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Old January 9th, 2017, 03:11 PM   #1
Iner
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So Finally, what are your final opinion about TIA Portal?

With currently the V14 (started at 11) and several years into the market, have you learned to apppreciate the last SIEMENS engineering software?

Personnally I still don't like it. It is still incredibly heavy, bloated and completely useless on a laptop. It still has a tendency to crash, especially while being online, and each new version bring its new bugs.

What I don't like:

1) The user interface is awful, bloated, and unpractical. The place for the code is a very small part of the screen unless you take time to reduce everything else or you separate it.

2) The integration of the HMI soft is a fail. Not only WinnCC in TIA is heavy and has poor ergonomy, but it has also removed features from WinCC Flexible 2008 (hello pictures that can be buttons) which looks much better and professionnal in its design. Scripts and events are much less friendly to use.

3) The ladder editor has seen some improvements, notably with the comparison and the addition of the possibility to use arrays. But the interface ruins it completely. By default a lof of networks are hidden and you have to make them appear. The small part reserved for the code make it a pain to navigate quickly. The keys shortcut are also worst.

STEP7 Ladder was so fast to use while TIA is so slow.

4) All the news soft versions, updates, firmwares, packages, blocks versions. It's a continous battle to find the right reference in the hardware catalog. You actually need to download HSP by creating a SIEMENS account on their website and it may still not be enough to find the CPU, card, or component you want to add. In Step 7 you could update the catalog by one click.
There are also blocks versions who are compatible or not with CPU firmwares (especially with the 1200 series since it has been supported since TIA V11) making things much harder when looking to port an application

5) The constant push toward using "name based" tags instead of using the adress, even when you want to use the adress. You are likely to get warnings and TIA is likely to create an ugly default name for the Adress you have entered.
Each DB you create is also by default "optimized", without any adress, and you have to uncheck the box in the property each time to use the real DBs

6) The GRAPH editor is awful. All transitions betweens the steps are hidden and you can only show one or two of them. The previous editor was much better and you could follow easily and track the GRAPH in real time.

The only major improvement I see is the SCL editor. Its use in STEP 7 wasn't orthodox and natural. It's a built in language now.Each time I navigate between the fast an very well built STEP7 and the bloated and heavy TIA, I wonder how SIEMENS fell so hard.

Now, I would rate the main softs as following:

1) STEP 7
2) Studio 5000
3) Unity Pro
4) TIA Portal
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Old January 9th, 2017, 03:42 PM   #2
dwoodlock
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I think you are either a harsher critic or just more experienced with other platforms than I.

I use V13

The UI of portal is really busy and lends itself better to colossal screens(or 2), and definitely still has some bugs which are annoying. How have they not resolved the mouse scrolling issue yet!?!?!?!?! Also the auto-hide for the properties panel is super buggy.

The help files are a huge failure, and sometimes if I contact Siemens directly for assistance with something even they cant tell me how to do it properly (working with log files).

Even with all that said, honestly at this point I'd prefer to use it over V5.5

I like how the software is better integrated, and its easier to switch between devices. I also really like programming in structured text.

Last edited by dwoodlock; January 9th, 2017 at 04:34 PM.
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Old January 9th, 2017, 04:06 PM   #3
mk42
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To me, it's way better. At a minimum V14 is way better than V11 (or, god forbid, 10.5), but I like it better than v5.5 as well. Is there still a lot of room for improvement? Certainly. Totally agree with you on the GRAPH, the versioning,

I never liked absolute addressing in STL, so I'm glad we can do everything symbolically now. I can't recall the last time I had a problem that I HAD to use address based programming to solve.

Regarding your point 2, I think you can still put a graphic on a button? There's other stuff missing from the HMIs, like dropping OPC DA entirely (replacing it with UA). SOme of the other communication channels were lost, too, but I never used those.

I think it's funny you say that integrating the HMI into the Portal didn't go well. To me, it looked like they took the WinCC Flex UI, changed the color scheme a bit, and then tried to force everything into it. WinCC Comfort is basically Flex 2.0. It's everything else that changed.

For me, I think the difference is that I used Simatic Manager a fair amount, but I always thought it was clunky and stupid. Nothing ever worked the way I wanted it to. I never liked it. Portal, for the most part, works the way I expect. Whenever I have to go back to v5.5, it's like a slap in the face, and it reminds me how far we've come.

Except the versioning. Oh my god, the versioning. The auto updater tool helps, as long as you're trying to stay at the most recent version of everything. But f customer A needs one version, and customer B needs another, it gets complicated quick.
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Old January 9th, 2017, 04:15 PM   #4
josepholka
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Very Interested in more thoughts on this post.
I currently Develop in multiple platforms myself and have come to the conclusion that none of the major controls platforms have gotten it 100% correct. The Problem always seems to be in implementation of multiple software together in to one product. They all have there quirks and a few of those are asinine

I develop in the following
Rs logix 5000 = Rockwell V15 - V20
Studio 5000 = Rockwell V21 - V25
SoMachine = Scnieder Electric V1.3
Automation Studio = B&R Automation V4.0 - V4.2
KAS = Kollmorgen Automation Suite
TIA = Siemens
Step7 = Siemens

These are just the Supposed all inclusive platforms Not counting the many different software that only purposed for a specific PLC, HMI, VFD, etc..


If anyone has found the Perfect Controls Platform let me know!!
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Old January 9th, 2017, 05:37 PM   #5
Iner
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I work a lot on a laptop, so the UI is a big issue for me.

I am not a fan of "integrated" design, a windows filled with 3 or 4 programs is worse for me than 3 or 4 windows who can be full screen.

