Siemens Pulls a Breakthrough in New Simatic Platform

Siemens has made a breakthrough in the longstanding challenge of closely managing numerous hardware control points throughout the factory. Specifically, the company has introduced the new Siemens Simatic Automation Workstation.

The platform allows manufacturers to replace a hardware PLC, a conventional HMI, and an edge device with a single, software-based workstation. Thus, this ushers in Internet Technology (IT) workflows to Operational Technology (OT) environments.

Industrial Edge devices from the Simatic family (Siemens/File Photo)

Brains of Behind Factories

More often, PLCs have earned the reputation as the brains behind factories, energy grids, office buildings, and trains. In fact, hundreds, or even thousands of these boxes are available throughout plants. Each one of them requiring extensive programming to keep it current, secure, and aligned with the other PLCs in the environment.

On the contrary, viewing and managing every Siemens Simatic Workstation from a central point is possible. Because it is possible to parallel deploy the programming, updates, and patches to the entire fleet, the shop floor remains in synch.

For example, the value this brings occurs when a facility needs to ramp up or down quickly in response to fluctuating demand. Thus, the manufacturer does not need boxes on the floor and can quickly deploy programming adapted to the current demand scenario.

Makes Automation Highly Scalable

The Siemens Simatic Workstation is an on-premise OT device that utilizes Siemens industrial edge technology. Specifically, it allows high data throughput with the low latency needed. Thus, enabling manufacturers to run an expanded variety of modular applications. This applies to traditional automation tasks like motion control, sequencing, and safety. Moreover, it becomes the platform for future, novel automation tasks that incorporate industrial AI-in-the-control-loop, such as visual inspection and robotic grasping and placing.

“In times of volatility in demand and supply, manufacturers can no longer be tied to boxes on the floor that need to be individually – and manually – updated. Centralized management is the best option for increasing visibility and security for manufacturers managing a high number of automation control points,” said Del Costy, President and Managing Director of Siemens Digital Industries, USA.

In addition, Costy said, “This makes automation highly scalable and changes the game for how to manage factories.”

Meanwhile, the initial deployment of Simatic Workstations will be across a number of Ford Motor Company’s manufacturing facilities. The Simatic Workstation is the newest addition to the digital business platform Siemens Xcelerator. It is likely adoption of the platform to other industries and customers will flourish.

10 May 2024