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Old June 9th, 2016, 07:55 AM   #1
TheoPap
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Learning PLC using software for simulation & emulation (Virtual environment)

Hi guys, sorry for my english, i am new at plctalk, great forum, great threads. So i want to learn plc as qualification for job applications. I did a research about software, tutorial, books, continue doing that, but time is ticking away so i need an advise from someone more experience to direct me and start practice. To the point, besides theory i need to get hands on practice. At first i don't have the opportunity to pursue hardware, so i need a software to simulate the hardware (PLC), as possible as i have the hardware in front of me. After programming plc for specific purpose i need a software/ tool to emulate & visualize the result, something like virtual environment, virtual plant with machines & conveyors (industrial equipment). That's my point, is that possible? I know there is Codesys, Automation Studio, a software call Delmia, Siemens Environment (simatic s7, TIA Portal, WinCC, PLCSIM). Which of those software or any other are relevant to what i want to do? Thank you in advance

Last edited by TheoPap; June 9th, 2016 at 08:04 AM.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 08:04 AM   #2
gclshortt
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http://accautomation.ca/how-you-can-...ending-a-dime/

http://accautomation.ca/create-a-plc...ironment-free/

The above are a couple of links to set up a PLC simulator. (Do-More Simulator and also an AdvancedHMI communicating Modbus TCP.)

http://accautomation.ca/who-else-wan...ming-for-free/

This link will help get you started on program development:
http://accautomation.ca/five-steps-t...m-development/

Regards,
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Old June 9th, 2016, 08:39 AM   #3
geniusintraining
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If I were you I would not use Automation Direct products... I would learn TIA portal and they do offer a simulator

http://www.industry.siemens.com/topi...imulation.aspx

http://www.industry.siemens.com/topi...s/default.aspx
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Old June 9th, 2016, 08:44 AM   #4
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First step would be to find out which hardware/software is mainly used in your area. Look for job advertisements in your country, they will usually say which software you should know for the job.

My guess would be Siemens(Tia portal, simatic, WinCC) and then Allen Bradley (Rockwell automation, RSlogix 500/5000). Both have free trial versions of their software available.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 08:45 AM   #5
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Thank you all for your quick reply. Yes siemens i think is more popular in automation in my area. I know about step7, but before go further and learn i want to know if can help me learn plc the way i mentioned at first. Does siemens offer a virtual environment with actual machines to test plc program? Can you explain me in a hurry what all of those modules (TIA PORTAL, Simatic, PLCSIM, WINCC) do?I need all of them for my purpose? I had never use a plc software before, that the reason i ask in detail (and maybe stupid) questions

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Old June 9th, 2016, 08:51 AM   #6
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Tia portal (which includes step 7 and Wincc) is to program the PLC and the HMI.

PLCSim is to simulate a real PLC and HMI. This is all Siemens products which probably is the most used in your country.

Simatic step7 v5.5 is used to program the older PLCs (s7-300 and s7-400 series). But these can also be programmed in the new TIA-portal which is also used to program the new s7-1200 and s7-1500 series.


But, it is possible that the Allen Bradley is more popular in your country that uses the RSlogix 500 and Rslogix 5000 software.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 10:15 AM   #7
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Understanding the process that you want to control is the most important thing.
The sequence of operation, can then be put into a flow diagram or similar structure.

Programming the hardware (PLC) is always the last step. Do not get bogged down in all of the details between manufactures.
They will all do the same thing in the end. Siemens, AB, Omron, Koyo, etc.

Great advise from Diameter157 in checking out the main hardware/software used in the area.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 10:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gclshortt View Post
Understanding the process that you want to control is the most important thing..
Why not learn something that you are going to work on first... the odds of finding a Do-More in Greece is slim to non

I sell a lot to Greece and 99% of the orders are Siemens or Siemens related, learning TIA is something that will help them in the future, once they have the basics and then move onto another platform
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Old June 9th, 2016, 10:44 AM   #9
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So i f i decide to go with siemens environment, i need to install Tia Portal which contains the siemens PLC modules & the programming environment (can i use it without physical hardware?). After that to simulate my project i need PLCSim, right? PLCSim contains virtual actual machines to test the simulated plc project ? If not how can i do this or there is another software which can i link to PLCSim for this purpose? What about Wincc and HMI?
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Old June 9th, 2016, 10:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geniusintraining View Post
Why not learn something that you are going to work on first... the odds of finding a Do-More in Greece is slim to non

