Browsing Siemens PLC tags with 3rd party OPC server

Hi,

I realize that you cannot browse Siemens PLC tags in Ignition.

My question is whether this is because of Ignition or because of Ignitions OPC-UA server / Siemens driver?

If I used a 3rd party OPC-UA server (that supports browsing?) to connect to a Siemens device would I then be able to browse the PLC tags in the Ignition designer?

Thanks

Yes, if you use a 3rd party OPC server that supports browsing it will work.

I’m not sure… :scratch:
Until now, AFAIK, only with Siemens OPC Server (inside SIMATIC NET package), you can browse PLC tags.
I’ve mostly used KepWare (until v6) in the past (tried also a few other), but none has supported Siemens PLC tag browsing…

I tested against this server at the IOP in Germany this year and it seemed to work well: tanindustrie.de/en/index.php

Hi, thanks for the replies!

I have to say I’m a little hesitant to make an investment in 3rd party OPC-UA software and a remodeling of our network based on ‘…seemed to to work…’.

How can I get confirmation on this? Does anyone have any experience with currently running sites?

Thanks

Can you tell us, why is tag browsing so important to you?

I’ve been using OPC servers for 20 years now (OK, mainly Kepware and Siemens, but used also a few others…) and I have NEVER used tag browsing. 8)
At first glance maybe it looks good/fancy, that you can see/browse tags, drag&drop them in your… whatever you’re using…
But at the end you find yourself always editing this tags that you dropped in your software. Either it’s the name of the tag (because PLC programmers doesn’t have so much freedom in naming variables like PC programmers do), or format of the tag, or unit, or …
In ignition then is also alarming (and other things). You must always edit tag to define alarming, history, scaling, tag scripts,…

What I’m doing is I export tags from PLC software into .csv and then using script in Ignition Script Console to import and set them to my liking or needs.
Maybe the first time, when I’ve learned how to import tags into Ignition with scripts, I used more time, but now I need just 5-10 minutes to change the script to new requirements and then few seconds to import even thousand of tags.

@zxcslo

Well, you’re right. Tag browsing isn’t that necessary. We also import tags from the PLC -> Excel -> CSV -> Ignition. However it would be nice to be able to skip all this.

What got me started on this post is that Ignition won’t let me use optimized blocks in TIA Portal when connecting to Siemens S7 1200/1500 PLC’s.
(support.inductiveautomation.com … nd-s7-1500)

So I thought that if that was because of Ignitions OPC-UA server and I got a 3rd party OPC server that could handle optimized blocks then I would also be able to browse tags as a ‘nice to have’.

So I guess the real question is if Ignition will let me use optimized blocks in TIA Portal if I use a 3rd party OPC-UA server?

Thanks

If you use 3rd party OPC server, then you will not use Ignition Siemens driver (which can not access optimized data blocks). So, Ignition has nothing to do with Siemens PLC, neither with optimized blocks. That will be handled by 3rd party OPC. What’s the answer then? :thumb_right:

1 Like

The TANI server claims to support optimized blocks but I cannot verify one way or the other.

The other option that seems to carry no risk at all would be to use Siemens’ own OPC server, which can access everything and is of course fully supported.

As far as i know, there are currently two OPC-UA Server dedicated for S7-1500. One is from Siemens and the other is the one from TANI Kevin mentioned above. Both support symbolic access to optimized data blocks.

I have the TANI server in use and will test the symbolic access when i find some minutes of free time.

All other servers i know don’t support the S7-1500 protocol. They need the (legacy) put/get mechanism to be enabled and can definitely not access optimized data blocks. Also keep in mind that enabling put/get disables all integrated safety features of the new CPU’s. Anyone with network access to your CPU can read and write everything (same as the older S7-300). Ok, maybe that’s not a point, i’m sure everyone here protected shopfloor networks by dedicated firewalls.
Starting with the new V14 software version, Siemens offers CPU integrated OPC-UA for a reasonable price (reasonable for Siemens pricing :wink:). Maybe this is an option if you don’t want to buy a seperate server.

Regards

We’ve been testing against the new UA server built into the 1500 and it works well. A few interoperability changes were needed but should be present in 7.8.5 and 7.9.1.

Everything works except for complex DataTypes (aka structures aka UDTs). Your UDT in the Siemens program will be exposed in the address space as both a collection of nodes that can be read, written or subscribed to individually as well as a single complex DataType accessible in the value attribute of the parent of the collection of nodes in the address space that represent the UDT. Ignition does not support accessing these complex DataType values yet, but we’re working on it for the next major release. You can of course still access the individual nodes that represent the UDT members.

Thanks again for all your replies!

[quote]We’ve been testing against the new UA server built into the 1500 and it works well. A few interoperability changes were needed but should be present in 7.8.5 and 7.9.1.

Everything works except for complex DataTypes (aka structures aka UDTs). Your UDT in the Siemens program will be exposed in the address space as both a collection of nodes that can be read, written or subscribed to individually as well as a single complex DataType accessible in the value attribute of the parent of the collection of nodes in the address space that represent the UDT. Ignition does not support accessing these complex DataType values yet, but we’re working on it for the next major release. You can of course still access the individual nodes that represent the UDT members.[/quote]
I dont fully understand what you are saying about the TIA UDT’s. Would it be possible to post a screenshot or rephrase?

In TIA, those are called ‘PLC data types’ (SPS Datentypen). What Kevin says means that you can access the individual members of a data type, but in the current version you can not link the complete data type to an Ignition UDT with a single OPC-UA address.

A short feedback about the TANI OPC Server: Browsing and symbolic access to a S7-1500 works. The password protection of the S7 processor has to allow read access without password.

There still seems to be a little interop problem. The OPC server’s plc connection is failing multiple times while Ignition is browsing. This does not happen with another OPC-UA client. I tested with Ignition 7.8.5 and TANI 1.12.

[attachment=0]S7Browse.jpg[/attachment]

Is it possible to have a little documentation of how to make an Ignition connection with the OPC-UA server of 1500?

Thanks

Everything works except for complex DataTypes (aka structures aka UDTs).

Ignition does not support accessing these complex DataType values yet, but we’re working on it for the next major release.

Vote for this feature to be implemented:

http://ideas.inductiveautomation.com/forums/255378-ignition-features-and-ideas/suggestions/32359351-support-for-siemens-complex-plc-data-types-structu

A post was split to a new topic: Siemens Addressing

3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Siemens Addressing