Drives & Controls Magazine May 2023

n TECHNOLOGY May 2023 18 AT LAST MONTH’S Hannover Messe, Siemens presented a virtual PLC (programmable logic controller) for the first time. The Simatic S7-1500V is designed for uses such as the virtual hosting of PLC computing. In future, Siemens plans to offer virtual PLCs alongside its traditional hardware controllers. The virtual PLC is part of Siemens’ new Industrial Operations X portfolio for production engineering, execution and optimisation, which forms part of its Xcelerator open digital business platform. The virtual controller will allow users to apply proven functions from Siemens’ S71500 hardware controllers in the digital world. No specific hardware is needed to run the virtual PLC. Industrial edge management technologies allow the virtual controller and other applications to be managed centrally and adapted flexibly to suit the user’s needs. Siemens argues that this data-centred and software-based approach to automation will allow users to respond more flexibly. “If the service specialists are not in the factory at a given moment, they will be sent a diagnostic message to say the controller has stopped, for example,” explains Efrossini Tsouchnika, Siemens’ vicepresident for controls. “The industrial edge management system gives them the ability to access the virtual controller remotely. That means they can get the plant running again with no obstacles to action.” Siemens argues that the virtual controller will make PLC projects easier to scale, while its open data interfaces mean they can be integrated easily with other IT offerings. The virtual PLC is compatible with Siemens’TIA portfolio, allowing the re-use of projects and data already in the TIA Portal, thus cutting costs. With the Simatic S7-1500V, users can continue to implement their trusted structures while benefiting from the advantages of an IT-oriented environment. IT specialists can also work in a familiar environment using the digital controller. Siemens suggests that this will simplify collaboration between automation engineers and software users in the IT field, and advance the fusion of these two environments. For further information on the Simatic S71500V virtual controller visit: KEYSIGHT TECHNOLOGIES HAS has announced a compact network tester for engineers deploying IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and automotive networks. The Novus mini tester combines traffic generation and protocol testing in one device, allowing users to test the performance and conformance of industrial networks. Keysight says that it has the smallest footprint in the industry, an “outstanding”cost per port, and ultra-quiet, fan-less operation. The device supports tests based on TSN (time-sensitive networking) standards. It can test timing standards critical for IIoT, and supports testing to 802.1AS 2011/2020, 802.1Qbv, 802.1Qav, 802.1CB, and 802.1Qci. Keysight argues that failures and downtime caused by connectivity and network issues can result in life-threatening situations. To mitigate potential problems, it adds, network engineers must test the connectivity and performance of network components and IoT devices before deploying them. The instrument offers a TSN conformance suite based on test plans developed by the Avnu Alliance – a community that is creating an interoperable ecosystem covering the timing and low latency requirements of a variety of applications, using open standards. Avnu Alliance work group cochair Ed Agis, says the device will allow companies to “easily test their products on the path to interoperability”. “The Novus mini provides real-world validation and automated conformance testing for leading edge technologies,” adds Ram Periakaruppan, vice-president and general manager of Keysight Network Test & Security Solutions. “As a member of the Avnu Alliance community, Keysight is working with other market leaders to advance Industry 4.0 by crafting essential standards for the next generation of IoT.” Network tester helps to deploy IIoT and perform TSN tests First ‘virtual controller’ supports flexible, software-based automation The first virtual controller from Siemens is based on the functions of an S7-1500 hardware PLC and is made available via Industrial Edge. Keysight’s Novus mini network tester combines traffic generation and protocol testing Photo: Business Wire