Whether you’re about to program a Simatic S7-1500 PLC for the first time or you’ve already developed a routine, there are times when the controller won’t do what you want. When this happens, remember: No one’s born a master. You need to be well-prepared and highly precise, to program for complex tasks. So, it’s a good idea to review the basic steps and practice with a sample application before you start with your projects. Below I’ve provided some tips on innovations and the range of functions of Simatic S7-1500 controllers and a sample application you can work with to quickly maximize your programming skills. Enjoy!
The sample application involves a color mixing station for mixing and filling a preselected color recipe. The preferred color is produced by mixing the four basic colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. The color is then dispensed into cans that are transported via a conveyor belt. You might use the following automation hardware: one Simatic S7-1500 controller, two Simatic ET 200 I/O devices, one control panel and, of course for the network, Industrial Ethernet cabling. In this example, we’ll configure both the program block in the Simatic CPU and the visualization of the mixing and filling process on the control panel. This control panel will allow you to start, monitor, adjust and optimize the mixing process. For engineering, you’ll also need a programming device, like the Simatic Field PG, that has the engineering tool Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) Portal installed. TIA Portal combines all the functions you need for implementing your automation tasks and control screens in one comprehensive software platform. Make sure all the components — STEP 7 professional for the PLC and e.g. WinCC unified for the panel — are there in the same version before you start. This will save you frustration later.
For this color mixing example, we’re using the Simatic CPU 1511-1 PN, which is a controller for small to medium-size applications with one Profinet interface. For optimal scalability, there are Simatic S7-1500 CPUs in a variety of performance classes available, meaning that you could also extend this example to a complete line with several stations. You want to make the color mixing station even smarter? I/O devices, which serve as interfaces to the station, are available in different channel granularity, analog value resolutions, etc. You can also select from among various technology modules to acquire special technological functions, including counting, and different communication protocol modules.
You could also integrate the brand-new Simatic S7-1500 TM MFP technology module. This module is multifunctional and allows high-level language programming in C/C++. Besides protocol conversion, database preprocessing, model based coding, every idea or company know-how could be integrated easily into automation structures. The module’s backplane bus enables high-performance data exchange in real time as well as local, cloud-based, or hybrid data backup concepts. To embraces this trend towards edge computing a future version will integrate IT and cloud technology at the field level — for example, if you want to monitor, operate and optimize your production using Apps.
Everything at a glance
As soon as you can, take a look at the application example and our method of implementing it with Simatic S7-1500. Read the associated “Getting started” guide, so you can get to know your Simatic system and learn all about basics and additional functions.
Have fun programming — reach out to me with further questions, recommendations and tips in the comments!