The automation software tools for Siemens S7 designers and testers
For many years, we have been making a lot of useful tools for design and testing process of S7 300/400 platforms. Some of them are free to download and some are available for symbolic fee. Those tools can significaly improve yor work, reduce errors and lower programming/testing time. Feel free to occassionally check this site for new programs or even beter, register and be informed instantly.
You can also read more here in general about techniques to improve your work and to see some useful links.
...So, what is the problem with existing Simatic tools?
Aren't Step7/WinCC/TIA enough to make a good user program? Well, yes, but...
There is not "official" user friendly way to make commissioning of new cabinets and installation, some configuration/runtime features are too expensive or they don't offer enough possibilities. Dealing with changing of old PLC/SCADA/OP program could be very tricky, especially when there is no backup. Also, there are some "holes" and backdoors in Siemens tools which you can use to speed up programming and to reduce errors.
All those things have been producing that people have been making a lot of different tools for their own purposes or sometimes share with others somwere on the internet.
The good start for thinking about solving your own needs is the topic of external generating of Step7/WinCC code (automating automation...). You can find on our site several useful examples and here are some basic information.
There are two problems with large input data collections: you need time to retype them to code and sooner or later - you will make errors in typing.
What are ideal candidates for external generating?
The ideal candidates are long and boring arrays of data such as raw analog/digital inputs, alarms, long symbolic lists, big matrix representations etc.
The solution is to generate code in some other language and to import it in Siemens program. You can use any language such as C/C++, Basic, VBA, Python... Although VBA has a lot of limitiations, it is suitable because long arrays of data usually come in the Excel sheet from technologists and other design engineers.
Those are the steps in making of your own "generator":
- Analyse your needs, define input data and possible outputs (struct