from the earliest products and they have been on a continuous journey to help users improve productivity of project engineering, installation, commissioning, and lifecycle service. The expanded offerings in the last two years serve as evidence of this commitment.  Improving productivity has always been important and is more compelling today with the implementation of Industry 4.0 & Industrial Internet of Things that require more installed field devices. These tools will help enable a new generation of automation people to productively build for the future.

EPLAN Software & Service founded in 1984 is a worldwide service provider for developing CAx, configuration and mechatronic solutions and advises companies on how to optimise their engineering processes.  The company supports over 48,000 customers throughout the world with more than 130,000 installations.  Both standardised as well as customised interfaces to ERP and PLM/PDM systemsensures data consistency in product development, order processing and manufacturing.   

 

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