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Process simulate: Virtual Commisioning



I have a some questions about VC with Process Simulate:


I have made an robotic cell in PS12.1.1 witch i want to connect to a real PLC (TIAPORTAL Project)

we wil use I/O and Safety I/O with Profinet/Profisafe...


the main goal is to do a complete VC for this project:


A) What hardware setup wil i need for this? (do i need extra hardware, SIMBA-Box??)


b) What can i test in Process Simulate? (Robot program's, safety doors, conveyers?)


c) How much work and witch work is needed to prepare a VC project for 1 simple PLC cell (ex:3 robots, 2 fixure's, 1 rollerdoor..)

-> I got the Process simulate dump with all path's and devices ready (standard mode/ NOT line simulation mode) 


thanks in advance!


Frederik VMA


Re: Process simulate: Virtual Commisioning

Hi Fred-rob


First thing's first: For Safety simulation in PS you need SimulationUnit (formerly known as SimbaBox).

It will emulate the complete network configuration and any Safety included.

You can find many tutorials online for how to connect a SimulationUnit with TIA Portal.

Is PS you will need to define a "Simba PNIO" External connection which is pretty simple as well.


Since you are asking about how to switch to PLC mode, let me ask you first: Are you familiar with Line Simulation mode? 


If you are, than the main differences in PLC mode (any PLC connection) are:

  1. Modules (Modeule Viewer) are not executed at all (such logic should come from the PLC itself).
  2. Operations no longer start using the previous operation's end condition and Links, but rather start when their "Start_op" signal is triggered. You need to create a Start signal for every operation you want to run (Object Flow, Non-Sim) and trigger it when you want to run this operation from either the PLC or PS. You can create these signals easily using the dedicated commands (search for "Start Signal" in the PS help, for examle the "Create All Flow Start Signals" command). Start signal do not relate to Robotic Operation which should run using Robot Programs and Robot Default Signals. 
  3. Map your signals with your PLC tags and mark any signal with the appropriate External Connection. Take special care here. If the PS and PLC Process Images (list of signals) do not match, simulation will not run. You can use various tools in PS for this: Signal Mapping Tool, Connection Mapping, etc. See the Help for more information.



Effort-wise: there is some effort involved in switching from Standard to LS mode and then (or directly) to PLC mode since you need to change and take care of your process sequence differently (by using Transition Conditions in LS mode and Start signals in PLC mode), take care of Material Flow, Signals, Robot Programs instead of operations and Logic in general (Modules, Logic Blocks). For PLC mode you obvisouly have to also take care of setting up any software\hardware and connectivity. The complexity and effort varies greatly depending on data and user experience so it's hard for me to estimate of course. 


It takes some work to get there, but many steps are re-usable later so it takes less time and of course the added value of such simulation is briliant. 


I hope this helps clarify things for you. Let me know if I can further assist, and feel free to share your results(if you can) and any comments!


Kind regards,
Gal Snir

Re: Process simulate: Virtual Commisioning



i have a question about Simba box.


Do Simba box support data exchange with controllers from Rockwell Automation?


Re: Process simulate: Virtual Commisioning

SIMBA, or as the latest generation is called "Simulation Unit" is not exactly bound to Siemens.

As long as you can load your bus-configuration onto it, it will emulate Profinet components on the fieldbus.


I know only about Simatic and Phoenix Contact, able to export such configuration.


If Rockwell supports it, you may ask the Simba support, AFAIK:



Re: Process simulate: Virtual Commisioning

[ Edited ]


according to Gals post a SU is necessary to map safety signals.

I assume that an SU is not necessary when the new PLCSim Advanced is used since the SU connects to the real HW.
My question is: How is dealt with Safety when PLCSim Advanced is connected to PS > 13.0?

best regards
Lars Jordan

Re: Process simulate: Virtual Commisioning

[ Edited ]

Hi Lars,

let's hope explaining it using my own words is not total nonsense, as I'm not a safety expert ;-)


It's not about mapping the signals. Safety signals are adressed like common signals.

E.g. in PS you won't see/need any parity-signals.


The problem is, that a hardware F-CPU will refuse to work and show a fieldbus-failure, if the safety devices do not tell the PLC that they are alive. The SIMBA emulates their behavior and PROFINET protocols.


PSA does not support PROFINET at all. So it ignores these safety protokolls.

This and the missing real-time behavior differentiates soft-PLC and virtual PLC.


BTW: 13.0 does not support PSA. This feature came officially with 13.1.1.

and also: keep in mind, that PSA is still not completely open to the public. Each order is going to be checked by the PSA product-manager, before Siemens FA will hand out any license.

Re: Process simulate: Virtual Commisioning

Ah, messed up the PS version number again, sorry. Of course I mean PS 13.1 Smiley Happy

Thank you for your explanation. I think, I've got the point.

Re: Process simulate: Virtual Commisioning

Sorry, but still not correct: not 13.1 (December'16), but 13.1.1 (March'17)