Expandable, multilingual, and future-proof

The openness of the Engineering Software manifests itself in more than just one way:
individual functional enhancements by employing scripts, importing or exporting mass data, e.g.when translating project texts externally or easy migration of project data in order to secure investment. Openess after all is also a perequisite for a comprehensive Runtime simulation.

Individual expansions by means of scripting

Normally, screens, links and dynamic processes are configured via simple and user-friendly dialogs. For individual, flexible expansions, VBScript provides a powerful and easy to learn script language based on Visual Basic. A user-friendly editor and code templates also facilitate the programming. The Auto complete function permits high-speed programming of the accesses to runtime objects and a simple creation of control sequences in the script. Debugging is possible in the simulator during the engineering and, if required, also at runtime.

For WinCC Runtime Professional, there is also the option of integrating ANSI-C scripts. The scripts themselves have access to the properties and methods of all WinCC graphic objects, to ActiveX Controls and to the object model of applications from other manufacturers. This allows the dynamic behavior of objects to be controlled, and it also allows a connection between WinCC and applications from other manufacturers to be established easily (e.g. Microsoft Excel and Microsoft SQL databases).

Multi- language project support

Machine manufacturers normally supply customers from around the world. The localizability of user interfaces has long been an indispensable feature in terms of global competition. At the same time, the customers of machine manufacturers and plant constructors are becoming increasing multinational in their structure, but for reasons of productivity and quality assurance they insist on the global standardization of production processes in their plants. The service personnel of a machine manufacturer provide support to plants in several countries and the capability of being able to switch over to a familiar interface language supports both the teleservicing and onsite service. Finally, it is no longer unusual that the operators of a plant have varying degrees of proficiency in various languages, which makes it a good idea in terms of operational safety to have the capability of switching over to the respective mother tongue. All of these are reasons for deciding on HMI software that is not limited in terms of language diversity.

WinCC supports up to 32 languages for creating multi-lingual configurations, up to 32 of which can be selected during operation depending on the target system. Asian and Cyrillic character sets are also supported. In engineering, selectable views allow multi-lingual text entry directly in the context of the configuration objects (e.g. operating screens or alarms). Language-dependent texts can also be accessed centrally. The central project text editor allows access to all of the texts and thus provides the capability of conveniently and quickly translating the texts in the engineering system. All language versions of an HMI application can be implemented in a project. Changes to the project are immediately updated in all of the created language versions.

An import and export interface with the open XLSX format (also supported by Microsoft EXCEL) allows the project texts to also be further processed in Unicode outside of the engineering system using external tools, e.g. for translation by a service provider. This is of particular interest, for example, if a global machine builder would like to have his WinCC project translated into Asian pictographic languages (e.g. Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Japanese) for export.

Country-specific features, however, are not only available for texts. There are many instances when it is also necessary to adapt graphics to country-specific conditions, which might, for example, rule out the use of certain colors or which take regionally established operating symbols into consideration. For this reason, the central graphic collection of the system also supports the management of multi-language graphics.

Investment security as configuration data can be migrated
Implemented solutions and configurations and applications that have been created using a great deal of expertise and effort are among the most valuable possessions of machine manufacturers and plant constructors or system integrators. Investment security therefore means that any innovation in the engineering software, however far-reaching and revolutionary it may be, must never lead to customers no longer being able to use their engineering efforts. SIMATIC software has always been developed in such a way that a migration is ensured to the greatest possible extent with the lowest possible outlay.

Migration of projects of the WinCC family
With WinCC (TIA Portal) it is possible to migrate WinCC flexible projects that exist in the WinCC flexible 2008 SP2 version. After the migration, the engineering data is available in WinCC. It is also possible to import the Runtime data such as logs and alarms during the migration. In this way, the history of a running system is not lost after a migration. For projects that have been created using WinCC V7, there will be a converter in a future version of WinCC (TIA Portal).

Importing/exporting of mass data
Data such as HMI tags, alarms, and text lists whose configuration data is already defined can easily be imported into TIA Portal projects. HMI configuration data can be easily created via this. HMI tags and alarms can also be exported. The Open Office XML, which is provided by various applications, is used as a format for import/export.

Importing/exporting of texts
Texts that were stored in the shared text library of a project can also be exported. This is helpful for translating them independently of the engineering software. The format of the exported data is also Open Office XML, an open standard. When exporting the texts, the point of usage and, for example, the name of the corresponding screen or alarm is also exported, so that the text can be translated in context. After the translation, the XML file can be re-imported into the TIA Portal project and the translated texts are available in the configuration data.

Runtime simulation

Simulation systems provide effective support with the development of programs and the actual application.

A simulated test environment including controller and process reduces, for example, commissioning times and thus costs. Depending on the progress of the project, the functionality to be tested, and the degree of integration, three kinds of simulation are available:

  • HMI tag simulation with tag table
    The testing of the configuration without a connected controller or without a running process via the tag simulator cost-effectively checks an HMI project for inner consistency. In the simulator, the configured tags are simulated; for example, do the configured color changes agree with the value pattern of a tag? The configured tags can be manipulated, activated and deactivated in the course of simulation. The simulator provides various kinds of simulations for this (sine, random, increment, etc.).

  • HMI project simulation with simulated controller (PLCSIM)
    For testing the interaction of a WinCC configuration with the PLC, the project can be tested on the engineering PC in combination with a simulated controller (PLCSIM). The PowerTags are directly provided with the values of the simulated PLC program.

  • HMI project simulation with a connected, real controller
    The simulation of a WinCC configuration in communication with a real controller provides the greatest degree of integration and accuracy. In this case, the WinCC simulation connects directly to the PLC in the plant via PROFIBUS, Ethernet, or PROFINET. The PowerTags are directly provided with the values of the real process in the plant.