Usually, when someone goes to start programming automation devices, the software can become overwhelming very quickly. What software do I need? Where is it all located? Siemens has taken a new approach to this problem with their TIA Portal software. Totally Integrated Automation has taken all software and combined them into a powerful tool in one place to make the programmer or person troubleshooting’s life easier.
With TIA Portal, you can program and troubleshoot any of the S7 series of PLC in the same program, as well as include Siemens HMI, VFDs, Control Products, Network Switches, Computers, and Remote I/O. The end-user will select additional add-ons to Portal for their needs such as HMI, controls, VFD, etc.
Devices all share a common data base, so common functionality like connecting an HMI to a PLC no longer require the need to create 2 tags and ensure they are linked and spelled the exact same. With TIA users drag and drop the tag from the PLC and place it on the HMI screen.
Troubleshooting is easy now with direct access to the diagnostics buffer. A person can access the PLC while it is running and see in detail what the PLC sees and why it is giving a particular fault. TIA will also give suggestions via the online help on how to remedy the error.
Products can be added to the program via the traditional hardware catalog or through a new method called Detect, where the software will go out and ping the PLC to find out exactly what processer and I/O cards are included.
Another highlight of TIA Portal is that any license key for a newer version will also activate a trial license for older versions of software. With the older software you don’t need to have virtual machines on your engineering station to run the software, it can all be installed on the same partition and be run side by side. Migrating projects from an older version to the latest version is done within the software via the migration tool.
TIA Portal software is managed by the Automation License Manager (ALM). This tool allows you to see all software installed and update your software. It provides access to the license keys for the software which with a USB thumb drive can be transferred from one machine to another easily. This also provides the ability to connect to a server with the license keys on it to be able to check the license keys in and out for use on multiple machines.
TIA Portal is a great tool that allows the user to have everything in one place, without having to open multiple programs to get their automation system up and running. With everything under the same software, Tags and other shared data can be easily configured. No longer do you have to worry about misspelling a Tag name between two pieces of software or making sure the IP Address is the same. TIA Portal takes a lot of the frustration out of commissioning and troubleshooting your automation system.