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AB vs Siemens

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I have two integrators putting basically the same system into a facility. Our customer is supplying them both with one system each. One customer spec'd AB Panelview 10" touch and an L23E processor. The second customer wants to use siemens. What is the equivelant HMI and PLC that they offer and the same for software. The end user (yes there are four layers of people here, us, the builder, the two integrators, and the end user) has a facility that is all AB ethernet monitored systems. What is the best method for having them talk to each other.

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Siemens is a great platform. However,most people hate it. Unless you are used to and familiar with Siemens you will not understand how it works. I would never consider bringing in a Siemens option to an all AB plant. Your name will be cursed forever.

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Like Ken said, Siemens is a great platform. I worked, as a tech., for a company that had AB and Siemens PLCs in the different machines. The majority of the techs., including me, struggled with the Siemens software for programming and troubleshooting. We all where used to AB not the Siemens. Once one of the techs. was proficient with the Siemens and could explain it to us it was easier, not as easy as AB, to use. If you want Siemens make sure that you have someone there that can handle it.

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People like what is familiar to them. The Allen-Bradley logo is an octagon (the universal symbol for stop), yet people are willing to put up with all kinds of issues with their products in the US because they are familiar with them. People in Europe LOVE Siemens. People in Asia generally prefer Omron or Mitsubishi. None of them are perfect. All of them have their merits and their flaws. All of that aside, the desires of the customer who will live with the control system for the next 10+ years should matter most. If they are an all A-B plant, they should at least be consulted on using a different brand. Assuming the plant wants to try Siemens, look at the specifications for the requirements of the machine. Depending on the speed of processing required, the amount of processing required and the I/O count, there are at least 4 different PLCs that might overlap with the CompactLogix, with 3 different software packages. There are several displays to choose from as well, depending on number of colors, type of interface, etc. In general I would start with the S7-1200 series as it uses the same software for the PLC and the HMI. But you must look at all of the specifications to make sure of a fit. Do everyone involved a favor and make sure what the end customer wants. If the end customer does not buy in to the system provided, it will never end well. My $0.02. Ian Edited by ianbuckley

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Thanks for all the advice. I have been working with the 200 series cpu for some time without much trouble, but also without much in the way of a challenge. I know the end user has all AB in one building, this is actually in a different building and the customer already sent them their spec sheets calling for Siemens without any negative feedback. I looked at the 1214 cpu with a 6" color. The only unknown here for me is the communication between the two as far as how tagging works on this platform.

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I have not yet had the chance to build a system with S7-1200. I have pitched a few, but these customers wanted S7-300 because they already stocked them. From what I remember from the full day lunch and learn (over a year ago now), it was one tag database that was accessed by both the PLC and the HMI inside Step7 Basic. A word of warning though, Step7 Basic (S7-1200) seemed a lot more similar to Step 7 Standard (S7-300/400) than Step7 MicroWin (S7-200), just with nice tight integration for the HMI. So there might be a little bit of a learning curve if MicroWin is all you have used before. Nothing earth-shattering, but there are differences.

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yeah I have heard the two platforms are as similar as micrologix is to contrologix....same family different features. One of my biggest concerns is the HMI integration. I have worked with AB Eaton, and Mitsu, but not Siemens. Any pointers or resources, similarities to anything I am familiar with would help. Thanks again.

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I am not sure of the type of application you are using, but the stuff I have done was all push-buttons, lights, setup values and messages (very little in the way of animation). WinCC Flexible is very similar to every other manufacturer in generating the displays. Setting up communication between S7-300 and MP277 is fairly painless. You do have to export/import tags from the PLC program or enter them manually. Step7 Basic (S7-1200) has the HMI and the PLC in the same application suite. It is a bit of a resource hog and the screen resolution requirements are high, but you can have the HMI and PLC logic open in the same window and drag and drop tags from the central tag database. It really seemed like they had focused on the PLC-HMI integration when they designed it. The manuals are available on line (http://support.automation.siemens.com is a good place to start). Hope this helps. Ian

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Thanks again, still learning the siemens side of things and their website is even more segmented than AB. Does anyone else find that these sites are a chore to get the information you are looking for. I am now trying to find data on cabling. I have a 226 processor and a 6" basic touch screen both have the serial port. I have not been able to confirm the wiring pinout or any recommended part numbers. Is there a resource I am missing or a link on their site that will give me that info?

