////SIWAREX electronic weighing systems for SIMATIC


Automation with integral weighing and proportioning technology

In addition to the accuracy when weighing and proportioning, incorporation of weighing technology into modern automation systems serves to increase the sustained success of a company.

Requirements on scales in industrial processes

The weighing and proportioning system is of significant importance in many industrial processes, where many different weighing tasks have to be handled. Both programmable controllers (PLC) and process control systems (PCS) are used to automate production processes.

There are many different types of scales that work together with automation systems, depending on requirements.

Production automation places the following demands on weighing technology:

  • Flexibility with respect to typical scale functions
  • Simple expansion of the weighing system
  • Adaptability to the automation task, and
  • Integrated communications concept

Scales that are able to satisfy these demands can be classified as part of the automation system. In this sense, the scale is an intelligent automation object comprising:

  • Sensor technology
  • Controller and
  • Actuator technology

carrying out its tasks according to the definitions of the control system.

SIWAREX WP321 electronic weighing system in the SIMATIC ET 200SP system

Distribution of weighing functions within automation system

The distribution of weighing functions within automation systems has been subject to constant change in recent years. The reasons for this can be found in the search for an efficient solution for weighing tasks in the automation environment. The performance of hardware components is no longer the only reason for deciding to use a specific solution architecture. The demands placed on a modern weighing solution include the following scale-related requirements:

  • High operational reliability
  • Simple operation
  • Very good reproducibility
  • High accuracy

as well as the requirements associated with the following automation properties:

  • Integration (hardware/software)
  • Flexibility
  • Standardization

Hardware configuration in the TIA Portal with SIWAREX WP321 weighing electronics

Application-compatible implementation leads to the following three aspects:

  • The demands for accuracy and reproducibility require the use of special, high-quality function units for signal recording, signal conditioning, A/D conversion and preprocessing, as well as open-loop and closed-loop control functions. The task means that the weighing signals must be resolved in up to 16 million digitization steps. During proportioning and filling, material flows must be controlled over binary scale signals with a time resolution of up to less than one millisecond.
  • A whole range of other application-specific functions are also required to perform the overall task. It is therefore essential to take into account the complete value chain in the production process. These might include the automatic filling of supply hoppers or the unloading of the final product – so that a system is required that supports simple implementation of the necessary functions.
  • It is also necessary to ensure full integration of the weighing systems into the total automation technology wherever possible. This covers not only communication, but also requires functional integration and the engineering of all automation functions using standard tools.

These aspects result in the following solution, which easily satisfies all requirements:

  • Function or technology modules for weighing systems that contain the required hardware and firmware as standard, in order to satisfy the high accuracy requirements and time-critical tasks. These modules feature all the characteristics of the standard automation system and are therefore completely compatible.
  • Use of standard automation systems for the implementation of application-specific tasks. This not only enables the use of the standards already generally applied for engineering, visualization, archiving etc., but also supports full integration into the total automation technology without the need for any further adaptation. Sector-specific and application-specific solutions can be implemented particularly flexibly in this case. Special weighing and process methods or recipes can be protected from access by third-parties by means of software protection (know-how protected).
  • This concept sees the weighing system as an automation object integrated in the total automation solution. The aforementioned total compatibility means that the standard automation functions and the weighing functions combine to form an homogeneous entity for the user. and meet the demands for uniformity, ease of use and flexibility on the basis of existing standards.
  • This solution means that the component architecture can be central or distributed. The advantage of a central architecture is the time-optimized interaction between control CPU and weighing processor. In a distributed network configuration, i.e. components are integrated into the scale, the weighing system is easily transformed into an autonomous “field device”, connected to the automation technology through the open PROFIBUS or PROFINET.

Curve display of proportioning, recorded over the weighing electronics using SIWAREX FTA

SIWAREX weighing systems in automation

Totally Integrated Automation plays an essential role in SIWAREX weighing systems.

A key feature is the total integration of SIWAREX into the SIMATIC world.

This means:

  • Implementation of central automation concepts by direct integration in SIMATIC S7
  • Implementation of distributed automation concepts by means of connection to SIMATIC ET 200
  • Integration in the SIMATIC PCS 7 process control system
  • Operator control and monitoring through SIMATIC HMI
  • Uniform configuring and programming through SIMATIC software.

