Upgraded engineering framework enables more efficient and flexible automation

Hayley Everett
Version 18 of the TIA Portal enables more efficient and flexible automation engineering. Image via Siemens.

Global automation firm Siemens has presented Version 18 of its engineering framework TIA Portal (Totally Integration Automation Portal) at the SPS trade fair in Nuremberg.

The new iteration has been launched in response to the need for industrial companies to shorten their time-to-market, counteract the current lack of skilled workers, and remain competitive in the market. To do this, they need efficient automation engineering that can be quickly modified to meet new requirements, which Siemens' Version 18 reportedly delivers. 

With optimised functionalities for multi-user engineering, users can now work in teams and in parallel on projects to build and manage shared libraries. Access rights can be assigned either individually or group-specifically, making collaboration more flexible. 

The company has expanded the TIA Portal with IT-oriented workflows via its Simatic Automation Xpansion (Simatic AX). This provides IT professionals with a familiar development environment like a Visual Studio-compliant interface or project management via GitHub. The functionalities programmed in this way are created in structured text and can therefore be seamlessly integrated into the TIA Portal as libraries.

The engineering platform - which was previously a standard tool used with operational technology (OT) - can now also be used by IT users without first reskilling them. With this development, Siemens claims it is taking a decisive step not only towards IT/OT integration but also in countering the growing lack of skilled workers in the OT world.

Available "as a service", Simatic AX is cloud-based and can therefore be downloaded and updated quickly and easily at any time and any place.

Because motion applications in automation are becoming increasingly complex, the new version of the TIA Portal also offers "simple and holistic" engineering of 5D/6D kinematics, or motion control functions up to six interpolating axes. Complex kinetics like robots can now be easily integrated into industrial processes in the TIA Portal, allowing companies to easily expand, convert, or modify their production facilities without interfering with running systems. 

Additionally, Siemens has extended the scope for its TIA Portal and Simatic controllers. The Simatic S7-1500 and the Simatic ET 200SP now provide higher computing and communication performance and support R1 redundancy to ensure the maximum availability of applications and help solve future automation challenges. The R1 redundancy can be easily and flexibly integrated into existing networks with no programming effort, which Siemens says makes it one of the simplest offerings on the market that can be used in a wide variety of industries.

As such, the technology can be used in factory automation, logistics and infrastructure where R1 redundancy is especially relevant for large infrastructure projects. The new hardware also supports the latest security standards, with Version 18 of the TIA Portal placing a strong focus on state-of-the-art security, Siemens added. 

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