What I liked with STEP7 5.5 was opening the HWconfig, the LIST/LAD editor, the netpro, everything was full screen. And you can easily navigate with winwdows keys between them.

Why do I need the HMI soft integrated in the PLC soft when I can't use both at the same time anyway due to size constraint?

Another thing I dislike with TIA are the cross reference. In STEP7 you can click and search, or type and search. In TIA the references appear in the propertie tab and it's messy and sometimes bug to another tag.

For the versioning it's really bad, if you develop something in V13or V14 and then want to port it back to V12 because one customer has stayed in V12 then you coulb be in for some troubles, especially if your project use siemens standard blocks.
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Old January 9th, 2017, 05:39 PM   #6
Iner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josepholka View Post
Very Interested in more thoughts on this post.
I currently Develop in multiple platforms myself and have come to the conclusion that none of the major controls platforms have gotten it 100% correct. The Problem always seems to be in implementation of multiple software together in to one product. They all have there quirks and a few of those are asinine

I develop in the following
Rs logix 5000 = Rockwell V15 - V20
Studio 5000 = Rockwell V21 - V25
SoMachine = Scnieder Electric V1.3
Automation Studio = B&R Automation V4.0 - V4.2
KAS = Kollmorgen Automation Suite
TIA = Siemens
Step7 = Siemens

These are just the Supposed all inclusive platforms Not counting the many different software that only purposed for a specific PLC, HMI, VFD, etc..


If anyone has found the Perfect Controls Platform let me know!!

To me the best control platform is the one that let you do what you want without invading you with unwanted features.

The simple fact that Siemens has set up TIA to boot on the portal page by default instead of the project page shows that they don't get it. It was like Microsoft forcing Windows 8 to boot on the "Modern UI" instead of the desktop.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 02:47 PM   #7
wimpiesplc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iner View Post
To me the best control platform is the one that let you do what you want without invading you with unwanted features.

The simple fact that Siemens has set up TIA to boot on the portal page by default instead of the project page shows that they don't get it. It was like Microsoft forcing Windows 8 to boot on the "Modern UI" instead of the desktop.
A few things you rant about might be true, but for this there is a simple setting to change to your liking.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 03:27 PM   #8
rQx
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I love TIA portal, maybe because it is basicly the only thing I work with. It is also the software I started to program PLCs with. I have come accross diffrent platforms but haven't used them alot, the second most I've used is RS logix micro and FT studio (I think this is the correct name). Comparing the two it feels like I have a smartphone with TIA portal and with the Rockwell alternative I'm going back to a an old just numerical cellphone. I run it on a laptop and it is fast and responsive and has crashed just once over the time I've used it on the laptop (2 years). I think it is very userfriendly and so great having the HMI and PLC in the same program.

The only think I've found positive with RSlogix micro is that I can write more comments in the ladder more easy.

Further more the only thing I've found negative about TIA portal is that it sometimes contains so many options I don't know where to look. This is mostly when working with communication.

I also used the CCW from rockwell very early for a project and that version of CCW was very, and I mean very, buggy and bad. So that impression wasn't so good but I've heard that the newer versions is better.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 03:37 PM   #9
jstolaruk
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One thought about IDEs in general (and I haven't tried this in TIA Portal), but some don't lend themselves to more than two people working on a single project (one on HMI and the other on PLC for instance). Separate hmi & plc s/w doesn't have that problem.

I've also worked with another programmer on large RSL5K projects and it was very convenient to have both programmers making changes in the same CPU at the same time (we were each working on different tasks).
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Old January 11th, 2017, 05:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstolaruk View Post
One thought about IDEs in general (and I haven't tried this in TIA Portal), but some don't lend themselves to more than two people working on a single project (one on HMI and the other on PLC for instance). Separate hmi & plc s/w doesn't have that problem.

I've also worked with another programmer on large RSL5K projects and it was very convenient to have both programmers making changes in the same CPU at the same time (we were each working on different tasks).
I believe that was implemented in TIA V14. Along with the CPU storing the comments, instead of only the PG.

But yes, it is very handy.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 09:09 AM   #11
mk42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janner_10 View Post
I believe that was implemented in TIA V14. Along with the CPU storing the comments, instead of only the PG.

But yes, it is very handy.
The offline multiuser server is a huge step in the right direction, but it definitely needs some further steps. It also costs extra.

The online multiuser (1500) sucks (trying to be like rockwell, but without understanding why). There is a specific procedure that must be exactly followed, or else it won't work. Tags can't be synced (wtf?). If the PLC is a safety PLC, that makes it even harder to stay on the correct path, because you can't upload/sync safety code. Every project I'm involved with is safety PLCs these days.

Note that the CPU storing the comments is an S7-1500 function, not a portal version function. You could do that at the initial 1500 release (V12), but V14 still can't download the comments into a 300, and never will be able to.

The new feature is that the CPU stores the comments in up to 3 languages now.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 06:07 PM   #12
Iner
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There is also one thing I forgot to add about TIA shortcomings: the botched attempt to integrate STARTER into TIA PORTAL.

It only works for the basic drive like the G120 , you can use " TIA STARTER" in TIA to set the parameters.

But you can't do this for the S120 serie, for the axis that can control servomotors and do the motion control. They can't be set up in TIA Portal at all. You have to use the good old STARTER, but it's actually worse than before because the HW config of STEP7 5.5 was linked to STARTER while TIA Portal isn't linked at all to it.

When you talk to SIEMENS people, they tell you the S120 isn't schedulded to be part of TIA for years, if ever. It's more 'disintegrated automation' for this one.
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