There are some nice, time-saving updates available in TOP Server V6.2. In case you happened to miss it, I did a high-level post shortly after the release giving you an overview of the four biggest features from V6.2 - click here to see that post.
Today, I'd like to go into the latest update to the Siemens S7 Ethernet driver in TOP Server V6.2. Keep reading to find out about updates to the automatic tag generation functionality in the S7 Ethernet driver for supporting the latest Siemens programming package, TIA Portal.
Over the past several years, I've spoken to many of you who have adopted the latest Siemens technology, particularly S7-1200 and S7-1500 controllers. And, along with those controllers, came the latest Siemens programming and configuration platform called TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) Portal that replaced Step 7 programming software that I know we're all familiar with.
In the latest release, the S7 Ethernet driver adds a new TIA Portal Exporter utility that allows you to generate an export file of your TIA Portal tags for use in automatically generating your TOP Server tag database, in those situations where you prefer to maintain a static tag database in your TOP Server project.
I say "in those situations" because a lot of our Wonderware users tend to simply define dynamic address references in their Wonderware applications rather than maintain a separate static tag database in TOP Server. However, we also have some users with a mix of client applications where it makes sense to maintain a browsable tag database accessible by all clients.
To that end, automatic tag generation is the fastest, most effective method of creating an accurate and complete tag database in TOP Server with no manual configuration of those tags required. Prior to V6.2, the S7 Ethernet driver did support automatic tag generation for S7-300 and S7-400 models using Step 7 for programming.
The latest release, however, expands that support to include the newer S7-1200 and S7-1500 models using only TIA Portal for configuration and programming.
The TIA Portal Exporter utility installs on your TIA Portal machine, allowing it to open your S7-300, S7-400, S7-1200 or S7-1500 TIA Portal projects and select program blocks, tag tables or individual tags for generation of the corresponding static tags in TOP Server.
The installer for the utility is included with the TOP Server installer and, upon installation of TOP Server, you will find the install file "TIAPortalExporter6.exe" located in the TOP Server folder under the Program Files directory on your machine (which defaults to C:\Program Files (x86)\Software Toolbox\TOP Server 6\Utilities\TIA Portal Exporter Install).
The utility produces a .TPE file format that can then be imported by the TOP Server S7 Ethernet driver for auto generation of static tags.
If you're using a model (S7-1200 or S7-1500) that only uses TIA Portal, then importing from a TIA Portal Exporter file will be the only option available in your TOP Server device properties. However, if you're using an S7-300 or S7-400, which can use either TIA Portal or Step 7, you will have the option to select which tag generation method you require based on which programming package you're actually using.
For Step 7 users, instead of using a utility, it's possible to simply browse to the .S7P file for the Step 7 project and then specify the path to the desired program in the project from which you'd like to generate the tags.
For either method, though, once you've specified the Tag Import method and specific file locations, you can then actually automatically generate the tags with a single click of the "Create Tags" link under the "Tag Generation" section in the device Property Editor.
And that's all there is to it to easily generate static S7 tags that are 100% accurate and OPC-browsable, streamlining your tag creation process across older and newer models. Even if you do choose to use dynamic references from your Wonderware applications, I always recommend doing an automatic tag generation to use for reference and testing when you first start working on your project.
It requires only a few seconds to do and you also can then easily export your tags to CSV for mass edit outside of TOP Server. This is a useful tool to minimize the risk of human error when entering dynamic references in Wonderware applications. Having a static tag database also allows you to easily test with the included OPC Quick Client which can be launched and auto-configured right from the TOP Server toolbar.
If you're a Siemens user, you should definitely have a look at the latest TOP Server, whether you're an existing Siemens Suite license holder or if you're just getting started. And, if you do happen to be a current license holder with an active support/maintenance agreement, it's a free upgrade! (Not sure if your Siemens Suite license is on support? Contact Us)
And, if you prefer to access your S7-1500 using Symbolic Variables instead, just be aware that we support this using the Siemens-preferred method using the embedded OPC UA Server via the TOP Server Siemens Plus Suite - to learn more read my blog post.
If you're interested in learning more about the other features introduced with TOP Server V6.2, don't forget to have a look at my TOP Server V6.2 key features post. Or, have a look at the full release notes - click for details.
And please visit our updated TOP Server V6 Focus Website for other useful information. Download your free trial of TOP Server V6.2 today to get started utilizing the enhanced automatic tag generation capabilities with your Siemens S7 controllers and TIA Portal.