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AB > Siemens With AB you spend more time trying to solve the problem. With Siemens you spend more time just learning how to use the S7 than solve the probelm Left over mental energy can then be use to solve the problem.
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Don't mind Peter...he is still a bit sore about Step7. "Siemens, I hate the programming software..."

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I don't mind personal opinions, I have my own on alot of things as well. It seems to me that siemens is very much like most of the german people I have met. Very much about I am going to do this one thing, and now I am going to do this next one thing, after that I will do that one thing, never really multitasking, but efficient the same. I do not mean this in a bad way, I have several close friends that operate this way and often it gets results. I have found in learning many different software applications that each has its own set of features or styles, and often those can be used in all apps once the interpretation of each style is understood. Not sure if I am being clear here but for instance, you can take the way AD drum sequencing works, and apply it to AB, Eaton, Mitsu ect once you know how the drum sequencer works. When it is broken down into its elements, those elements can be transferred into any language. I believe learning siemens this will be true as well.

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I'm not sure if your original question was answered or not, I got a little lost in the conversation, but you can use a Red Lion Data Station to bridge the communications between Siemens and AB. It is by far the easiest way to do it. http://www.redlion.net/Products/HumanMachineInterface/DataStationPlus.html

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I didn't know that I was being videoed when that happened but I though it was good and honest so I kept it and posted it. Yes, I will always be sore because we have wasted to much effort support Siemens S7 when the Siemens people should be doing it. Look at the number of S7 questions about simple stuff that should be a given. Look at this thread. http://www.plctalk.net/qanda/showthread.php?t=65652 One must know that the parameters are copied to the stack before the call and then AR1 is pointing to the variables on the stack. One can find the address of the parameters ON THE STACK but not where they actually are in memory. So why all the posts on this thread? Doesn't anybody know how a S7 works? Obviously not from the responses I see. The bigger question is why does AlecTek need to know the address of the word or integer? Look at plcs.net right now. See how many S7 related posts there are relative to the other PLCs. Look at how many posts are about how to do this or that with the S7 and not how to get the job done. I can understand if the questions were application question but no, they are question about how to make the PLC do something. The first time we got an S7 to talk to a RMC over Profibus it took 4 hours for a Siemens engineer to figure out how to do it and that is with help from Johnson City. There is nothing to configure in the RMC. Many of my S7 customers can't program very well in STL. I have had to write a fair amount of the communications code between the S7 and the our motion controller. If the code is on the S7 then Siemens should be helping the customers with writing the communication code and not us. If Siemens had a decent MSG block it would be so easy but NOOOOOO. I have spent way too much time supporting Siemens PLCs. This isn't an opinion. It is a fact. I monitor the main PLC forums. Have any of you seen long threads about our product? NO and why not? Because I think it is a major embarrassment to have a lot of questions about a product especially when it is the same questions over and over and over and over again. When the same questions get asked over and over and over and over again it is a sign of a poor product design or poor documentation. BTW, our motion controller can bridge between AB and Siemens. Oh did I mention Omron, Modbus/TCP and Mitsubishi too and I may have left out a few. What we have notice is that Omron and Modicon are/have embraced Etherenet/IP.

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Awe...it's all fun and games Peter. We old admin's know this is your "button", so when it comes up we try and press it to poke at ya! Your right though...but it's still fun to joke about it.

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Peter you and I should talk sometime when you want to vent about Siemens. You won't believe the project I've been involved in recently.

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i'll just say i'm not siemens fan otherwise this will quickly turn ugggggly...

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<br>I will keep my Skype on.<div>Lets hear about your project.</div><div><br><br><br><br></div> Edited by Peter Nachtwey

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There is a new alternative on the market. First, a disclosure - I work for this company, GP Systems GmbH. The line of controllers is called Regul RX00 and combines increased requirements to the availability - yes, we designed them initially for the process industries and before had extensive integration experience of Siemens. One of such features - switchover in 5 ms. Removed limitations on how modules could be placed in the system, added fiber optic option between racks (even CPU), all the common protocols (OPC, Modbus, IEC 101/104) to integrate with other systems, and created a free programming tool with IEC 61131-3 languages. 

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