With the new TIA Portal V16 (Totally Integrated Automation Portal), Siemens expands its engineering framework with practical new functions for various phases from planning to engineering to commissioning. The updates concentrate on the continuous integration of the development process. These include standardization, integrated engineering spread across teams and an integrated function test. This enables users to increase the quality of their software, shorten commissioning times and reduce engineering costs, according to Siemens.
During the development process, the focus is on distributed working concepts and teamwork. On the TIA Portal project server, the user can now exclusively access server projects via the new exclusive engineering function – with features such as project revision and change protocol, as well as automated reporting and archiving. This means there are no functional restrictions when organizing automation tasks on a device, object or function-oriented basis. No special license is required for using exclusive engineering. To enable projects to be commissioned by teams, TIA Portal V16 has been expanded with an “asynchronous commissioning” mode, whereby loading to the Simatic S7-1500 controller is carried out by a second TIA Portal instance running in the background. The TIA Portal instance running in the foreground can be operated again immediately, shortening load times.
TIA Portal V16 includes the new version control interface (VCI) to external versioning systems such as GIT, SVN and TFS. The import and export of software objects via the TIA Portal interface allows versioning to be seamlessly integrated into the development process. This enables object-granular, completely transparent versioning of all software objects outside the TIA Portal. Another update is the TIA Portal test suite. In addition to allowing automated creation and checking of adherence to programming guidelines, the so-called style guide check, it can generate and carry out application tests with the virtual S7-PLCSIM advanced controller. This support reportedly reduces engineering and commissioning times and enhances the quality of the software.
With TIA Portal V16, all Simatic S7-1200 controllers are now equipped with OPC UA server functionality. Connection to higher-level systems, such as manufacturing execution systems, can be implemented for vertical data integration. Controller-controller communication throughout all Simatic controllers is also now possible using OPC UA. Standardized interfaces, known as companion specifications, are simple to import with the TIA Portal, making it easy to integrate machines in production lines or plants. The SiOME Siemens OPC UA modelling editor helps the automation engineer with the interconnection of tags and simplifies their import into the Simatic machine control. The SiOME also has some new functions such as the creation of data blocks based on OPC UA information models, or the option of checking OPC-UA information models and companion specifications for conformity. Users can now model server interfaces or companion specifications in the TIA Portal V16. In simplified form and without the need for specialist knowledge, it is possible to create a server interface or use a companion specification. The OPC UA server functionality for the Simatic S7-1500 controllers is supplemented with additional diagnostic buffer entries: OPC UA messages can now be combined to only appear once in the diagnostic buffer.