What is PLC Lab?¶
PLC-Lab is a 2D process simulation. With PLC-Lab, virtual test environments or systems can be created and then used for testing PLC programs or GRAFCETs. The objects in PLC-Lab offer extensive design and setting options, so the variety of project types that can be implemented with PLC-Lab is very high:
The objects can be assigned physical properties, which then influence the behavior of the objects during simulation. For example, objects can be depend on gravity and be magnetic. In addition, you can set parameters such as density, surface friction and elasticity. An integrated physics engine ensures the realistic simulation of the objects.
The user interface and the drawing area of PLC-Lab are entirely vector-oriented. This means that the objects in PLC-Lab can be enlarged or reduced in size without any loss of quality. The user interface is also displayed razor sharp on high-resolution screens (e.g. 4K).
The setup of a system or test environment is straightforward. Use of PLC-Lab is based on programs such as PowerPoint by Microsoft.
For whom is PLC-Lab suitable?¶
PLC-Lab can be used in both industry and training.
In industry, PLC-Lab enables the safe and convenient simulation of entire projects or individual project components. In this way, a PLC program or a GRAFCET can be tested without damaging the hardware. A test can also take place even if the hardware is not yet available. Such a preliminary commissioning saves time and money. You can run a test with PLC-Lab much more extensively, since the system behavior does not have to be brought about "manually". Things such as sensor behavior (normally open/ normally closed) are set once and then no longer need to be observed. The programmer can concentrate fully on testing the program. Even "peripheral areas" of a system, which in reality are difficult to bring about, can be carried out in PLC-Lab in order to test the program behavior at these "extreme points".
In the area of training, PLC-Lab can provide each student with their own system for the program test. This means that every student can safely practice commissioning situations. There is no way to damage hardware. The instructors may create a wide range of system examples without incurring additional costs. The systems of vocational final examinations can also be reproduced and made available to each trainee for examination preparation.
If a system has been created in PLC-Lab for a certain type of controller, it can easily be rewired to another type of controller. If the operands are also available in the new control system. For industrial use, this means that when changing the controller family, the previously used virtual PLC-Lab system can easily still be used. During training, the instructor can use the virtual PLC-Lab system for different controller families, depending on the type of training.
What target systems are supported?¶
PLC-Lab supports the following PLC or programming systems:
- PLCSIM of the S7-1500 within the Siemens TIA-Portal (as of V13).
- PLCSIM of the S7-1200 within the Siemens TIA-Portal (as of V13).
- PLCSIM of the S7-300/400 within the Siemens TIA-Portal (as of V13).
- PLCSIM of the S7-300/400 within the Simatic Manager (as of V5.5).
- WinSPS-S7 V6
- Connection to a real S7-1500 via Ethernet to the Profinet interface of the CPU.
- Connection to a real S7-1200 via Ethernet to the Profinet interface of the CPU.
- Connection to a real S7-300/400 via Ethernet, Simatic-Net, or NetLink Pro.
- Connection to a real LOGO! from Siemens via Ethernet (0BA7, 0BA8, LOGO!8)
Version types or editions¶
Device support of the editions:
Only the Pro-Edition supports real PLCs and SIEMENS S7-PLCSIM
The Pro-Edition supports all available devices:
Supported simulation devices:
- PLCSIM of the S7-1200 in the TIA-Portal as of V13 (named PLCSim)
- PLCSIM of the S7-1500 in the TIA-Portal as of V13 (named PLCSim)
- PLCSIM of the S7-300/400 in the TIA-Portal as of V13 (named PLCSim300)
- PLCSIM of the S7-300/400 in the Simatic Manager as of V5.5 (named PLCSim300)
- GRAFCET-Studio (named "Sim")
- WinSPS-S7 V6 (named "Sim")
Supported real devices:
- S7-1500 via Ethernet to the Profinet interface of the CPU.
- S7-1200 via Ethernet to the Profinet interface of the CPU.
- S7-300 and compatible via Ethernet/Profinet interface of the CPU, NetLink PRO, NetLink Compact and Simatic NET.
- S7-400 and compatible via Ethernet/Profinet interface of the CPU, NetLink PRO, NetLink Compact and Simatic NET.
- LOGO! from Siemens via Ethernet (0BA7, 0BA8, LOGO!8)
Note: There is also a Runtime version of PLC-Lab included in the book Step7-Workbook for S7-1200/1500 and TIA PORTAL. With this runtime version, only the systems/machines from the book can be loaded. It is not possible to create projects. This documentation only describes the standard PLC-Lab software and not the runtime version.