Laboratory automation with SIMATIC PCS 7 LAB Collection

Applications

One of the main tasks in process development is obtaining information on reactions and procedures. For this reason, laboratory trials are of crucial importance. Today, countless series of trials continue to be carried out in many laboratories in order to determine the most suitable reaction parameters and the most favorable mixing ratios of input materials. At this stage, automation solutions tailor-made for laboratories can significantly facilitate the execution of trials and the reproducibility of the trial results. The series of trials can run completely automatically without supervising personnel and processes are brought to a safe state if any unexpected events occur.

After successful synthesis, the solutions for control tasks can easily be transferred in scale-up for use in the test center, pilot plants and production.

The PCS 7 LAB Collection is not only suitable for autonomous laboratory automation. The integration of the laboratory automation system into the SIMATIC PCS 7 plant network enables the efficient exchange of information as well as the simple transfer of laboratory results to the production processes.

Preferred fields of application for the PCS 7 LAB Collection are:

  • Process engineering laboratories in the process industry
    (chemical and pharmaceutical industries, biotechnology,food and beverage industry) 

  • Training establishments (universities, technical colleges)

  • Test bench automation systems


Features

The PCS 7 LAB Collection enables continuous acquisition of all influencing variables and status data over the entire course of an experiment. In this way, reliable and reproducible information can be obtained with a minimum of effort for further analysis, be it for the specification of input material or the optimization of the process.

Based on components of the scalable process control system SIMATIC PCS 7, the PCS 7 LAB Collection can be used to implement a robust, modular laboratory automation system which effectively protects the employees, the laboratory technology and the environment. The system allows the flexible use of employees: the continuous monitoring of process engineering values combined with the efficient automatic alarm system when limit values are violated directs attention to the exact areas affected. In critical situations, the process control system can bring the experiment to a safe, stable state if necessary and thus prevent personal injury and damage to equipment. Independent of this, employee intervention for the correction of faults is possible at any time.

The functions of this modern solution meet the individual requirements of a laboratory. For example, the automatic processing and documentation of series of trials with different parameter sets and/or process structures is possible by means of a user-friendly Excel interface. At the same time, there are additional possibilities for further analysis, for example, the evaluation and visualization of trial results with line or bar graphs.

The information acquired during laboratory experiments is stored in an archive so that it can be accessed without problems at a later time. Integrated data export, for example, in the widespread CSV format, significantly facilitates the further evaluation of measured values in any application. The comprehensive message system logs all alarms and error messages that occur during an experiment.

With the PCS 7 LAB Collection, we offer you a SIMATIC PCS 7 automation project which is tailor-made for the specific requirements of a laboratory. This allows you to assemble your laboratory automation system flexibly depending on the project specifications and to have an influence on the design and installation technology. Hardware and SIMATIC PCS 7 system software for automation, engineering, operator control and monitoring can be ordered separately using configuration lists via the SIMATIC PCS 7 main catalog ST PCS 7 and supplementary SIMATIC catalogs.


The hardware and software components described in the PCS 7 LAB Collection configuration lists are categorized as follows:

  • System for automation, engineering, operator control and monitoring, alternatives:
    All-in-one system with SIMATIC PCS 7 functionality for operator control and monitoring (OS), engineering (ES) and automation (AS) in one device:
    SIMATIC PCS 7 BOX RTX compact system with SIMATIC PCS 7 AS/OS engineering software V7.1+SP2, suitable for OS productive operation, or
    Distributed system in which the AS functionality is exported to an external SIMATIC PCS 7 automation system:
    SIMATIC PCS 7 AS RTX and SIMATIC PCS 7 ES/OS system (for example, SIMATIC PCS 7 BOX ES/OS system) with SIMATIC PCS 7 AS/OS engineering software V7.1+SP2, suitable for OS productive operation

  • Distributed I/O for connection of laboratory equipment, alternatives based on:
    ET 200pro or
    ET 200S

  • Components for serial connection of third-party devices, alternatives based on:
    ET 200M or
    ET 200S


The advantages at a glance:

  • Increased reliability of test execution and monitoring

  • Significant increase in quality of information through automation of test execution

  • Effective exchange of information and simple transfer of laboratory results to other applications or production processes results in optimization of the value chain

  • Equipped for daily work at the laboratory: robust and compact housings can be integrated into any laboratory

  • Centralized or distributed installation of modules by means of plug-in connections makes for flexible operation at different locations

  • Intuitive handling allows a trial setup without any specialists for process control engineering

  • Measuring devices, pumps, drives, weighing devices, thermostats and cryostats as well as other laboratory equipment can be easily connected

  • Convenient creation or variation of applications through integration of customer-specific as well as lab-specific libraries and device drivers

  • Laboratory employees are freed from routine work such as recording of process parameters

  • High quality standard, world-wide logistics and long-tem support due to SIMATIC platform