ARCwire -- Siemens Automation and Drives (A&D) has improved the performance of its Simatic PCS 7 process control system in the new version 7, and added a host of new functions. These include innovations in the areas of process security, asset management for plant components, and data exchange.
Plant security in version 7 is enhanced by the intelligent alarm management system that prioritizes incoming alarms so that operating personnel can pinpoint the most urgent cases. Also new is comprehensive protection against hacker attacks on plant operator's IT systems. The alarm management system is based on the coordinated interaction of individual measures, such as encryption or firewalls, and a defense-in-depth security architecture.
In addition, the new version allows integration of nonintelligent plant components into plant-level asset management. To monitor mechanical assets—such as heat exchangers, tanks, pumps, or motors—special functions have been developed via which maintenance alarms can be channeled into the asset management system and thus displayed to the service personnel on the maintenance station.
Simatic PCS 7 Version 7 offers redundant Profibus-PA fieldbus communications, based on couplers and intelligent active field distributors (AFDs). This now provides plant operators with a fully integrated and scalable redundancy solution, from the automation system right through to the PA field device. The new version also has interfaces to Foundation Fieldbus and thus creates a link for FF instruments and actuators. With the OpenPCS-7 interface of version 7, users can also integrate their control systems direct into higher-level systems for production planning, process data evaluation, and management.
The Engineering Station function has also been added to the Simatic Logon user management system, allowing comprehensive access protection and traceability of changes for configuring purposes. The new function of online multi-user engineering enables several specialists to access the central database in parallel and work on the plant configuration.