I sell a lot to Greece and 99% of the orders are Siemens or Siemens related, learning TIA is something that will help them in the future, once they have the basics and then move onto another platform
+1.
Worse case scenario, see if you can purchase a LOGO through ebay. It is a good starting point and you'll be able to "play" with actual hardware.
Buying the Siemens software will cost you, especially if you go for the PRO version.
The PRO version comes with all the packages (PLCsim, SCL, etc).
Keep in mind that Classic step 7 and TIA portal are 2 different packages.
There's also the STEP 7 Lite (free) you can download from the Siemens web site so you can start with.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 10:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheoPap View Post
So i f i decide to go with siemens environment, i need to install Tia Portal which contains the siemens PLC modules & the programming environment (can i use it without physical hardware?). After that to simulate my project i need PLCSim, right? PLCSim contains virtual actual machines to test the simulated plc project ? If not how can i do this or there is another software which can i link to PLCSim for this purpose? What about Wincc and HMI?
WinCC Flex (HMI development software, comfort panels, etc) is a different package.
WinCC is a full blown sCADA package you do not need that for starters, I think.
It does not come with Portal.
You'll need to purchase it separately.
Though, it is fully integrated within Portal.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 10:51 AM   #12
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There's a member on here, grNick I think, he is local (Ptolemaida), he may be able to help out with most of your questions.
See if you can send him a PM.
I know pumping stations, municipal installations and such in Greece are (or used to be) heavily Siemens.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 10:53 AM   #13
bkottaras
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheoPap View Post
So i f i decide to go with siemens environment, i need to install Tia Portal which contains the siemens PLC modules & the programming environment (can i use it without physical hardware?). After that to simulate my project i need PLCSim, right? PLCSim contains virtual actual machines to test the simulated plc project ? If not how can i do this or there is another software which can i link to PLCSim for this purpose? What about Wincc and HMI?
Yes, you can use the TIA portal without physical hardware.
Without the PLCsim though, you can only learn on how to go about using it and programming.
You can create projects and practice "coding", not a bad start if you ask me!
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Old June 9th, 2016, 10:59 AM   #14
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grnick50 is the members handle.
Do a search on here and send him a PM.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 03:52 PM   #15
mk42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheoPap View Post
So i f i decide to go with siemens environment, i need to install Tia Portal which contains the siemens PLC modules & the programming environment (can i use it without physical hardware?). After that to simulate my project i need PLCSim, right? PLCSim contains virtual actual machines to test the simulated plc project ? If not how can i do this or there is another software which can i link to PLCSim for this purpose? What about Wincc and HMI?
Note that the cheapest version of Step 7 is Step 7 Basic, for the S7-1200, and costs around $400 US. Not sure what you'd be paying over there. If your main goal is to practice the basics it might be cheaper to buy a smart relay (From Siemens, that would be a LOGO), and the much cheaper software associated with that, or a low end PLC like the Automation Direct others have mentioned. That said, having the Siemens experience on your resume may have a lot of value, so that's a call you'll have to make, based on what you can afford.

PLCsim executes your code, and basically acts just like a PLC in the real world. However, it doesn't automatically turn the IO on/off to simulate a real machine, it only simulates your ladder logic. What I've sometimes done is create an extra section of logic that pretends about the real world. If I set an output that closes a contactor, I can then turn on the corresponding input that the contactor feedback is tied to, potentially after a short timer.

There are simulation packages out there that can simulate real IO networks, robots, etc, but they usually cost tens of thousands of dollars, and are normally used by companies who are trying to do a "virtual startup" of their plant, to test the code before they start actually building anything. I don't think you'll be likely to find anything in your price range that can actually simulate a real machine.

If you buy Step 7 basic, it will come with WinCC Basic, to configure the Basic line panels. It also comes with a simulator, so that your Simulated PLC can talk to your Simulated HMI.
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