Dosing control

Visualization of dosing with SIMATIC HMI

SIWAREX – weighing electronics – uniform SIMATIC system basis

By investing in SIWAREX weighing modules, you are investing in the uniform SIMATIC system basis on which the automation components of the entire production process can build – from incoming goods (upstream area) to the production process (mainstream area) down to the filling machine at the end of the production chain (downstream area) – a system basis which encompasses all hierarchic levels from the human-machine interface to the PROFIBUS DP or PROFINET fieldbus. Why use specialized technology for each weighing or proportioning problem when a uniform basis is available for all individual problem solutions? With SIWAREX, Siemens has created this uniform basis.

Applications of SIWAREX weighing technology in the production process

Integrated automation solutions with weighing technology

SIWAREX weighing modules are ideally suited to integrated automation solutions using weighing technology. SIWAREX can be used for every SIMATIC solution regardless of whether it is integrated into the SIMATIC S7 automation system in the form of a module or used as a distributed I/O with the SIMATIC S7.

The highlight: SIWAREX modules are integrated into the automation system with the same engineering tools as all other automation components. This is an excellent solution which reduces engineering costs and training expenses!

The ET 200 I/O station is designed as a modular system. The weighing electronics are selected from the module catalog and placed in the rack of the modular I/O station. The software addresses the weighing electronics as if they were modules plugged into the central controller of an automation system.

By using standard hardware (SIMATIC components) and standard software (STEP 7/TIA Portal), freely programmable, modular weighing systems are available which can be inexpensively adapted to specific plant requirements, e.g. by means of:

  • Additional SIMATIC digital outputs for controlling a mixer, heater, agitator, etc.
  • Additional functions implemented in STEP 7 for determining and controlling the material flow or for correcting the setpoint based on material moisture.

The advantages of direct integration at a glance:

  • Low-cost system integration because no additional coupling modules are required
  • Low configuration costs due to the integrated system design
  • System-compatible module behavior (diagnostics interrupts, hardware interrupts, command output disables, etc.)
  • Tailor-made, low-cost weighing systems due to expansion with standard SIMATIC components
  • High plant availability
  • Easy installation thanks to snap-on technique
  • Low space requirements due to compact design

Scales can also be adjusted without an automation system.

High plant availability – to ensure that production does not come to a halt

Apart from the advantage that configuration know-how is only required for a single system, there are also enormous advantages in terms of plant availability.

In the SIMATIC S7, for example, faults (measuring range exceeded, proportioning fault, sensor fault, etc.) are reported to the automation system via diagnostic interrupts without the need to input a single line of programming code.

Error messages from the weighing electronics are automatically transferred to the automation system. The diagnostic information enables easy location of the module from which the message originated.

Using a programmer or the plant visualization, operating personnel are then able to localize the fault, display its cause and, if necessary, replace the defective module.

A replaced module is automatically detected by the automation system. Thanks to the transparent data management, the scales parameters saved in the automation system can then be transferred to the new weighing electronics. The scales are immediately available again for weighing tasks – no need to readjust with control weights (except applications requiring official calibration).

Since SIWAREX weighing systems are comprised solely of standard components (e.g. SIWAREX weighing modules, SIMATIC digital input/outputs, etc.), spare parts inventories are very easy to handle.

Scale faceplate of a loss-in-weight scale

Standard programming in the SIMATIC PCS 7 process control system as in the SIMATIC S7 automation system

While the weighing modules used with the SIMATIC S7 automation system are usually integrated into the system with the typical PLC programming languages STL (Statement List), LAD (Ladder diagram) or FBD (Function Block Diagram), the configuration in the SIMATIC PCS 7 process control system is usually implemented by means of graphic interconnection in the CFC (Continuous Function Chart). Configuration is used instead of programming.

The scales are displayed in the ES (engineering system) as “technology blocks” in the CFC. At the OS (operator station), however, faceplates are used to display the scales in the WinCC visualization system.

The faceplates can be used to monitor the weight values and operate the scales.

Scales displayed in the ES engineering system (on the left) and on the OS operator station (on the right)