Over the past few years since Simatic S5 systems have been discontinued, spare parts and components have become increasingly difficult to source.
Siemens has completely stopped manufacture and now offers a migration path solution for S5 users; essentially removing S5 and replacing it with the new S7-300 platform products.
Other manufacturers of S5 hardware products, such as VIPA which has been supplying S5 automation solutions for over 21 years, have continued to sell and support the range but have now been forced to stop production of many cards against a background of obsolete components and inevitable escalation of costs for replacements and form-fit alternatives.
It now seems that the death knell is really sounding for S5 and for many users the Siemens solution, necessitating significant hardware and software development costs, is one which will be very difficult to take.
Already faced with limited resources for such capital investment, many Australian based industries cannot contemplate the cost of replacing S5s at a time when their competitiveness is already being threatened by overseas manufacturers.
As an alternative, VIPA the German manufacturer of innovative PLC- and PC-based automation solutions is working closely with its Australian based system integrators to offer practical, lower cost migration path solutions for existing S5 applications.
Based on the VIPA System 200V, using the 241 series CPUs as a replacement, customers can retain S5-115U instruction set and S5 programming compatibility saving significant software development costs and can also upgrade the system with a wide range of accessories including digital and analogue I/O modules, function modules, communication terminals for Profibus DP, CANOpen and TCP/IP, and a selection of HMIs.
The DIN rail mounted VIPA System 200V has been designed for easy integration into existing applications and can also be supplied in a version that is compatible with the S7-300 instruction set and programmed in STEP7 as well as VIPA's own WinPLC7 language.
System 200V is a completely modular automation system for centralised and decentralised tasks which has been developed for medium performance applications.
The 35mm DIN rail mounted system includes a wide range of modules allowing a good degree of application compatibility at a competitive price.
For high performance applications VIPA can offer its latest product range: the SPEED7 is billed as the world's fastest rack mounted PLC with a minimum cycle time of 100us and full compatibility with Siemens STEP7, providing 50,000 instructions in just 1ms.
In addition to new systems, VIPA also offer S5 compatible hardware products for control, communication, I/O and memory expansion that are still available to replace and expand existing systems.