PLC-Lab is a one-of-a-kind software tool for simulation and virtual commissioning of automation systems. With the help of the graphical user interface you can create a 2D digital twin of your machine with virtual sensors and actuators. Then you can connect this digital twin to a software PLC or even to a real PLC controller. That allows you to conveniently perform functional simulation of your control program and you can detect hidden bugs in it, without the risks of testing it on the real physical system.
In RUN-mode this simplified digital twin exchanges I/O signals with a (SW or HW) PLC real-time, therefore it behaves just as prescribed by the PLC program. This way, the control program can be thoroughly tested in its complete functionality.
(PLC-Lab is the successor of our previous generation product SPS-VISU. Please note, that from now on SPS-VISU is obsolete and only PLC-Lab is available for purchase.
What is virtual commissioning? Virtual commissioning is the practice of emulating the behavior of a physical manufacturing environment with a software system. The ultimate goal of the emulation is to provide an environment for the automation controls engineer to validate their PLC control logic and HMI files prior to system debug in the production environment. Virtual commissioning allows one to debug PLC code in a virtual environment before downloading it to real equipment. By simulating and validating automation equipment virtually, one can confirm that they will work as expected and significantly reduce system startup time. Besides, it is possible to test possibly harmful scenarios in the virtual environment which otherwise would be too hazardous in real production environment.
Why do you need PLC-Lab?
- Easy and quick setup of a simplified digital twin in 2D
- Validate costly or hazardous automation scenarios without assembling the real physical system – commissioning time greatly reduced!
- Ideal for education of PLC-related subjects
- The rich object library makes it possible to create any sort of virtual machines
- Compatible with all Siemens S7 PLCs, as well as with the PLCSIM software PLC
- Build your own library with frequently used devices
- Modern UI with vector-oriented design – no quality loss by zoom-in
- Fills the gap between a basic test with S7-PLCSIM and a complicated simulation with a 3D digital twin
Main features of PLC-Lab
A revolutionary way to build virtual machines in 2D!
- Large variety of building blocks available: switches, lights, limit switches, geometrical shapes, pipes, cylinders, conveyors, creator objects (for “feeding” of new parts), displays, control objects (eg. sliders), calculators (to convert values), and so on.
- The objects can be combined into a single body, eventually also including mechanical joints, such as: linear guide, circular guide, constant-distance connection, welded joint (with settable tensile strength), wheel connection with damper.
- It is also possible to create collision groups, which prescribe the type of interaction between objects (collide, penetrate through, etc.). By applying different collision groups you can realize complex motion scenarios that are otherwise not possible in 2D.
- You can assign physical properties to the objects to achieve a realistic behavior during simulation: gravity, elasticity, surface friction, density, conveyable, collision, magnetism.
It is up to you and your application, whether you create a simple simulation environment with switches, lamps and geometrical shapes, or a highly complex machine with physical properties, movements and collisions!
PLC-Lab as an educational tool
PLC-Lab is an ideal tool for the education of PLC-related subjects. The teachers can create individual virtual machines for the students, or just use the ready-made templates from the Grafcet-Workbook free of charge.
For educational institutes we offer very favorably-priced license packages which always include the Pro edition of the software, providing the complete functionality and features.
Our floating license option allows to distribute the licenses among different computers within the school local network, or utilize our cloud licensing to run PLC-Lab on private computers outside the network.
PLC-Lab for industrial use
PLC-Lab is a valuable testing tool for any PLC-programmer in automation and machine building industries.
Anyone who has ever created a control program knows, that the program will not run flawlessly on the first try. Therefore, you need to test the PLC-program before running it on the physical equipment.
Already during programming each completed program modules need to be tested thoroughly. This is only possible if the input signals (digital or analogue) take realistic statuses just like on the real machine. A virtual machine created in PLC-Lab is the perfect tool for this task.
The “simplified digital twin” built in PLC-Lab greatly helps to test the control program faster and more precisely. The more in-depth you test your PLC program, the less time you need for commissioning. PLC-Lab returns the investment cost already on the first realized project, as the bugs in the control program are detected faster, thus the project can be completed earlier.
The different editions of PLC-Lab can operate together with the following control systems:
|Siemens LOGO! Controller||OK||OK|
|Siemens S7-1200 PLC||OK||OK|
|Siemens S7-1500 PLC||OK|
|Siemens S7-300/400 PLC||OK|
|PLCSIM S7-1200 Software PLC in TIA Portal||OK|
|PLCSIM S7-1500 Software PLC in TIA Portal||OK|
|PLCSIM S7-300 Software PLC in TIA Portal||OK|
|PLCSIM Software PLC in Simatic Manager||OK|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Which control systems are supported by PLC-Lab? A: Siemens S7-300/400/1200/1500 PLC-s from the Simatic product family and LOGO! controllers are fully supported, as well as Siemens PLCSIM software PLC-s in TIA Portal and in Simatic Manager. Furthermore, the MHJ-Software products GRAFCET-Studio and WinSPS-S7 are supported as well.
Q: How can I receive my PLC-Lab? A: First simply download the free demo version from this page. Then after we receive your order, we send you a serial number in email. With that serial number you can easily upgrade your demo version to full version.
Q: Which languages can be selected in PLC-Lab? A: The following languages are available: English, German (Chinese is planned).
Q: What are the computer system requirements of PLC-Lab? A: Windows 7/8.1/10, Core i3 3.2GHz CPU, min. 8GB RAM. If PLC-Lab is used together with TIA Portal, then the actual TIA Portal version decides the system requirements.